Zechariah 7:8-10 (NIV)
8 And the word of the LORD came again to Zechariah: 9 “This is what the LORD Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. 10 Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’
She walked alone down the narrow road, daylight was fading as the moon hung low in the evening sky. With eagerness to return home she hoped her mother would have their family meal prepared. Her feet were tired from the day but still she had an energy within her. She couldn't wait to see her dad's face when she told him the news of what she had learned in school that day. The streets were quiet as most had retired for the night. The walk was long, but she knew she was one of the lucky ones to even be going to school.
There was a sudden commotion behind her and the sound of a car's brakes caused her to turn. She had barely set her gaze before everything went black. What was happening? Why couldn't she see? Her mind raced and her heart pounded. She began to scream, but couldn't. Something or someone was holding her back. Panic set in. In that moment fear took over. There were voices, telling her to stop moving. She struggled against their hands, violently trying to set herself free. She was helpless. The voices continued, now yelling. "Please let me go, who are you?" She pleaded. With no response, her fight continued. She finally stopped, her strength had faded. Her sight remained dark as they continued to travel. As her eyes grew wet, reality set in. Her fear led her to an understanding of what was happening. It was what her mother had warned her about.
She knew to be careful as she walked home. How did this happen?
They soon stopped. She was picked up and thrust onto a cold, hard floor. She laid there feeling paralyzed. "What would happen next?" she thought. Light soon singed her eyes. She squinted and looked around. One man sat watching her while two others talked in the corner of the room. She was scared to move. The other men approached. What they said next would confirm her fear. "Your ours now, you will do what we say if you want your family to live! Don't try to run or we will kill you!" Her eyes burned hot, wet tears. She simply muttered yes. What else can you say in that moment? They pushed her to her feet and walked down a hallway. As they stopped in front of a door, the tallest man turned a key. When he opened the door, she felt relief and greater fear at the same time.
There were other girls just like her. They pushed her in and closed the door loudly behind her. Four other girls looking thin and tired stared at her. She didn't know what to say. "My name is, Kathia. Where am I?" One of the girls stepped forward. She was older, about 16. "I'm Pame, I've been here 4 days now. Keep your voice down and just do what they say." Kathia quietly continued with questions, trying to make sense of it all. The other girls as well had only been there for a short time. They exchanged stories of where they were from and what had happened. The talking lulled and the weariness set in. Kathia's body slumped onto the floor.
Morning broke, and she awoke, to the sound of a slamming door. Before she could rise to her feet, she was kicked with a hard blow to her side. She looked around and saw the other girls being shoved as well. The were led out of the room. They went into a bathroom where she was stripped. A rush of cold water poured over head. She tried to cover herself, the two men stood there watching and laughing. The sound of crying filled her ears. Was it the other girls or her own? They were next given clothes to put on and told to make themselves look nice.
The next move was to a van. They were given instructions to speak to no one and that sudden death for them and their family would come if they tried to run. After a silent ride, they found themselves in the city walking down an ally into the backdoor of what appeared to be a restaurant. A man sat at a table eying them like candy. She felt exposed. Her three captures gave them orders to stand in a line. One of the men went and sat at the table. They sat talking, but she couldn't hear them. They both turned to look at them. "I'll take her" the man said as he pointed towards her. Her heart sank. "What does he mean? " she thought. She saw an exchange of money and a shaking of hands. In that moment she was led to the table where she was greeted by a sly smile that made her cringe. Her captures turned to walk away and led the other girls out. She wanted to scream, wanted to run, but her courage was gone.
The large man in front of her brushed her hair away from her cheek. "Now aren't you a pretty little thing." He said. She stared to the side. He directed her gaze toward him. "Your name is now Gabriella, do you understand?" She nodded feeling another piece of her die. She wasn't prepared for what would happen next. Her small body was laid on a bed. She felt suffocated by the man above her. Pain pierced her. Sweat dripped on her. Her innocence was being stolen in the moment. She helplessly waited for it to end. When it was over he rolled over where he fell asleep beside her. She lay sobbing within feeling abandoned and alone. "Jesus please help me!"
Perhaps you've heard of human trafficking and perhaps like me you thought about how sad it was but didn't fully grasp the magnitude and severity of it globally. I've been growing more and more heartbroken and moved to action over this issue. The innocence and lives of so many are at stake. This cruel act of selling others for sex and personal gain is an injustice that can't be overlooked. As a Christian I feel a need to do something yet it can all feel a bit overwhelming. Where do we begin? What can a simple person like me do? I realize though, something is better than nothing. So what can we do?
- Pray! We can pray for those being persecuted in this way and pray for those taking action against trafficking.
- Tell others. Now it may not be the best conversation starter at a party, but there are times that you can share about what human trafficking is and how pervasive it is with others that may not know.
-Watch Trade I've only seen the preview, but will be watching it soon. Host a get together with others to watch it and discuss it.
-Support organizations. There are many that are on the front lines fighting against it.
Here are a few sites to look at if you want to learn more:
World Hope International
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women
Not For Sale Campaign
We sometimes can't connect with an issue of injustice until it becomes something more personal for us. I pray that the fictional story painted a picture for you. I feel connected to this issue even more when I hold my little girl and ache at the the thought of her enduring the kind of cruelty that is happening to many at this time.