Publication: One-to-One, Summer 2012
Mother Teresa once said, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” Considering the amount of pain that exists in the world, I’ve been wondering lately if we’re loving enough. There is a great darkness that is moving in the world causing untold amounts of pain—sexual trafficking and slavery.
According to the book Girls Like Us by Rachel Lloyd, the average “prostitute” in America is brought into the business from 12-14, and there are possibly 600,000 girls being trafficked in the USA.
Nigerian women have been found who were brought to local witch doctors before they were shipped like cattle to Italy and other parts of Europe. The witch doctors placed a curse on them so that they would be too frightened to run away from their abusers.
Last year, I was studying in Italy for a few months. During my stay, I did mission work at a women’s shelter operated by the nuns of Mother Teresa’s order, the Missionaries of Charity. The women and girls there were from all walks of life—some were Italian, some were not; some were sane, some were not; and some were abused, only a few were not. Since my mission time there, I’ve been inspired to act. I’ve realized that as Christians—as human beings—we have a responsibility to stop these atrocities.
And remember, it’s not just girls who are trafficked. In Afghanistan, they have what’s known as “dancing boys”. The crimes committed against these little boys are also very horrific. Often, the boys who are abused grow up to become abusers. However, information without action is pointless.
One thing you can do that can radically change our culture is to stop using the word “prostitute”. While there are some women who get into the life of their own volition, there are many who do not; and even for the ones who do make the choice, many times there are difficult circumstances surrounding that choice. But for any girl under the age of 18, the word “prostitute” is not an acceptable description. They are slaves.
The word “prostitute” can seem to take the actual victimhood away from these girls. This is not some silly Pretty Woman film scenario. There are so many preconceived notions concerning women and sex crimes that we have to change the language for some people to even recognize that a crime has been committed. It’s the sad truth.
Another thing you can do is research who’s making your clothing, your shoes, and your household products. There are many places in the world where slave labor is still used in factories. Many times in the factories, women are sexually abused and no one reports it. In fact, when inspectors come into the factories from the companies that have outsourced their labor, the workers are told how to lie about their treatment.
Finally, you can learn about organizations that are out in the field and support them with prayer, donations, or volunteering. CSM and International Outreach Ministries have extensive connections with organizations that are on the front lines across the world. We have more extensive links and information at our Stop Human Trafficking page or at International Outreach Ministries. Another amazing and effective ministry is Born2Fly International.
I am currently in prayer as to what my next step should be personally. Everyone has a cause that burdens their heart—this is mine. I am here to love and serve until it hurts, so that they won’t hurt, and instead know love. I think that principle can be applied to everyone’s life, though, even if this isn’t the cause that weighs on your heart. Love isn’t just something that you feel. It’s something that you do—Christ showed us that.
VICTORIA GRACE SIMPSON recently earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in International Studies with a Minor in Professional Writing from Spring Hill College. She also earned her certification to teach English as a Second Language in Italy.