We just spent a weekend remembering and celebrating our freedom as Americans. We ate BBQ and too much cake. We put our hands on our hearts as the flag passed during the parade. We oohed and aahed at the colorful fireworks.
We are free to express our gratitude.
We are free to express our displeasure.
And we are all aware that some people do not have this freedom. Many do not. But I do not want to talk about people under oppressive governments.
I want to make you aware of the many -- far too many -- millions of children and young adults who are caught in the web of human trafficking.
I was surprised to see, on http://www.justiceforyouth.org, that the countries of destination -- the place where these children are sent -- includes the United States. The country that celebrates freedom perpetuates this evil. (Yes, that's some strong language, but I'm not backing down.) Statistics show that 21 million people are enslaved worldwide. That is more people than at any other time in history. In the U.S. girls as young as 12 are forced or coerced into prostitution. Many of these girls -- and boys, too -- are runaways. They have run from a bad situation and get caught up in a worse one.
But there are a growing number of groups that are fighting human trafficking, around the world and here at home. One of these is Abolition International. http://abolitioninternational.org I appreciate this ministry's work because they not only fight for freedom but provide aftercare for the survivors.
There is HOPE and HEALING available through the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Psalm 27:10 says, Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
God promises restoration; in Jeremiah 31:13 He is talking about the sinful Israelites and how He will bring them back. But I believe it is a promise for these children as well:
Then young women will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
Please take some time to read about the work of Abolition International, and other organizations like it:
International Justice Mission: http://www.ijm.org/
Women's Resource Center: http://www.wrcnepa.org/ (This one is in Northeast PA, but they have many offices.)
Truth For Women: http://truthforwomencenter.org
Let's work as hard to abolish this slavery as our ancestors worked to abolish African slavery a century and a half ago.