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"Modern day slavery." It sounds like a contradiction.

But it is a grim, little known fact that there is more slavery in the world today than at any time in history, including the Civil War and the height of the African slave trade.  

"After drug trafficking, trafficking in humans ties with the illegal arms industry as the second largest criminal industry in the world today and the fastest growing." - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2011

We often think - that is IF we stop to think about it - that human trafficking is something that occurs overseas in remote, dark corners of the world. And that is true. It does occur there. But we are mistaken if we think that it doesn't occur here in the U.S., in our cities and suburbs, our neighborhoods, our local schools and shopping malls, our farms.

Simply stated, human trafficking is a form of slavery that involves the use of force, fraud, and/or coercion for the purpose of forced labor or sexual exploitation. Also, if a person is a minor (under 18 years old) and they are exploited sexually for money, they are considered victims of human trafficking whether or not coercion was involved.

Human Trafficking by the Numbers:

  • 29.8 million people enslaved worldwide (4.5 million in sex slavery, remainder in forced labor)
  • 100,000 - 300,000 minors trafficked in the United States annually
  • 12 years old = average age for a girl in the U.S. to be recruited for sex trafficking
  • $32,000,000,000 per year generated for traffickers
  • 99% of victims are not rescued

The problem is so big, but often hidden in plain sight. It may seem overwhelming, so we ignore it. But there are things, both large and small, that we can do to help stop human trafficking. <<Click to Tweet

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I saw a photo of a cardboard sign that read, 

“I ALWAYS WONDERED WHY SOMEBODY DIDN’T DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT.
THEN I REALIZED. I AM SOMEBODY.”

I am somebody who can make a difference. And so are you! << Click to Tweet

Edmund Burke said, “Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” If we all committed to at least doing a little about human trafficking a lot would be accomplished. 

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January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.  There are events across your state and the country raising awareness about the issue. My group, Justice Network (www.justice-network.org), is hosting a showing of the move Nefarious tonight (1/9/15) in Wyckoff, NJ. 

Here are three ways you personally can make a difference and stem the tide of this heinous evil.

Be a PRAYER WARRIOR:

Commit to pray about this issue.  Pray for:

  • Victims
  • Survivors
  • Workers providing restoration services
  • Workers seeking prevention
  • Frontline activists and law enforcement
  • Legislators
  • Accurate and effective news reporting
  • Even for the traffickers, pimps, buyers, and johns 

Be a PROVIDER:

  • Donate money, goods, and services
  • Fund raise
  • Do a donation drive of items for shelters and safe homes
  • Purchase fair-trade goods made by survivors or those at risk

Be a PUBLIC ADVOCATE:

  • Be informed BEFORE you speak out!
  • Speak up for those who can't speak for themselves
  • Tell your family and friends
  • Use your social media to spread the word and raise awareness
  • Write letters - to local or county papers, to your Congressman, to companies to find out if their products were created slave-free
  • Organize or attend awareness events
  • "If you see something, say something." The national hotline to report suspicious activity is 888-373-7888.
  • Human trafficking is a big problem, but it is one that can be eliminated. If you believe that it is wrong to buy or sell people, then share this message. We can change the culture: (you can use attached  graphic)

Human trafficking is a big problem, but it is one that can be eliminated. If you believe that it is wrong to buy or sell people, then share this message. We can change the culture: 

  • 150 years ago, President Lincoln delivered the Emancipation Proclamation. Today the idea of owning a Negro slave is unheard of.
  • 100 years ago, women rallied for the right to vote. Today the idea of an American woman denied access to the polling place is unheard of.
  • 50 years ago, Rosa Parks refused to sit in the back of the bus. Today the idea of separate but equal schools, bus seats, or water fountains is unheard of.

I have the audacity to believe that 50 years from now, the idea of buying a girl for the Super Bowl will be unheard of.

Dr. BJ Palmer said,

"We never know how far-reaching something we may think, say, or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow." I believe that because you and I will do something today, we will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.  

Susan Panzica is a Jewish Jersey girl who loves Jesus, her family, the ocean, and mangos. Her passion is to bring an eternal perspective to earthly matters through writing, speaking, teaching, and coffee dates. A quasi-emptynester who works with her chiropractor husband, she thoroughly enjoys when her college age children are home, with or without all their friends. Susan is a speaker, women and children’s Bible teacher, and writer of the devotional blog Eternity Café.

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photo credit: In Focuz via photopin cc

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