Last month we decorated our homes with ornaments and lights, sang Christmas carols, exchanged gifts and enjoyed a meal with friends and family, but that was last month. It seems a strange and painful juxtaposition to celebrate the birth of Jesus in December only to begin the New Year by bringing awareness to human trafficking. Yes, January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month.
Perhaps it’s not such a leap if you fully read the birth story of Jesus, especially the one recorded in Matthew chapter 2. This story is one not only full of wonder, hope and beauty, but also one of pain and suffering. This baby, the “King of the Jews,” began his time on earth by being hunted by a jealous king. He ordered every baby boy in the region, two years and younger, to be killed. The background music of the birth story is not just angels singing but mothers mourning the murder of their sons.
You see, in the midst of most beautiful stories we tend to find the ugly stains of evil. Buried in the most horrible stories, we often find a wonderful budding of something new and wonderful. So it was with the story of Christmas, so it was with the story of the cross and so it is with us.
Believe me, I’d rather my life not collide with the brutal reality so many experience.
But it’s January 2018, and our calendar throws the terrible truth of human trafficking in our faces.
300,000 children in the United States are victims of child sex trafficking; sold for sex each year. Across the globe, it is a $32 billion industry. For these hundreds of thousands of children, a life of horror and danger is forced upon them as they find themselves slaves for local and global criminal organizations.
Many of these victims are children from the foster care system. In 2013, 60 percent of children rescued from a FBI nationwide raid conducted in over 70 cities were children from foster care or group homes. Children, some as young as four, were found in hotel rooms, truck stops, and even homes.
Unfortunately you don’t have to look much further than good ole “Awesome Town” to discover just how close and relevant this evil is to us all.
SANTA CLARITA >> Four men were arrested after they showed up at a Santa Clarita Valley hotel where they allegedly intended to pay for sex with girls between the ages of 14 and 16 years old, authorities said. – The Signal, Aug 2017
John 10:10 says, “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy; but I (Jesus) have come that you may have life, and have it to the full.”
Many of us have experienced the full life Jesus offers. Wouldn’t it be great if this year we could help Jesus bring full, joy-filled life to these who have been abused in every way. Wouldn’t it be great if we could help bring beauty out of their pain and suffering.
Here are some ways:
Pray: Click this link and give prayer a try. It matters! https://www.ijm.org/get-involved/pray
Give: Contact Steve Meyers firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about the 2Freedom Campaign and other ways to give.
JUSTrecycle: Don’t just recycle, JUST recycle and let the proceeds count for justice. Contact Jenni Rotmans email@example.com
ONEMORE Foster Initiative: We’d love to get you connected and help you engage in one of several ways the foster care crisis. www.reallifechurch.org/onemore
Strip Church LA: Strip Church Los Angeles is a women’s ministry reaching out to women in the sex industry to share the love of Jesus in a tangible way. To find out more contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Saving Innocence Hero Support: Provide encouragement, prayer and practical gifts to the amazing Case Workers on the SI Staff. Contact Orlando Flores. email@example.com
International Justice Mission: Become part of our Dominican Republic Field Office Support Team as they investigate, rescue, restore and prosecute the criminals of commercial sex trafficking of minors, or join the fight through Advocacy. Contact Steve Meyers, firstname.lastname@example.org