Jesus invites us to accept his burden, which is
the burden of the whole world, a burden that includes human
suffering in all times and all places. But this divine burden is light,
and we carry it when our heart has been transformed into
the gentle and humble heart of our Lord.
Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart
Are we burdened? That’s the question that I have pondered over the past few days leading up to the first “Refuse to Do Nothing” Human Trafficking Education and Awareness Series in my local community. Do we actually care that an estimated 27 million people are trapped in slavery? These questions have troubled me more frequently as I considered the people who were not in the room at Saturday’s event. We had a very diverse group of attendees of different ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds.
However, there were very few male attendees. Males need education about this issue so they can share findings with those in their areas of influences and make critical decisions like mentoring young people, creating jobs for those who are vulnerable, building community connections and providing services as needed.
There were a few African Americans in the room. According to the demographics shared by service providers throughout the United States in a 2012 Study conducted by Youth Spark, GA, Black/African Americans represent 42% of those who are victims of trafficking. The issue of slavery runs deep in the hearts of African Americans and while some want to forget about what has happened in our past American history, it is critical to “see” that the same crimes are happening behind closed doors today.
We have several Caucasian friends working with us on this series. They are passionate about standing against human trafficking and educating our community. Yet I am convinced that we need more abolitionists like them. I wonder if any misplaced shame or guilt keeps other Caucasians from confronting the sin of modern-day slavery. I also wonder if some white folk incorrectly believe that modern-day slavery does not or cannot happen to their children. This is a dangerous assumption to make. According to the same report mentioned previously, 27% of white/Caucasians are victims of slavery. From what I have read on the official website for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, it is evident that injustice and violence is no respecter of persons. Crime against anyone of us, is a crime against all of us.
Let there be no doubt, human trafficking is a humanitarian issue. That is why I asked the event attendees and I ask you, “While it is important to know the estimated 27 million victims, please do not forget that each one of these lives have value.” Each man, woman, or child that has been enslaved has also been created in God’s image. God cares about all of them and so should we.
Author, Kimberly McOwen Yim’s recommends the following resources in this chapter:
- International Justice Mission documentary, At the End of Slavery
- Call + Response Documentary
Take action by reviewing these resources and sharing with your community.
North Carolinians in the Triad area (Greensboro, High Point, Winston Salem, and surrounding areas) can join us during Part 2 of the RTDN Series:
24 HOUR HOTLINE 1-800-843-5678 (Save this number as a phone contact.)
CONTACT IF YOU HAVE SEEN A MISSING CHILD OR TO REPORT SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF A CHILD. Twitter @AMBERAlert
Reflect and Take Action:
“Identify and reach out to friends who car join you on the journey toward becoming a modern-day abolitionist. Begin meeting regularly with them. Get educated and mobilized to act together (51).”
Refuse to Do Nothing Book Discussion
Chapter 1: The issue of Human Trafficking
Chapter 2: We’ve Done This Before
Chapter 3: So you want to be an activist?
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2014