It has been a hard couple of weeks. In early November I went to a 2 day conference on human trafficking and I am still feeling the effects.
Public Safety Canada defines human trafficking as “the recruitment, transportation, harboring and/or exercising control, direction or influence over the movements of a person in order to exploit that person, typically through sexual exploitation or forced labor. It is often described as a modern form of slavery.”
I know most of us think of human trafficking as something that happens in poverty stricken nations on the other side of the globe. Or we confuse human trafficking with human smuggling which is a form of illegal migration (once they get to this country they may be subject to human trafficking).
Domestic human trafficking occurs daily right under our noses. Affecting people of all ages. In this country, the vast majority (93%) of human trafficking victims being female children, teenagers and adults exploited for sex.
I could talk more about human trafficking but you can follow the links at the bottom (Resources)
I was one of two men in the audience. The other twenty-two attendees were women. I was not only acutely aware of my identity as a man in the audience but by the second day, for the first time in my life, I felt horrible being male. I saw men as sexual deviants and predators. Men as the primary perpetrator of sexual exploitation – sellers, buyers, and renters of female human commodity.
A female police detective told us about posing undercover as a prostitute and encountering men from all walks of life. You name it, she said, and they approached her with cash in hand. Well-educated professionals, respected members of the community and even clergymen.
I believe in Jesus Christ. He is my teacher and my mentor. I believe and follow His teachings of love, peace, understanding, kindness, mercy, grace, truth, forgiveness, hope, and freedom. Who taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to love our enemies.
Well, what happens when we come face to face with the enemy and he is us? When we face the horror of humanity in our own backyard? Evil personified. What do we do and how do we deal with it?
I went to bed after the first day of the conference and lay in fear. Terror stricken that I would have nightmares not only that night but a haunting for the rest of my life. I prayed like I never prayed before. I prayed to God to give me peace, comfort and rest. I told Him I was afraid to close my eyes lest the enemy creep into my sleep and taunt me.
Laugh his ugly laugh and say, “See? This is what people are really like. You men are the worst of course. There is no hope for any of you. Ever. Where is your God now?”
That night God comforted me and I had a peaceful sleep. In my dreams I found myself on my hands and knees picking up pearls and handing them to a woman whose pearl necklace had accidentally fallen to the ground and broke apart. On my knees handing her one beautiful, white, perfect pearl at a time.
Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:6)
I told my friend about the dream and she thought the victims, without intending to, have dropped their pearls before pigs. Their pearls – self-worth, love, identity – have been trampled by pigs. Righteous men will help restore those pearls back to them, she explained.
I know there is evil in the world. It is cruel, merciless, unforgiving, and takes great pleasure at seeing widespread pain, suffering, destruction, and death. But I know there is an answer. Christ’s love, hope and freedom for human trafficking victims who are trapped in hell on earth. As Christians we cannot and must not sit idly by and do nothing. For doing nothing means shrugging our shoulders at evil and freely accepting the brutal injustice and sexual exploitation of the most vulnerable members of our society.
In our community we are forming a committee on human trafficking. It is a small step but we hope it will lead to much greater awareness in combating this horrific crime.
Have you ever encountered evil in your life? What did you do? How did you react? Let me know.
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Copyright © 2016 L.M. Patrick, British Columbia, Canada