A Passion Found – Ending Human Trafficking

Human trafficking. Main origin (red) and desti...
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Psalm 10:18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

This is not your average “Working With What You Have” post. It’s not about baking or cooking or food. It’s about something much more serious and something that we are often blinded to or harbor prejudices about. Human Trafficking.

When we first moved to Duluth our pastor approached my husband and I at a membership meeting and asked us what our passions were. Wow, heavy question. Passion? There are plenty of things I like and things that are my hobbies, but a passion?

At the time I did not have a very good answer. There was nothing I am truly passionate about; nothing I would sacrifice much of anything for. Other than my husband and marriage there is nothing I would consider committing to and allowing to consume any large portion of my life. This began to bother me and I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so a few months ago I started praying and asking for a passion.

Yesterday I attended an informational seminar (from Breaking Free) on human/sex trafficking in the US, and more specifically in Minnesota, and my heart broke. How can I not be passionate about stopping this huge, evil, black market industry? Some statistics on the subject:

  • 27 million people are being trafficked at any given moment (more than ANY other time in history), 80% are women and children (Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves and US Dept. of Justice)
  • Human trafficking is a $32 billion a year black-market industry, second only to illegal drugs and tied with black market arms dealing (the U.N.)
  • $10 billion of the $32 billion comes from the first sale of a human being, i.e. people are sold time and time again
  • 90% of the children trafficked in the United States were also born in the United States
  • Minnesota is ranked 13th in the nation for highest incidence in recruitment of minors (FBI)
  • Human trafficking is blind to race, country of origin, and socio-economic status.
  • The average age of entry into commercial sex in the United States is 12-14 year old (UNICEF)
  • More statistics at Breaking Free

Last night I learned that human trafficking is widespread, it is in Duluth, and that Duluth is ill-equipped to handle the needs of trafficking victims. I have to get involved. I have to be passionate about this.

Psalm 10:18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.

Resources

  • Not For Sale – www.NotForSaleCampaign.org– “Not For Sale equips and mobilizes Smart Activists to deploy innovative solutions to re-abolish slavery in their own backyards and across the globe.” – International
  • Shared Hope International – www.SharedHope.org – “Shared Hope International exists to rescue and restore women and children in crisis. We are leaders in a worldwide effort to prevent and eradicate sex trafficking and slavery through education and public awareness.” – International
  • Girls Educational & Mentor Services – www.Gems-Girls.org – “Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS) is the only organization in New York State specifically designed to serve girls and young women who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking.” – New York
  • Polaris Project – www.PolarisProject.org – “Polaris Project is committed to combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery, and to strengthening the anti-trafficking movement through a comprehensive approach.” – U.S. and International
  • Veronica’s Voice – VeronicasVoice.org – “VERONICA’S Voice educates and provides resources to help clients with options to assist them in leaving a life of prostitution, sexual exploitation, drug addiction and violence, and to transition into new lives free from abuse. Survivors direct the programs and work with the clients at the VERONICA’S Voice SAFE Center.” – Kansas City
  • US Department of Justice – www.justice.gov – United States
  • Trafficking In Persons Report 2011 – www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2011/index.htm – “The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is the U.S. Government’s principal diplomatic tool to engage foreign governments on human trafficking.” – United States
  • Breaking Free – www.BreakingFree.net – “We understand sex trafficking as a vicious cycle of violence, abuse, incarceration, and addiction.  We understand that repeated experiences of violence undermines women and girls capacities to avoid further victimization. Sexual exploitation distorts the lives of women and girls, destroys families, and communities. ” – Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN
  • A Beautiful Rescue – www.ABeautifulRescue.com – “The vision of this ministry is to seek freedom and healing for the oppressed.” – Duluth, MN
  • Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA) – www.PAVSA.org – “PAVSA is dedicated to the elimination of sexual violence in Southern St. Louis County through supporting victims, educating the community, and advocating for change.” – Duluth, MN
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