Since moving to Atlanta, Georgia three months ago God has thrown the issue of Human Trafficking in front of me more times than I would have liked. And while I’ve been familiar with it from a distance for some time now, it seems God will no longer allow me to be a casual observer. It has come to the point where I can’t ignore it and I have had to wrestle through not only what I’m going to do about it, but in the role I find myself in, what I’m going to lead others to do. I confess I have much to learn on this subject…and much to do. So while this may be my first post on this issue, I can assure you that it won’t be my last. This is too big of an injustice for the Church, and for me to remain silent on any longer.
In 1865, our forefathers wrote and ratified the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution legally abolishing slavery in the United States forever. They wrote and committed to the following:
“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
Yet, here you and I sit over a hundred years later, where thousands of human beings are trafficked every year and forced to become sex slaves, domestic workers, child soldiers, or agricultural laborers.
Sadly globally there are more slaves today than there were at the height of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
Today there are more than 27 million people enslaved worldwide.
Human Trafficking has quickly become a multi-billion dollar industry and is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, growing at a faster rate than the drug trade or illegal arms trade.
800,000 men women and children are trafficked across international borders every year and according to the U.S. State Department somewhere around 70% of those are women and girls, and somewhere around 50% are minors.
The issue of human trafficking hit the forefront of mainstream national news in two major stories this month. In the State of California the FBI busted the largest human trafficking operation to ever result in charges in the history of the United States. In which over 400 people from Thailand were recruited to come work in the U.S. The imported workers wound up laboring on farms under substandard conditions, had their passports confiscated, and were threatened with deportation. Up until a few weeks ago the easiest way to find an underage prostitute in the United States was on Craigslist’s adult services section. Thankfully Craigslist closed down it’s adult services section on it’s website this month.
When we think of the issue of Human Trafficking, most of us, if we think of it at all, think of a movie that we saw with Liam Neeson in it that might have been entertaining but can’t be real, right? Or perhaps images come into our mind of some low life extorting the poor in a random third world country. Well you may be shocked to discover the following information.
In 2006 Atlanta ranked in the top 13 cities in the world in Sex Trafficking
When CNN ran a cover story on human trafficking and child prostitution of all places, they chose to run it based out of Atlanta, GA
Until 2001, the pimping of a minor in Georgia was classified as a misdemeanor payable by a simple fine
Sanford Jones, the chief juvenile judge of Fulton County had this to say about Human Trafficking in the Atlanta area:
“Men fly in, are met by pimps, have sex with a 14-year-old for lunch, and get home in time for dinner with the family.”
So what should the Church do about this? What should I do about it? It’s one of the key issues of our day that I can’t get away from, and has been left at the feet of my generation to lead through. The only true answer is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, because it’s the only thing that abolishes sin and frees mankind from the corruption and slavery of our position in sin. How does the Gospel compel you to combat corruption and the darkness of sin that lurks in the hearts of men?
Posted in Leadership, Spiritual Formation