Monday, April 14

Lent Remixed -- Week 7: United States

PhotoSteve101 on Flickr
For our final week of Lent Remixed, we are focusing on the United States. 

Last year, we brought the issue of human trafficking to your attention. And although there are many organizations working to address this multi-faceted issue both here and around the globe, we feel just as much -- if not more -- urgency to educate and work to eradicate this heart-breaking, soul-stealing issue.

After all, human trafficking is defined as the trade of human beings, typically for the purpose of sexual slavery or forced labor.
While in recent years  much more awareness has been raised regarding human trafficking and how there are over 27 million slaves in the world today (more than there have ever been at any point in history), did you know that human trafficking is a problem in the United States? In Minnesota? Likely in your own community?

Here are some appalling statistics:
  •  Every 30 seconds, another person becomes a victim of human trafficking.
  •  Approximately 16,000-18,000 people are trafficked into the U.S., while 100,000-300,000 are trafficked domestically within the U.S. each year.
  • Human trafficking is the second-largest criminal industry behind drug smuggling, but human trafficking is the most profitable and fastest-growing industry of all.
  • Minnesota ranks 13th for the highest rate of human trafficking of minors in the nation.
  • Minneapolis is the #8 city in the nation for the highest rate of human trafficking.
  • 8,000-12,000 people in Minnesota are involved in sex trafficking every day.
  •  The average age of a trafficking victim is 12 years old.
The statistics are staggering, overwhelming at times. But we do not believe that this is where this story should or will end.

These statistics do not tell the full story. There are organizations like the A21 Campaign working globally to offer victims protection and prosecute offenders; like Breaking Free, an organization providing services to women and girls who've been abused or caught in sexual exploitation; and like MATTOO, an organization for men who want to raise awareness and support against human trafficking. And there are many, many more. We want to be a part of that movement. We want to be part of the solution that shines light to end this problem. And we know that there are many more who do, too. If you're reading this, you're probably one of us. Wanting change. Wanting to take action. And we applaud you. We stand with you.

So, what are we doing this week?

Praying. Over 27 million slaves. We will start by praying for the men, women, and children caught in human trafficking. We will pray for an end to their suffering. We will pray for a way out, an escape. And we will pray for justice for the crimes committed against them.

Fasting. This week we are giving up social media for all but 10 minutes a day. I've read stories about how pimps utilize social media networks to recruit underage sex workers, playing on their vulnerabilities and desire to be loved and accepted. In a culture that feeds on images, we will turn off the voices that tell us what to wear, how to look, and who we should be. We will refuse to play in to a cultural mindset that wants to objectify, to oversexualize, to pervert our world and its inhabitants. We will instead use that time to raise our own awareness of this issue and pray.

Giving. There are so many organizations you could give to that are doing something about human trafficking -- I've already listed a few, but there are others (see a list here). This week, we're focusing on giving to Breaking Free, whose offices are located in St. Paul. Along with monetary donations, they also need various household items (new or gently used), food, gift cards, etc. -- they even have a donations "calendar" with a list of items that are good to get each month of the year. Now would be a great time of year to do some spring cleaning at home and donate that extra bed lingering in your storage room or the dishes you've been meaning to get rid of. Unable to give money or household goods? Here's another great option: The A21 asks folks to write letters to survivors, encouraging them on their journey of recovery.

Benjamin Franklin once said that “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” We are outraged. And we're ready to help those who are bringing change and justice to a situation that just isn't acceptable.

"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8



4 comments :

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this post. The need that A21 has for letter writing is exactly what I've been looking for. I linked to your post a couple times in my post. Thank you.

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    1. Just read your post Jacqui! We're honored you would partner with us and spread the word for such a great cause. Thank you!

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  2. The permeating awfulness of human trafficking weighs heavy on my heart (i couldn't even watch the movie, Taken, without feeling sick to my stomach and extremely tense throughout the entire thing) . I will be praying and just read last night about writing to the recovered victims through A21. What a horrible issue, but as Matthew West says, "I'm gonna do something!" Thank you for showing me how.

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    1. I've seen "Taken," too, and it gives me that same queasy feeling (it also makes me wary of sending my children abroad as teenagers, yikes). There is so much evil in this world, but thankfully, there is good, too! Thanks for joining with us. :)

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