Raising awareness for sex trafficking is hot on the Christian agenda right now. During the month of January (National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month), well-known pastors and teachers used their influence and platforms to shine light on a subject that has remained dark for too long.

But awareness is where it starts, not ends.

Have you noticed the ad in the sidebar? The one for The Exodus Road? Have you read the statistics?

27 million people are trapped in modern-day slavery. 80% of the victims are women and children and are suffering in 161 countries, including the United States. Sexual slavery has become a lucrative global industry, targeting the poor and inflicting abuse, usually in the darkest of places. (The Exodus Road, main page)

This is a messy, heart-wrenching subject. It’s dirty and to address it, you have to walk right into dirty places.

Kindred Grace is a place, we hope, of refreshment and beauty. But identifying what is beautiful is not so we can ignore the messy and keep our neat little selves clean. That’s not what Jesus did. He walked right into the homes of sinful people, walked right up to the women lost and enslaved. He touched them, healed them and gave them water to drink.

He told the way to eternal life, but first He pushed past the comfort zones of those around Him and identified that these broken ones have worth and beauty, even covered in dirt.

Dear ones, we need to get on board. We need to be actively doing something to touch the hurting, or we are not living Jesus to this world. 

"Slavery" @KindredGrace

I want to encourage you, click through that link, read up about The Exodus Road. Find other programs that are reaching out to the hurting and lost and broken.

And there is more:

That is only the first step. The next can be a bit harder.

Answer this question — are there women in your backyard that are trapped? 

Maybe they aren’t slaves to prostitution, but there are many forms of slavery.

I know a girl who was raped at eight and shuffled from foster home to foster home before being sent back to her parents with a shrug because no one else could deal with her anger and abuse. Now, at 17, she is trapped tight in slavery to her unhealed past.

I see her in town, every few months, and she always runs to me and hugs me tight. And people tell me, “She’s no good” and I know why they say it. They aren’t trying to be mean. She’s hurt a lot of people. But all I see when I look at her are the chains that hold her captive and I ache for her to be free.

So I buy her ice cream and tell her stories about a God who loves. The amazing part? She listens. Sometimes she even, laughingly, asks me to sing her that song she loves. Want to know the chorus of her favorite song in the world?

I come in empty and I leave filled
Bring my sickness and I leave healed
Broken-hearted, You mend every piece
I come in captive and I leave free

Laura Osman

Don’t tell me that God isn’t in the process of winning her heart and her love.

But at the same time here’s the honest, {embarrassing} truth: sometimes I want to turn around quick when I see her at a distance. I’m not the best singer in the world. I don’t usually make it a practice to stand around in gas stations and sing in a wavering, off-key voice. And she might just ask me to, with no thought to any of the people standing around.

And then, she’ll probably tell me about her boyfriend and how she’s waiting for him to leave his no-good wife and I’ll want to shake her until her head rattles.

But I’ve been healed and set free by a God who loves. So there is nothing to do but to love.

She’s in my backyard. And she’s a slave.

Do you know who is in your backyard? In your neighborhood?

Slavery @kindredgrace

Let us do everything to support these ministries that are working tirelessly to free those in captivity. But do not fall for the lie that all you need to do is send your money somewhere. Get out of your house and look around and be Jesus.

My young friend has been hearing the gospel from me for seven years now. And tell me; is her soul worth the time and energy for another seven years? Or for 20 years? Or 30?

Absolutely. She is loved by God. So I will walk into the dirt that she is forced to carry, every day of her life, and pray that my actions of love help her find a way out of it.

16 Comments

  1. Ughhhh…. the messy reality of this ugly truth. Slavery. Great post Natasha. Thanks for shining a light on how we can make a difference in our very own communities. The seeds sown in that young girls life will flourish. For sure.

  2. Thanks for this post, Natasha. I pray for a day when there will be no slavery and everyone will be free in this world. We have a long way to go, but with God all things are possible.

  3. Natasha, thank you for sharing what God laid on your heart. Until recently, I had not realized the extent of human trafficking. I was very shocked when I started my own research and realized how horrible it was and how many lives it involves and even in my backyard. What the Lord has in plan for me to do, I am not sure, but I want to be open and willing to His direction.

