Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricanes and Human Trafficking

CC image courtesy of jinterwas on Flickr

The day after Hurricane Irene barreled through my Virginia town, I awoke not knowing what I may find in its wake.  I had already thanked God that a tree had not fallen onto the house the night before.  Part of our roof had leaked throughout the storm, but as news reports of injuries and deaths poured in it became increasingly evident that things could have been much worse.  Opening the door and stepping onto the front porch, I stared grimly.  While the storm responsible for the second largest power outage in our state's history had departed, one look outside proved that Irene had left an “I was here” message on creation.  Walking the perimeter of the yard, I viewed a blanket of tree branches and leaves.  The bushes and trees that had managed to remain intact looked as though they had been in a fight, their once upright branches now draping their arms of bark over waterlogged ground.  My heart sank as I caught a glimpse of flower petals stuck in mud.  My beautiful wildflowers that once stood so tall were thrashed so badly by the wind they now laid defeated on their sides.  I sighed as I noticed that a particular flower once adorned by a radiant headdress of colorful petals now practically appeared bald.  There was no denying it-- Life had definitely taken a beating the night before.

Suddenly my mind flashed to a memory from eight months prior.  In the memory, I was riding in a van with nine other women through the streets of Chiang Mai, Thailand.  We were participating in a mission trip under the umbrella of Zoe Children's Home and were en route back to our hotel after visiting an orphanage outside the city.  It was around 10pm, and we were exhausted from the events of the day. However, as our driver sped along toward our comfortable hotel beds, it soon became evident to us that some individuals were just beginning their day.  From inside our van, my vision fixated on several Asian women walking up and down the sidewalks.  While slender and beautiful, they appeared cheaply decorated to me in slinky tank tops, short skirts, and high heels.  Some looked very young.  In the shadows, I noticed men sitting at cafe tables.  As my brain processed what I was seeing, I heard someone in the van whisper, “Red Light District.”  While I did not want to stare, my spirit would not allow me to ignore what we were passing by.  Tracing their makeup lined faces with my eyes, I wanted to cry out for God's creation in that moment.

If I had not known how tightly human trafficking was woven into the world of prostitution, my heart probably wouldn't have cringed so badly at the sight before me that January night in Thailand.  However, the veil had been lifted from my eyes about two years before, and I was now very aware of the statistics. Let me share some of them with you:  According to the U.S. Department of State, there are an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 children, women, and men trafficked across international borders annually.  Eighty percent are women and girls.  Seventy percent are forced into prostitution.  The typical age of a girl that enters prostitution is between twelve and fourteen.  Thailand is a "source, transit, and destination country for human trafficking."  ( 

Friends, human trafficking is truly creation under assault.

The assault is much like that of a hurricane.  Human life that was intended by God to stand strong and glorify Him is beaten and bruised by torturing winds of cruelty and evil.  Battered physically, mentally, and emotionally, human trafficking victims are much like flowers in a hurricane.  If I was saddened when I saw my lovely wildflowers pushed mercilessly to the ground by a hurricane, how much more must God's heart ache when He sees His most precious creations abused in such a way?  Psalm 34:18 tells us that “the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and He saves those crushed in spirit.” (New International Version)  The Message translation of the scripture right before that (34:17) states, “Is anyone crying out for help?  God is listening, ready to rescue you.”  Friends, as children made in the image of God, our hearts should  be positioned in such a way that they reflect the heart of our heavenly father.  Are we close enough to hear the cry of the brokenhearted?  Listen closely, for their voice is often silent.  Furthermore, will we do our part to save these worthy creations from the destructive gale force winds of evil?

For more information about human trafficking and how you can help, click on the “Blogging for a Cause” page above. Together, we can rescue "wildflowers in a hurricane."

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