Leaving the Modern Day Slavery event on Saturday, April 18, I came home ready to write a piece to share my thoughts and experiences. However, I came home to a busy house and was unable to sit and put all my thoughts on paper. So I have been marinating in my experience, marinating in the statics, marinating in the voices of girls who have survived, marinating in all the injustice. I have been marinating in all of this for over 24 hours.
"Let’s talk about sex trafficking!" is not an easy pill to swallow; it’s not a topic where one walks away feeling all bubbly and filled with the Holy Spirit. It’s hard, it’s sticky, it’s dirty, it can feel paralyzing, and let’s be honest - it is.
o Children are being recruited into sex trafficking by other children in school and after-school activities.
o The average age of a sex trafficked minors is 12 to 13 years of age.
o Texas is number 2 destination for American Sex Trafficked minors in the United States.
These statics are difficult to swallow; we want to shy away, sweep them under the rug. We want to pretend that this happens in other countries, in other states, in other communities but it is happening here: in Dallas, in Carrollton, and in our churches. We have been sweeping them under the rug as a community and a church for a long time, now they are staring us in the face saying “Now, what?” That is the question that I walked away with, “Now what?” Now that I know, now that I can’t turn away, now that I have a voice and a story, “Now, what?”
What does my role look like in this mess? What does First Church’s role look like? Is my role to know, to educate, to go and do, to share, to pray? I’m not sure what my role in all this is, and I’m not sure that I will know today or tomorrow or even a week from now. I do know that God hears the cries of the suffering, the powerless, the weak, and the broken. I do know that He has given me knowledge and tools to cry out for the suffering, the powerless, the weak, and the broken. I do know that God asks me to be the hands and feet to the suffering, the powerless, the weak, and the broken. And I do know that when we seek Him, He guides our paths, He makes clear our direction.
Sex trafficking is a hard topic that effects all of us because it is polluting our schools, our internet, our community and our church. Marquita Burke-De Jesus, Traffick911, and Denise Beckman shared heart wrenching stories of Modern Day Slavery, but I walked away with hope. Because with Christ, sex trafficking is not hopeless; it is not paralyzing. I can do something; we can do something. Let us begin this something with prayer. If you do not feel that you are ready to step into this conversation or are already a part, I ask you to please pray for the children that are in bondage of sex trafficking, pray for those who are working to stop sex trafficking, and pray for First Church’s role in this mess.
I wish that I could wrap this article up in a pretty little bow and give a heartwarming story to end this, but I cannot do that. I walked away sticky and uncomfortable, hopeful but sticky and uncomfortable. Maybe that’s what it’s supposed to feel like; maybe we are to lean into the uncomfortable sticky mess, to marinate in it and to seek Jesus in this mess.
Be on the look out for more events and information regarding Modern Day Slavery. You can listen to the sessions from the conference here.