Monday, September 15, 2008

{Putting a Face on the Statistics}

{these are two children who were rescued by IJM}

I recently had a very overwhelming experience. I was sitting in a crowded room listening to statistics about Human Trafficking. Statistics like these:

  • Worldwide, there are nearly 2 million children in the commercial sex trade.
  • There are approximately 600,000 - 800,000 individuals trafficked across international borders each year.
  • Approximately 80% of human trafficking victims are women, and 50% are minors.
  • Every 30 minutes someone is trafficked into the United States.
Gnarly statistics, right? Hard to hear and hard to read. I mean, who can smile while reading that every thirty minutes someone in trafficked into "the land of the free and the home of the brave"? That means that while watching an episode of Oprah, 2 people will have come into the US against their wills.

So, here I am in the crowded room hearing these statistics. Yes, they are crazy to hear and yes, they make me angry, but they are statistics. Numbers. Data.

But, something changed that. The fella reading these numbers then said, "I want to ask you to just sit and think about these numbers for a few minutes. Try to connect to the people that live in these numbers. See if you can empathize with them."

So, I sat. I am very passionate about human rights and social justice so I sat there thinking about the numbers and about how crazy it is that this exists. I do have to admit that while I am really passionate in this area, I can still feel numb while I hear stats like these. That is how I felt - numb. But then, I prayed. This was my prayer:

"God, help me to see this how you see it."
I sat for a couple of seconds with my eyes closed in silence. And then, my heart broke. Because I suddenly saw a face in my mind. It was the face of my daughter.

My precious daughter who is barely 5 and loves pink and delights in riding in the car with her window down and who just learned how to swim. And, I got it. These are all someone's children. These are all individuals who should be free to live life the best they can without someone abusing them and imposing horrible labor on them. I got this mental image of myself running up and down streets and screaming out my child's name. Frantic. Aching. Ready to cross the earth if that is what it would take to bring her back to me safely. Ready to take on the entire United Nations if that is what it would take for me to change the world's view on this issue.


"LOGAN!"

"LOGAN!"

Can you hear me shouting? Because that would be me, all day long if my child was taken from me. I would be grabbing you by the shoulders and screaming into your face - "My baby girl. She was taken. She is being used as a sex slave. She is FIVE. Help me find her. Please, help me free her. Please, help me!"

Suddenly I knew the answer to my prayer. How God wants me to see this issue is as a mother who would fight for her child to be free. He wants us to be mothers that will fight for any child enslaved or abused to be free.

I would encourage you right now to take 30 seconds and pray that same prayer :

"God, help me to see this how you see it."

I have found the International Justice Mission to be an amazing site with so much information about how we can help. If you know of other ways that we can stand united for this cause, please share them here.

Oh, and I have started to pray this prayer every night. I realize it is kind of strange, but as I was praying that first night that I had my "Logan's face moment", these were the words that came out of my mouth and so I just keep praying them:

"God, please be with any of the children or individuals who are being held against their wills. Cover them with peace. And, please make the people who are imposing injustice on them desire to free them. Make them sick to their stomachs every time they eat. And, do not let them sleep another night until they free the people they are holding captive."

I know how insane I begin to feel without sleep. I hope that my prayer is answered.

Pray it with me?

2 comments:

Crissa said...

Wow, thank you for sharing your amazing testimony of the struggle, so many of us go through, to make these statistics real. We at IJM appreciate your passion and compassion for these children we are trying desperately to reach. Thank you for sharing your story and thank you for encouraging others to seek a similar one. Continue to seek this understanding and compassion. You’re not alone. We are trying to seek it every day as well. I think you would be interested in Gary Haugen’s books on his experiences doing this work and the learning he has gained from it. “The Good News about Injustice” is specifically about the struggle to physically change the lives of the injustice but I really think you would enjoy his newest “Just Courage” as well.

Heather of the EO said...

I'm a huge IJM fan. My family (parents) and I went to the banquet in the spring where Sara Groves sang her songs about justice. I cried my face off. Such a great organization.

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