human-trafficking-rise.si__0

 

I stare at my computer screen in disbelief.  Have we really come to this point as a nation?  Article after article disputing the truth of Human Trafficking at the SuperBowl.  Individuals arguing about what number or statistic is correct, and why does it matter, after all it happens everyday, and what is wrong with prostitution anyway, let’s just make it legal… seriously? Former Madams given platform to talk about the goodness of their work, Superbowl athletes answering questions about being in strip clubs and the role model they are for our nation.  My emotions churn inside me, a mix of overcoming sadness, anger and frustration.  My heart breaks, If they had seen what I saw, I wonder, would they say such things?

You see, I’m not concerned about statistics, I’m concerned about truth.  Truth is, women and children were exploited at the Superbowl, and at every place where large numbers of men gather, in the United States, and every other country throughout the world.  (including surrounding military bases here and abroad)

This isn’t a third world problem, it’s my problem, and it’s your problem.  If you claim to know Jesus, and to love Jesus, we can’t continue to ignore injustice, or to explain it away.  We can’t get so hung up on the numbers that we lose sight of what those numbers represent.  Each number, represents a life.  A life created in the image of God.

I have a daughter who looks just like me, but she wasn’t created in my image, she was created in God’s image.  She shares my DNA, but has God’s spirit living in her.  The thought of just one man doing this to her causes a sickness in me.  I can’t imagine God watching it happen anywhere from 20-50 times A DAY!   If we could experience but a portion of His heart for just one of the victims, we’d be undone.  I know I have been.  Completely.UNDONE!  This grieves him in ways that we can’t begin to imagine.

I’ve attended the last two SuperBowls as a prayer warrior on behalf of the trafficked women and children (and men), as well as for those brave souls on the ground seeking evidence and rescue.

If you had seen what I saw, I question if these arguments would seem important.  I’ve stood, and watched countless drug deals happening next to me, right out in the open.  My small town heart thinks, how does this happen.  I see broken people desperate for love and affection.  I see men, tucking their “escort” into a taxi, and then entering in casual conversation about their wives while they walk side by side.  I see 24 hour massage parlors located in basements, I see very young girls getting into the car with men old enough to be their grandparent. I see a pimp, teaching a new pimp how to “groom” and “break” a girl, I see bruises, and downcast eyes.  I see internet ads boasting of “new girls” bought into town, of all ages.  I see so many things that go unnoticed to the very people who are arguing.

But most of all,I see a system that needs fixing.  Corruption and hardened hearts at some of the highest levels.  I see countless comments that would lead you to believe that this hype is all just smoke and mirrors and that these women are doing this because they want to.  They are doing it for the money.  I see that if we look the other way, and don’t see, then  it’s ok.  And I pause and think, did any of these girls grow up dreaming that they would be a stripper?  Or enduring countless men in a day?  Did they write on their first grade papers – when I grow up I want to be a prostitute?  God did not create us for this.  Period.

I rejoice in stories of rescue that go unpublished for the safety of the victim, not everything is best reported to the general public.  I see women weeping in prayer for hour after hour, and then see in part fulfillment of prayer as a major ring is busted.  I awakened one morning by  headlines that read  “Mommy made me do it.”

And then, more injustice.  I see laws that make it too easy.  “Mommy” is charged with 2 misdemeanors and $2000 bail.  SERIOUSLY!!  And the MVP of trafficking as they called her, $250,000.  Peanuts to her given the magnitude of the ring she was running.  I see trafficked women, afraid to testify because they are told their family will be killed, or tortured, or both, amongst other lies.  I see laws that mean in order to prove trafficking, it takes years of investigating.  It takes proving that even though women haven’t left a building in over two weeks, that they are being held against their will.  It means seeing that emotional bondage is so much stronger than being physically bound.

All the while, it seems  the loudest voices on the internet are the ones finding fault in good people, trying to right injustice.  Experienced Johns commenting that if they were paying $200 they were overpaying.  Because you should apparently be a bargain hunter when paying to rape women.

Today, I can’t help but say – “If you had seen what I saw…” And my heart cried out these words from Mark 8:17…

Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?

Join me today that Jesus would say to his people “If you had seen what I saw.”  Jesus give us your eyes, to see , and your ears to hear.  Harden not our hearts.  Soften us to the reality that is around us.  Take away our justifications and help us to see injustice as you see injustice.  Mark our hearts God, with a portion of what you feel.  And God, as we fast and pray, may we trust you to take our pieces of prayer and produce basketfuls.  May we not stand feeling defeated, but instead, may we rise up with a mighty faith in you to move the mountains.  Nothing is too hard for you, and you have a plan.  Soften our hearts so that we can see our role in that plan Lord. And we pray for just one.  One by one by one God, you create us.  And one by one, you can rescue.  For each of these, created in your image, we cry out.