A woman sits in her living room, comfortably chatting with new friends from church.
Over cups of decaf and cookies, and between the sounds of their children playing tag outside, they chat about music, homeschooling, and their favorite movies and books.
“My friend is writing a book right now. It’s about human trafficking. I just finished reading the first draft.”
A stillness settles over the guests as they listen to the premise of the story, and then, one of them hangs their head and whispers, “I was trafficked as a child.”
Shock. Shame. Silence. What do you even say?
“I’m so sorry that happened to you.”
Tears. And then, a story is poured out the way water pours out from a tipped jug. Safety. It only needed safety and willing listeners.
Five months ago, I sat across from two detectives as they told me story after story of trafficking. Now, these stories live inside my book.
Girls disappearing and showing up days later at a hotel near an international airport – getting ready to disappear forever. Family members who sell their sons and daughters. Human predators hiding in plain sight.
This post isn’t meant terrify you, but also, it’s meant to terrify you – because this is real, and it’s happening everyday.
Children showing up on porn sites. Rapes recorded and published for the world. Fathers who take their daughters to wide-open PUBLIC places like the mall, Six Flags, or Disney Land and then stand guard as they sell their daughter over and over to men who blend in perfectly to the crowd.
Selling a human is illegal, yet nearly half a million slaves currently exist in America and precious few people are even willing to listen to the facts.
Sure, some stories get covered. The big, exotic ones. Like this one involving an Anesthesiologist and his girlfriend, South Korean women, and some upscale condos.
Or this one, where a father brutally murdered a young man who trafficked his daughter for a $1000 in Seattle.
Or this story of a police sting that allowed over 50 men to go free because of a legal oversight.
Native women have one of the highest rates of trafficking in the US. And after living on a reservation for five years I believe it because I’ve seen it. The darkness here is so real it takes my breath away sometimes. I know what goes on in some of these houses. And I know distrust of law enforcement only complicates the issue.
Every day, 116,000 queries related to child pornography are received.
Every day, 68 MILLION search queries related to pornography- 25% of total searches- are generated.
Human Trafficking is the third most profitable black market commodity in the world, followed only by drugs and weapons. While pornography generates approximately $97 BILLION dollars a year, human trafficking weighs in at a staggering $150 BILLION a year industry – perpetuated by everyone from family members to gangs to pimps to back-street brothels.
It is easy to think this only happens in major cities. Port cities. Vegas. And while it’s true that port cities and Vegas do attract trafficking crimes, trafficking also happens in small towns.
What can we do?
- We can stop participating in ANYTHING that portrays sexual violence, rape, or coercion as good or desirable.
- We can talk to our kids openly about their bodies, sex, and what kinds of touch are appropriate.
- If you want to be safe, you have to actually BE SAFE…learn to respond in a way that is non-reactive, humble, and slow…yes, even to your kids.
- We can support anti-human-trafficking groups individually and within our churches.
- We can be brave enough to listen to someone else’s story, even if we don’t know what to say or how to respond.
- We can report any suspicious activity.
Putting your hands over your ears and humming doesn’t make human trafficking disappear.
The only way to expel darkness is to be so fully present that it cannot exist.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.Edmund Burke