Thursday, January 17, 2013

National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

In the summer of 2010, my wife, Kaitlin, worked as a camp counselor for Camp Pinnacle in Clayton, Georgia. We had been dating for over two years then, and being apart for nearly a whole summer was hard. She brought her cell phone, but was only allowed to use it one day a week, for a limited time. We appreciated these brief windows, and learned to use them well. It was during that summer that she (and later I) was introduced to a reality that is hard to swallow: that approximately 27 million people worldwide are enslaved. That human trafficking occurs more today than ever in history.

Girls forced into prostitution. Children forced to work in factories... some of which are or were affiliated with companies we buy from everyday. Millions of men, women, and children around the world stripped completely of their freedom. The worst part? It happens not far from our own backyards.

How does one even begin to process that kind of knowledge?

Every other week it seems, you hear on TV or the radio about a rapist or child molester, and it brings forth emotions of sadness, disgust, and anger. The pictures of the accused usually fit the stereotypical look we expect, and all you'll hear about is that one incident for days.

But these are not isolated incidents. This happens every day.

It is estimated that 100 girls are forced to do someone's sexual bidding every night... in Atlanta alone. These men are not the rough looking people you see in the news either. Approximately 23% of adult males in Georgia have purchased sex, half of which will exploit an under-aged girl. Most fit the description of the average Joe: church-going white male, married, has children. People you may see everyday and not suspect a thing.

I wish I was lying, but I'm not. I wish this didn't happen, but it does. So what can we do? We can start by being aware and spreading what we know. I love how Passion 2013 has gotten many people fired up about it, and we need to stay fired up. There are so many organizations founded to combat this issue, and we can help by supporting them. I'm not familiar with all of them, but you can find a list at One organization that I am familiar with is Wellspring Living.

Wellspring Living is an organization that not only raises awareness and actively lobbies for legislation to fight human trafficking, but they also provide safe homes for the girls taken out of sexual abuse and slavery. There program is unique in that they work with girls directly and help them recover, often saving them from being jailed for prostitution.

You can join them in this fight financially, through volunteering, shopping at one of their Wellspring Treasures locations, or by simply spreading the word. You can even help them influence our local representatives by participating in the CSEC Lobby Day on February 7th. Follow the link for details, it is a great opportunity! My wife, Kaitlin, participated last year and we're going to try to go again this year.

This is too great a crime to sit back do nothing.

It is a cause that demands radical urgency.

Millions of people need our help, many of whom are closer to you than you may think.