    Thank you and blessings to you!

    1. Andrea,
      I am so glad that this subject is hitting the headlines.

      And the horror that it is so prevalent in our own “free” country has torn at my heart. I hurt for the ones who are physically enslaved and for the ones that are emotionally beat into submission, thinking that they are forever trapped in a life of being used by those around them.

      I wrote this post months ago and pulled it out again when all the January awareness hit my news feeds– my heart is that we will all learn to reach out to the enslaved beside us, as Jesus would.

      I know He will give you wisdom as you seek to follow Him.

      Blessings,
      Natasha

  4. This is beautiful, Natasha. It’s amazing how we always imagine “rescue” as being more glamorous than it actually is…
    Like you said, it’s dirty. Other people don’t see it the same way you do. They don’t understand why you’re taking in “charity projects”, “being irresponsible”, “setting yourself up to get cheated, hurt, etc.”
    Wow… God must be pretty irresponsible for taking all of us in when He could just wipe us out and start afresh, huh? {sarcasm}
    Yes…. Papa is the very best savior, healer of the brokenhearted, and faithful Bridegroom.
    And we are His hands and feet to the world, not to mention His loving arms, and gentle, singing voice. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Yes. There is little glamorous about it. Yet, still, we keep going because (as you said) our God is the best Savior, Healer… always the faithful Bridegroom.

      To Him be the Glory.

  5. Thanks for sharing your heart. I’ve been aware of the needs for some time, having grown up with mission-minded parents who instilled that in me. But my own heart in specific for this has developed slowly throughout the past year. The Lord is calling me to Africa specifically, hopefully for life. I’m going to be helping with vocational training and will hopefully bring back some of their handmade products to sell fair trade in America. It’s a start. My local area has houses for abducted/sex-trafficked girls, because statistically, it is is one of the largest trafficking places outside of Indonesia & West Africa. People literally abduct teen girls from bus stations in Toledo, OH and ‘sell’ them to brothels all over the world. In my backyard! Sadly, though the need is great, I discovered I can’t help at all here, as they specifically look for certified counselors and highly trained house parents to minister to these needs. They do not want any un-professionals. ๐Ÿ™ So this fall, I’m going where I can help, and after that, see if it’s the Lord’s will to continue or maybe even start something myself for African girls/widows. We’ll see what the next thing is! Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Oh, wow. Praying for you as you pursue this adventure, Lauralea! May you know Christ more as you follow. {hugs}

      Natasha

      1. The hometown missionary series on your own blog has been a blessing to me lately as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ {Hugs} to you too!

        1. So glad it has blessed you! I have loved pulling out my old journals and reliving that time period. I really learned so much of who God is, how He works, and His great, great love for His children.

          The girl from this post is one of my “children” from that series! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Thank you for bringing light to this issue! Let us not forget those enslaved on our own continent and in our own country. In the U.S. slavery exists on the skid row and in the mansions of the suburbs! It is sex slavery . . . but also how we get cheap tomatoes from FL and nannies and maids for the rich. Slavery exists here in the States–sex and labor, young and old. Thank you for pointing out the Exodus Road and their work.

    1. Absolutely, Brady. Slavery is definitely in existence here as well. Being aware is of huge importance– and also choosing to purposefully honor each and every person you meet. Acting as the hands and feet of Jesus.

      Blessings,
      Natasha

  7. Natasha,
    Wow. Thank you so much for this. I starting waking up to this awful business of human trafficking about a couple months ago. Ever since, I’ve thought long and hard on what I could do to help. Last night, I was praying for God to give me wisdom and direction for what He wanted me to do about human-trafficking. I’m still not sure what all He has for me, since this is a huge burden on my heart right now. But I’m grateful to read some ways I can start to get involved!
    Could you pray for me as I seek God for direction in this area? I really feel He has called me to do more than just stand and watch this terrible thing go on.

    Thank you and may God bless you! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I will definitely be praying for you, Melinda!
      That the Lord will give you wisdom and boldness and vision.

      Many blessings!
      Natasha

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