human trafficking awareness day According to the United Nations, human trafficking is:

“the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”

When I was in Thailand working with an organization that rescues girls purchased from their families and sold into prostitution, I was unaware of this definition of human trafficking.

When I spoke with the girls, my heart broke at the hopelessness filling their hearts. They were owned. And their captivity was the only thing providing food for their impoverished families living hundreds of miles away.

I don’t like thinking about it because the hopelessness creeps back into my heart. It was one of the darkest places I have ever entered.

Each night, after immersing myself in the lives of these trafficked girls, talking to them, not having an idea about what to say, I went home and sobbed. I have never experienced anything so evil.

I could not, and cannot, possibly understand how one human being can exploit another like this.

How can I (and so many people I know) be so overwhelmed and so outraged about human trafficking and have it still exist in our world today?

Part of the answer is knowing God.

That sounds simple, but I think it’s why this verse in Genesis came to my mind when I heard that today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day (in the U.S.).

“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image.” — Genesis 9:6, ESV

human trafficking awareness day

The people in my life who know me best, know God … really well.

My husband is becoming an expert in all things Brianne. It probably helps that we live together ☺ but I think it is deeper than that. I know he talks to God about me. Which makes sense, because God made me.

I believe the same about my best friends. They talk to God about me too. And He tells them about me. He made me.

And the people who know Him and love Him look at me and see Him.

He made me in His image.

I think this verse came to mind not so much as a reminder of a law that God laid down several thousand years ago. I think this verse came to mind as a reminder that we are to deal lovingly with all human beings because “God made man is His own image.”

We can honor the children and human beings who are victims of human trafficking by committing to see every individual, every single human being, as a person made in God’s image. To truly treat other human beings with respect and to show love and mercy.

But how do we do that?

It’s just a matter of doing something.

Sponsor a child. Get involved with International Justice Mission, our partner in the 58: Alliance, or simply join us tonight at 7 p.m. MT for a Twitter chat with Zach Hunter, the teenage abolitionist and founder of Loose Change to Loosen Chains. (Follow the hashtag #cichats)

[1.12.12: If you missed out chat with Zach, here’s a summary of how it played out.]

I believe human trafficking exists because someone looks at a child, a woman, a man and doesn’t see God’s image. And the consequences of that are grave and heartbreaking.

The second part of today’s One in Spirit devotional verse is quite fitting for today. Don’t you agree?

“We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” –- 2 Corinthians 4:10, NIV

As Zach says, “You are the someone. Today is the day.”

Especially today.

“Our world is a messed up place. People are hurting. Suffering is everywhere . . . . Where is the help?

. . . This morning when you woke up, there were people around the world and in your own community who were hoping that today might be the day. The day someone stepped in between slaves and their oppressors. The day relief from suffering begins. The day they could feed, clothe and educate their kids. The day someone showed kindness to them, or let them know they had value . . . .

Don’t wait for someone else. Don’t wait for someday. Because, YOU are the someone and TODAY is the day.”

— Zach Hunter

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  1. Lisa Miles
    Jan 11, 2012
    at 9:23 am

    One of the reasons I love Compassion and child sponsorship is it offers a layer of protection for children. I know that sponsoring a child is a powerful way to fight human trafficking.

    Hey, if anyone reading this lives in the Antigo, Wisconsin area and wants to do something about trafficking, literally TODAY — my best friend is holding a rally to raise awareness of the problem of human trafficking. (She is the Wisconsin state representative for F.R.E.E. International.) She is looking for people to hold signs. Here’s the info: ” Volunteers would hold signs in Antigo on Wed., January 11th in 1-2 hour shifts from 10AM-3PM at the intersections around the Refuge, Walgreens, etc.” She’s had a few volunteers cancel, so feel free to just show up and find the group!

  2. Jan 11, 2012
    at 9:37 am

    Thank you, Brianne, for posting this today. Such a needed reminder. Thank you, also, for your work with Compassion!

    • Brianne McKoy
      Jan 12, 2012
      at 8:45 am

      Christine! Thank you so much for your comment and encouragement!

