I’m really not one for 5-step plans, or any plans. I like the freedom to dream and the room to change it up and create new things.
That said, I still have 5 ideas for eradicating sexual exploitation in your own community. They are based out of my finding as I’ve researched trafficking across the globe. They are pretty simple and I believe will begin to revolutionize the world if put into practice.
So, especially if the idea of sex slavery freaks you out, shuts you down, or puts you out, here are some tips on creating change from the root up.
- Know Your Neighbors
Yes, even the “crazy cat lady” and the “work-a-holic” dad with 5 “bratty” kids. When it seems that the biggest sickness affecting our society today is loneliness, and loneliness breeds wounds and brokenness because I truly believe isolation is the enemy’s best trick. Alone we have only ourselves to fight the lies, there’s no support from others.
Also, knowing your neighbors will give you a better feel for the environment you are in. What is going on there? This is not a call to spy on your neighbors, or to overwhelm yourself with get-togethers. Seriously, I’m an introvert and the last thing I am going to do is host twenty parties to get a feel for the populace. What I mean by knowing your neighbors is to actually get to know people, open yourself up to smile at the cashier, accept invitations, put yourself out there. Often we go to work, drive home, and crash without interacting much with anyone. It’s simply more fulfilling for everyone to know and accept people and it will help you learn to love well, I believe, which is also on this list.
- Mentor Kids
Those five bratty kids really need love and attention. In fact, in all of my work in schools, it is always the kids deemed “most annoying” or “problem kids” that have the hardest time at home and need the most love. There are healthy ways to love these kids well. If you are an emotionally stable human being and want to raise up kids to be healthier, love well, and honor themselves and others, it is a great idea to be involved in their lives. One great way to do this is to mentor a kid, or even tutor kids.
It is honestly so simple. It is literally as simple as asking a kid how their day was, and listening to them. Giving kids opportunities to share their life and be cared for is so drastically life altering for them developmentally.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to value the life of every child, including ones you think are already far-gone, and maybe especially those kids. These are future adults and future (and arguably, current) world and life changing souls. I implore you to not ignore their voices, because you will find that they are not so small at all.
- Honor Women
Honestly, I will stay off of my major soap box and simply state that once you open your eyes to it, the objectification of women and their bodies is quite rampant and appalling. No wonder there are so many issues with sexual exploitation! So much of it stems from the idea that women are objects and worthless unless they can give their body to you. And men are objectified by the societal belief that they don’t also need connection and relationship. As pure and beautiful a thing as a woman’s body and truly her soul are torn apart in the pursuit of selfish fulfillment of our own brokenness. The soul of a woman is often detached from her body in our minds because we have all (women and men, and children) been taught through so many various (an often undetected) mediums that we can only offer ourselves with our body, and men only want us until they don’t.
This is not okay! This is not okay. And I know I am not God by any stretch, but I know God and know He hates what has happened to you. I know it because I know He hates darkness and how much more close will He be to the brokenhearted! He is close to you even when He seems far. So women, you are worth MUCH more than your body, don’t believe anyone who tries to trick you into knowing differently. Men, be MEN who truly honor women and teach boys to do the same. Erase the words “shame” and “guilt” from your lips. God came to free you not to beat you into submission. Love out of your freedom and purity.
- Truly Learn to Love Well
It can be really difficult to love well when you have been deeply wounded. A lot, if not all, of our wounds are a manifestation of our brokenness. But hear me when I say, you are deeply and greatly loved. You have been pursued all along to the depths of whatever hells you’ve experienced and God is weaving redemption through and through. Loving well starts with recognizing the love that is engulfing you, that you may not yet feel or recognize for awhile. It starts with healing in your own heart and then pouring that healing and freeing love out on others, irrationally and wildly pursuing love in the face of all evils.
Because the passion of God laughs at the terrors of hell. He will not be moved to give up on you or remove His love because God exists as LOVE. It is the only thing and it is everything. It covers all things. So, learn to rest in God’s love and it will be impossible to not share it. Love is pure, kind, not self-seeking. Love is the game-changer toward freedom.
- Educate Yourself on Your Community
You live in a community that you view with your own eyes and perceptions. Maybe you have lived where you are your whole life, or maybe you move a lot. I know a few people like that. Either way, each community is different and grows differently. Each community’s issue with sexual exploitation is similar but also different.
In order to eradicate sexual exploitation and slavery in your own community you need to understand what it looks like. There are various ways to do this. First, what does sex trafficking/exploitation look like where you are? Are there strip clubs, massage parlors, brothels? Is yours a tourist town, does it have interstates, military, a port? Educate yourself on the broad view of sex trafficking as a whole, who it affects and what it looks like. Then, find out what people are doing about it. Does your town or city have NGOs working against this issue? If so, can you volunteer? What are they doing? Can you sit down with them and learn from them? If no one is doing anything and you cannot find any issue of sexual exploitation near you, try to locate a task force in your area, and ask questions. Find out a hotline number you can call once you know what to look for, that way you can call in tips when you spot a potential trafficking situation.
Prevention is key! So, educate yourself on your community. Something as simple as taking 5 minutes to call a tip in to the hotline can mean freedom for someone.
I don’t write these steps to give anyone an “out” to avoid the topic of sex trafficking. I just know that not everyone wants to or should go directly into the front lines. I also wanted to highlight how important these simple life choices can be. I know it can be overwhelming to hear statistics about the horrors of sex trafficking, so much so that it will shut you down. That’s really okay to initially have that response, because I think it is natural for us to become overwhelmed with the enormity of the sadness. It’s okay to be sad and angry and overwhelmed by it. But please know you don’t need to reside there because this is also HOPE-FILLED. There is so much life happening and so much bondage coming undone. This is something God has already claimed VICTORY over, and we are simply letting the world know (and letting ourselves know) YOU ARE FREE! You don’t have to live under this oppression, because you are loved and pure and clean. God is pursuing you. You can live fully again and for the first time.
It’s simple really. In all of the chaos of the darkness, it doesn’t overwhelm us because we carry light and that light permeates every single thing. So, whatever you do, have done, wherever you are, this is your task: seek Love in all things. Forgive and be free.