My little girl is turning 7 this fall.
At times, it seems like she is growing up so fast, but other times, it still strikes me how little and innocent she really is. Such simple things can make her face light up and her eyes sparkle.
Her mind is full of princesses, fancy dresses, coloring, playing outside, dolls, and the color pink.
I heard a story the other day about a little girl who is 8.
She is the victim of human trafficking. In other words, she’s a slave in the 21st century.
When we hear the word “slave”, we always think of the southern states and cotton plantations. Stuff that happened long ago, and makes popular material for Christian fiction books today.
But human trafficking is HUGE. Right now. There are more slaves today than ever before – 27 million, but I can’t really wrap my mind around that.
This 8-year-old girl was trafficked into Toronto. (Yes, it is happening in Canada.)
Her virginity was sold for $42,000.
And I can’t stop thinking about it. The other night, I went into Anika’s room after she had fallen asleep, and she looked so peaceful and innocent. She’s still my little girl. And looking at her, my heart broke for all those other little girls who have had their innocence taken away. I can’t even imagine the horror and fear that they are experiencing.
And what’s really getting to me right now is that as I’ve been homeschooling Anika, we’ve talked about slavery a lot. We’ve read Underground to Canada and other books that have to do with slavery. She has a lot of questions, and as I teach her about how wrong slavery is, it’s always obvious what people in history or in the stories we read should have done.
Obviously, I would have done the right thing, if I would have been in their position.
And yet, until a few months ago, I was completely oblivious to the fact that slavery was such a big deal –right now!
I had heard about how terrible it is that certain stores sell clothing that is manufactured in sweatshops, but somehow, that didn’t really connect. I didn’t have a mental image of a 10-year-old child chained to a table, making my clothing.
But ever since I heard about that little 8-year-old girl, and it started to sink in, I’m picturing little hands working on the clothing that I’m wearing right now, and I can hardly stand it.
And that’s just clothing. Compared to the sex industry, clothing made in sweatshops almost seems minor. I actually haven’t worked up the courage to read all the information that is available on that topic, but I’m guessing there’s a ton available, since 90% of humans being trafficked end up in the sex industry.
It is extremely easy to remain disconnected from all of this. It feels very far away, and it’s pretty easy to pretend that it has nothing to do with me.
And yet it does. The world that we live in today makes it easier than ever to get involved. If we want to.
Every attempt I make at justifying my reasons for not getting involved kind of fizzles when I think about people who stood on the sidelines in history, and didn’t do anything about slavery back then. Why is it different for me now?
Here’s what I’m going to do:
There’s this fantastic ministry called A21 Campaign, and on their website, they have a great list of 21 things anyone can do to make a difference right now. Obviously, I can’t do all 21, but I’m praying and thinking about it, and I’m going to pick a couple of things that I can try to make a normal part of my life. Changing the way I shop, or making a donation to this ministry are easy places to start.
I know that there will probably be people who think that it’s unnecessary for me to get emotionally involved. It’s not sinful to shop at Walmart, so do we really need to get carried away with this?
Well, I’ve been asking God how I can make a difference, and for whatever reason, this is on my heart right now. I’m thinking that the best thing to do would be to act on it quickly, before I get used to the discomfort it’s causing and I drift back into complacency…