Monday, May 21, 2012

Trafficking

Human trafficking.

I started learning about human trafficking in my undergraduate degree at Taylor University. I was more interested in the political upheaval and deprivation that occurs in Burma (which has been occurring for years but seems to be "forgotten news"). Out of that study came a passion to increase my knowledge and resources regarding human trafficking...what it is, where does it occur, who does it impact, etc.

The answer: everywhere and everyone.

Human trafficking takes many forms. Sometimes people are not moved but they are still trafficked in their own communities to perform tasks without their consent. It is deep, prevalent throughout our own communities, and it is heart breaking.

However, people are making positive differences!

My small group from Ada Bible wanted to serve our community in some way, and with God's prompting/member's obedience (whom I'm incredibly grateful for), we decided to host the Traffick Stop 5k. The purpose is to spread awareness, and as a bonus, all proceeds go to Women At Risk, International. They are a local Grand Rapids organization fighting this modern-day slavery.

There are a few more agencies that have popped up as people are realizing this crime is real, it's here, and as fellow human beings we cannot just sit back and pretend it's not happening! The Manasseh Project from Wedgewood and the Hope Project are a few examples in the West Michigan. (Check out the Resources tab at our website for more info: www.traffickstop5k.com).

A member of my small group just shared this article with me. Michigan also has a task force to fight human trafficking. (I heard an FBI agent who is on the task force, as well as a few others, speak at GVSU last year as I finished up my MSW). Change is slowly being made, but the first step is by sharing with others that this really does happen...and that we have a unique opportunity to provide support and hope!

It is so easy for me to become wrapped up in my own work, to do list, and leisure time...but God is calling me to look beyond myself (and man, do I need lots of reminders). What if that was me being prostituted? These women, children and men did not choose that life, and I have the responsibility to do something about it.

And maybe the issue of human trafficking is not where you feel led to serve/make a difference. But I encourage each of you to find that passion of yours (i.e. cancer, MS, children with skin diseases, elderly, etc.) and run with it. I pray the Lord bless you in your efforts, and His name be praised through it all!

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