Today is human sex-trafficking awareness day across the country.
A man was visiting a brothel. He was actually an undercover cop, but no one knew it. He was walking through the building, getting the lay of the land within this prominent Red Light District. As his eyes darted from room to room, corner to corner, he took up notes in his head as to the placement of everything. He knew in a few months he would be back here; the next time, he wouldn’t be undercover.
A few weeks prior, the authorities had several reports of possible cases of trafficking. It led to the discovery of a large trafficking ring, actually over 30 brothels intertwined, in one way or another. This was one of them. He was here on a mission; one which he could not act on until it could all come down at once. He was doing justice. It took time. But the payoff, well, the payoff would result in the HUNDREDS being set free.
As he finished up touring the inside, he noticed a door leading out back. He had come in broad daylight, so many of the young girls, free from the demand of their clientele, were playing outside on this sunny day. The door banged shut behind him as he took several steps out onto the back patio. His eyes skimmed the surroundings, as he immediately envisioned the troops surrounding the tall wooden fence, which currently served to lock these girls into this hellish nightmare. His plan of action was just about complete.
As he turned to head back into the darkness of the brothel, something caught his eye. Slowly, he rotated his body back in the direction of the east end of the yard. Much of the terrain where the little girls were playing was sheeted in lifeless brown grass. Then there were certain parts of the ground encompassing the fence that were simply covered in dirt. Sitting deep in the shadow of the fence, he wonders how he even noticed her. Her skin was a light hazelnut, her tattered brown curls fell well past her shoulders. She was hunched over a bit, sitting in the dirt.
He watched her for a few long moments, as his mind struggled to accept the vision seeping through his eyes. After all, this wasn’t the kind of thing they prepared you for in the force. This wasn’t the kind of thing they prepared you for in parenthood. This was just not something you would ever think you might need to be prepared for.
She sat back a bit, her bottom gently landing in the little pile of dirt that she rested on. He watched as she took the handful of dirt she had just picked up from the ground and proceeded to dump it right onto the top of her head. He watched her pale face expressionless face as she continued reaching forward and sweeping up large handfuls of dirt into her palms, and then piled it atop her curly locks of hair. It began to sweep down over her eyes, some piling up atop her sharp shoulder blades. Her white tank top was completely dusted in the russet dirt, its red undertones disguising her lighter complexion.
After an hour or so, of just being glued to that spot, one of the girls who had been playing with a ball walked over to the man. She followed his eyes which were still glued to the little girl covering herself in dirt. She tugged on the bottom of his shirt, breaking his trance and getting his attention. He looked down at her, her big brown eyes gazing up at him. Broken from his state of denial, he hesitated before proceeding to ask the childlike teenage girl what exactly that young girl was doing over there by fence.
Having already seen the child of whom he was speaking, the girl refused to unlock her eyes from his. She solemnly replied, looking straight into his eyes. "She was taken from her maw when she was five years old. She eight now. She new here. Last night, madam asked me to take her upstairs and get her ready for her debut. Her whole body, it was shakin’ as I applied the pink blush and dull lipstick. I tried to tell her she had to stop those tremors or they were gunna beat on her, but she couldn’t. I sat outside the whole time. I talked to her afterwards, told her it was all gunna be okay. Her mind seemed to be somewhere else.
Now she over there trying to bury herself in that dirt pile. She done can’t handle the pain. She tryin to go on disappearing. I guess we all try to one way or another—you have to to make it round here. She just out here makin it happen in the physical."
He stood, perfectly still, the tears pouring down his cheeks, as he realized that this one, this precious little girl, did not have enough time for him to do justice. What if this was his daughter? He could not wait a month, a year, for the go ahead to save the hundreds. This ONE would not make it til then. The ONE needed him today, right now. He was overwhelmed by mercy. As he began striding towards her dirt pile in the corner of the yard, he decided that in this moment, right now, SHE mattered more then the hundreds.
Let’s rise up and come together to make a difference for the ONE today.
Not all are called to jump on the next flight to a trafficking hub across the globe, nor are all called to commit years to the pursuit of these girls freedom. However, we ARE each called to “Learn to do good, seek justice, help the oppressed, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17 We are called to share the hope to which we have been called. We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are called to lavish grace and mercy and love upon those in need.
You might not ever see one of these precious girls face to face, but just imagine all the eyes she might look into—and into the brokenness she can speak of a God who met her right there, a God who made her new. She can share of HIS love and grace and redemption in her own life. Let us rise up, generation, let us fight for these beloved daughters of our Daddy.
What that looks like is different for each of us. I pray that the Spirit would lead you to rise up according to His glorious will. Here are some resources that offer lots great ways to unite in pursuit of freedom for these women and children.
The A21 Campaign
The Not for Sale Campaign
The Polaris Project
International Justice Mission
Mercy Ministries of America
The Home Foundation
International Crisis Aide
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." -Jer. 1:5