Action step against trafficking:
Excerpted from The Exodus Road, April 5, 2019
Micah Hartmann, in an April 5, 2019 article in Exodus Road says, "Human trafficking has been identified in all 50 U.S. states. The majority of the time, this crime isn’t being carried out by wanted criminals or strangers passing through town with dubious agendas. It’s happening at the hands of people in our communities that we know, live next to, or interact with.
He further explains, "According to Kelly Dore—survivor of familial trafficking, Director of the National Human Trafficking Survivor Coalition, and Legislative Liaison for United Against Slavery—familial trafficking is the abuse or exploitation of a victim at the hands of someone they know. Familial sex trafficking, specifically, involves traffickers (who sell victims for profit) giving offenders sexual access to victims or pornography in exchange for drugs, money, or something else of value. Kids are the prime targets of this heinous crime, and their perpetrators are often right in front of us, hiding in plain sight."
Hartmann goes on to say, "More than 200,000 children are victims of sex trafficking in the U.S. every year, and their families or family friends are the most likely to exploit them. For 90% of victims, child trafficking starts in the home. The average age of a victim of familial trafficking in the U.S. is only five years old, and some children are victimized as early as infancy."
As Kelly Dore says, "They are American children. They’re in your schools. They go to your churches. If you’re a medical doctor, they come to your clinics."
Who are the perpetrators? The article gives these details: "In a Journal of Family Violence study sample, in which all traffickers involved were family members, nearly 65% of the traffickers were the mother of the victim, and 32% were the victim’s father. Traffickers who victimize their family members or those close to them take advantage of existing power dynamics. They seek extensive control over their victims’ lives. They know their victims well and understand exactly what makes them vulnerable. This position allows them to manipulate and groom their victims to do exactly as they’re told."
How can you or I help a child being trafficked? This article says, "One thing every one of us can do is trust our gut. If something feels off or wrong or if a child shows any signs of sex trafficking, take a closer look. Teachers and school personnel are the most likely group to come into regular contact with victims of familial trafficking—but are by no means the only one. If you suspect a child you know is being trafficked by a family member or anyone else, file a report with local law enforcement or contact the Human Trafficking Hotline. Do NOT contact the family, and never attempt to confront a suspected trafficker or rescue a victim yourself; you could make a situation much worse for the child and put yourself in serious danger."
I hadn't heard these stats before but I do know that familial trafficking is real and it really does happen right here. I have been told of children being trafficked by family members in Whatcom County.
Please pray for trafficking situations to be revealed and victims to begin healing from the trauma they've experienced. And if you ever suspect a child is being trafficked, make the call.
Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit http://www.hope4justice.org/the-facts/
Mirror Ministries in the Tri-Cities area of Eastern Washington recently shared "Harmony's" story of being trafficked by her mother on their facebook page. Read the full account here.
ON THE CALENDAR
Sunday, September 22, 2019: Freedom Sunday at North County Christ the King, 1835 Liberty St., Lynden, WA. All three services: 9 & 11:00 am and 6:30 pm.
Sunday, October 20, 2019:Stand Against Slavery at Northlake Community Church, 1471 E McLeod Rd. Bellingham, WA. 6-8 pm