(A Journey of a Leap of Faith)
I have often been asked if I find it defeating to work for a cause (primarily made up of non-profits) to fight the enormous multi billion dollar industry of human trafficking.
The answer is “sometimes”. Not always and not often but sometimes.
Sometimes the issue of human trafficking is so horrifying in its scope it’s hard to keep the faith and see success, especially when Congress chooses to let Safe Harbor Laws (laws that define sexually exploited children as victims of abuse instead of criminals, helps them find protection and support, and grants them immunity from prosecution for prostitution) and the Violence Against Women Act lapse. It can feel like just when it seems awareness and education is taking place and progress being made, a giant step backwards happens… at a federal level.
However, I have learned focusing on the scope isn’t always beneficial. There are many things that when you stop to think of the whole picture/ the end result you’d never have the energy or the courage to take that first step. It really comes down to putting one foot in front of the other. To think of the one person you are working for instead of the 100,000 children estimated to be in the sex trade in the United States each year because reaching that one person (one after another) is way more attainable than focusing on saving all 100,000 at once.
This past December I had the honor of attending and speaking at The Sold Project’s End of Year Event (it was super fun to spend time with Rachel, the President of SOLD, in the USA for the first time).
We talked about a recent issue that took place with some of our students in Thailand. Some of SOLD’s students were being solicited and “courted” (buying their friendship and if you will, their silence and obedience by giving poor girls cellphones and gifts) by a woman who works at an escort service in Chiang Rai. One of our kids made the brave and scary choice to tell SOLD and her parents what was happening and ask for help.
Was it frightening to remember how real the exploitation these children face is? Yes. Was it disheartening to learn some of the girls were still communicating with this woman? Yes. Did it make me sick to know one of our girls, one SOLDs first students, went along with this for awhile? Yes. Was this a testament to the importance of SOLD that this girl asked SOLD for help? Yes. Yes, only one asked for help but help she received. In asking for help and notifying SOLD what was happening, SOLD was able to notify officials about what this woman was doing and, hopefully, preventing her from being able to contact vulnerable village schoolchildren.
As Rachel wrote ” [Like Mother Teresa said] If you can’t feed 100 people, then feed just the one. Or, for The SOLD Project, if you can’t prevent all 60,000 (# of estimated children in Thailand’s sex trade), then prevent just one.”
January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. You do have the power to help the one. Will you?
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil
Is that good men and women do nothing.”