  3. natalia
    Jan 11, 2012
    at 5:06 pm

    i really do hope that one day someone will put a stop to human tracking….and thinking about it just makes me cry

    • kaitlyn
      Jan 13, 2012
      at 4:14 pm

      I really hope someone will stop it to. It makes me want ot cry to when i think about it

  4. memphian65
    Jan 11, 2012
    at 5:12 pm

    Please read this author’s book about human trafficking. Today he is the featured blog on barnesandnoble.com and is a solid believer. http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/The-NOOK-Blog/Guest-Author-Corban-Addison/ba-p/1253393?cm_mmc=Twitter-_-NOOK-_-unbound-_-guest_author_corban_addison

  5. Linnie Trotter
    Jan 11, 2012
    at 7:27 pm

    Speechless

  6. Jan 12, 2012
    at 10:34 am

    It is a terrible thing to know this is happening. Go to this site and see this new Christian Documentary on this. The DVD is not out yet, but it’s the most powerful one I have ever seen regarding this tragidy.

    Nefarious http://nefariousdocumentary.com/

  7. Jan 12, 2012
    at 8:04 pm

    If you missed out chat with Zach yesterday, here’s how it played out.

  8. Jan 12, 2012
    at 9:45 pm

    Hi, I generally don’t get involved in politics, but this is an important issue. 1,000,000 children are being sold into prostitution every year. To picture that, think of a big football stadium every month. These children are constantly being raped and tortured and abused on a daily basis. This all for both pornography and or prostitution. It’s horrific. Please take 2 minutes of your time and call your senators to support this bill. Here is the website:

    http://www.ijm.org/justice-campaigns/tvpra

    This is on the International Justice Mission, which is a Christian organization, doing terrific work.

    You can find the phonenumber of your senator right here:

    http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

    I used this script. It’s what IJM proposed:

    “Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I’m calling from [YOUR TOWN, STATE] to voice my support for the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, S. 1301. I’d like to ask the Senator to do everything in [HIS/HER] power to get this important bill passed. This legislation helps to combat human trafficking around the globe and right here in [YOUR STATE], an issue I really care about. Would you please pass my message on to the Senator? Thank you!”

    It will just take a few minutes of your time
    The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2011 | International Justice Missionwww.ijm.org

    International Justice Mission (IJM) is a human rights organization that rescues victims of violence,…

    • Jul 1, 2012
      at 10:30 am

      Natalia, don’t just cry; find a connection somewhere, with IJM or some other organization. Get involved, as Brianne said.

      I am coming late to this table. When I first started hearing about human trafficking (such a nice, clean, antiseptic term!) in the U.S., I didn’t really believe it. Then I heard more. But my own state? My own city? Noooooo!

      I recently learned that our local Crisis Pregnancy Center now has a related ministry aimed at eradicating child sex slavery. I received some information about it, and if the Lord opens the door, I will undergo their training and then begin to volunteer for them.

      Find a way, even from home. Get educated on the subject and start spreading the awareness, the ugly truth of this evil. Cry when you need to, but do something to ease someone else’s cries. Okay? You and I can help!

    • Jul 1, 2012
      at 10:38 am

      Kees, great job of giving valuable information. I’ll check into this to see what the current status of this bill is, and if it isn’t too late, I’ll contact our Senators about it.

      In information I’ve just received from Crisis Pregnancy Centers/Streetlight Tucson (Eradicate Child Sex Slavery), 1.8 million children are forces to work in the sex industry every year, globally (Unicef; I don’t have a year). From the same source, 100,000 – 150,000 children ae trapped in sex slavery in the U.S., and the average age of entry in the U.S. is 13 years (some as young as 5 yrs. Of those, fewer than 1,000 (a serious lack of zeros in that number!) victims have been assisted by federal, state or local law enforcement agencies.

      There are other statistics, but the bottom line is that much more needs to be done. And at the very least, we can all pray, and we had better be doing that!

  9. kaitlyn
    Jan 13, 2012
    at 4:12 pm

    I went to a play that gave a very good example of human trafficking. I have no idea why people dont just except that Jesus can over come all these girls and guys problems. They director of this play said that America is the number 1 state for human trafficking. I thought as i was sitting there watching, that jesus has his hand on all the people out there doing all the nonsense! If i ever get a chance i want to go on a mission trip to area that si doing this and help all the girls that are there, give the food, as clean par of clothes and all the other godd stuff they need to be a girl!

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