Guest Post: Answering a Need.
Good morning friends! Happy hump day!
I write to you from the back seat of a university van (an awesome thing about traveling with professors, working never stops so neither does the hot spot!), somewhere between Birmingham, AL and Hattiesburg, MS. We are headed to the Gulf South Summit to do a panel presentation on a pilot service-learning program that we implemented on the GSU campus last semester (Remember all of those days of me writing how I was sooooo busy? Well, that’s exactly what I was doing!). I will be talking mostly about how the students of GSU can influence the community of Statesboro through nutrition education and awareness. The conference/presentation isn’t until tomorrow so today we will spend prepping, hanging at the hotel and I hope(or actually am going to) to squeeze in a workout/run later in the day. With all of this traveling lately, my yoga practice has been neglected, but I plan to return to the mat on Sunday night.
Anyways, today I am so excited to share with you my second guest post. As I mentioned in my first guest post, each of these post are extremely different, but all concern our health in one way or the other.
In just a few short weeks, three girls and I (one of which who wrote this post, Jodi) will run the Zooma Atlanta Half Marathon. Because of Jodi’s interest and awareness, she has asked us if we were interested in running this race for a cause. I immediately thought this was a great idea and am thrilled that she brought this aspect to the race. This will be my first time even running with friends, much less, running for a cause. This really brings a new excitement for race day!
Jodi and I in Charleston this past weekend.
So, friends, today, here is Jodi to share an incredible story…
Indifference is not an option. Ignorance is not an excuse.
Over the past couple of months I have been overwhelmed, enraged, discouraged, and devastated by the heartbreaking reality that is rampant throughout our nation and the world. A reality that so many are in the dark about. A reality that is the very core of evil and hatred. And that reality is MODERN-DAY SLAVERY. Yes, it still exists and is more prevalent today than any other day in the history of humanity.
Today, over 27 million men, women, and children worldwide are being held captive and used for labor, trade, and sex. EVERY minute of EVERY day two girls are being sold for sex.
As we live the American dream, a life of ease, comfort and peace, we sink into a state of oblivion of the suffering and pain that is going on just around the corner, literally in our backyard. What our “ American dream” fails to show us, is this shocking and disturbing statistic: Over 100,000 U.S. children are forcefully engaged in prostitution or pornography each year. The U.S. Government estimates that 14,500-17,500 slaves are trafficked into the United States each year. A study done by the University of California, Berkley estimates that there are at least 10,000 slaves in the U.S. at any given time. Before I throw out anymore facts let me define the type of slavery I am talking about:
“Slavery is when one person completely controls another person, using violence to maintain that control, exploits them economically, pays them nothing and they cannot walk away. Human trafficking is the modern-day slave trade—the process of enslaving a person. It happens when someone is tricked or kidnapped or coerced, and then taken into slavery. (freetheslaves.net)”
Can you imagine a more devastating life than living one as a slave? Bought, tortured, raped and beaten. I can’t. And as a woman, the thought of being sold night after night to countless men for sex- is unbearable to imagine.
Remember when I said this is happening in your backyard? I literally meant in your backyard. If you live in Atlanta, you are more than likely within walking distance from where young girls are being sold for sex right this very minute.
Here are the facts: In the state of Georgia 300-500 girls between the ages of 12-14 are sold for sex against their will every month. Yes, EVERY MONTH, and that is not including the other 49 states.
How are we allowing this crime against humanity, against our innocent children, to occur around us each and every day? Not just in our nation, but in the world. Why has this issue been ignored for so long? Why is no one TALKING about this? How have we been so blind to the needs of the helpless? Aren’t we called to help the “least of these”?
“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did for me.” –
These innocent children, enslaved against their will, stripped of their humanity are trapped. Trapped with no way out. They are DESPERATE- desperate for people like you and me to protect, rescue, and restore them from the misery and hopelessness that is their lives.
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
-Teresa of Avila
As I have been overwhelmed with the shocking truth and reality that is modern-day slavery, I have been paralyzed with this thought: “Where do I begin? What do I do? How do I, one powerless person, even begin to help these men, women, and children?”… With GOD- That’s how. I soon changed my negative thinking to one of hope and of purpose. I began to think, how can I use the gifts and talents God gave me to fight this cause? It takes one person to make a difference. ONE person. A good friend recently shared this Mother Teresa quote with me:
“If you can’t feed one hundred people, just feed one.”
After hearing this quote, I realized that I am not going to be able to stop human trafficking or slavery tomorrow or next week or next year, but what I can do is help one person. I can start by doing ONE THING. So I have decided, along with 3 other girls (Ashley, Casey, and Christina), to run a half marathon in April. We will run those 13.1 miles for the young girls who are being sold for sex every day in the state of Georgia.
As my passion for this issue has grown, I have recently become involved in an organization called Street Grace. Street Grace is a non-profit organization that works with trafficked girls in the state of Georgia, specifically right here in Atlanta. That’s the organization I have chosen to get involved with, but there are many more. There are several organizations right here in Atlanta striving to prevent sex trafficking as well as protect, rescue and restore the victims. These organizations offer many ways and opportunities for YOU to get involved. By doing one thing, we can make a difference. So, I want to challenge you to do ONE thing. I am just one person, but together WE ARE A FORCE FOR GOOD. Slavery is not a Christian or non-Christian issue, it is a human issue.
Below are some great resources to help you learn more and to get involved. Please check it out and see how you can make a difference.
- Passion City Church is doing a 72 Days for Freedom Campaign right now! www.72daysforfreedom.com
- Check out www.slaveryfootprint.org to find out how many slaves are working for you right now…it’s a scary realization.
- International Justice Mission (www.ijm.org)
Wow! What an incredible, yet unfortunate realization. Thank you, Jodi, for bringing us all such awareness. I hope this post opens your eyes to something you can do, even if it’s the smallest of things.
Also, check out this song… it aligns perfectly with this post.
Have a wonderful day!