The Auction Block on Our Watch - Sarah Mae
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The Auction Block on Our Watch


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In fifth grade my teacher made the class watch Roots.

And it was that year because of that teacher that I was convinced that any type of injustice because of race, any idea of race superiority, any notion that it was okay to demean another because of the color of their skin, became vile to me.

The very thought of men and women and children being ripped away from their homes and forced, violently, to become slaves, leaves me gutted.

Quite a few years later, at a used bookstore, I stumbled upon The Slave narratives. I was again transported to a world of utter darkness and perversion. Reading the stories of real-life slaves made me hurt deep.

And it made me mad.

I felt angry that such injustice not only existed, but was common place. But of course it was, because deeply embedded in the very soil of our beings is sin, a very nature that opposes God by default. And in opposing God, we are opened to a host of dark things, some which sprout and some which stay buried deep. But they’re there, in all of us. And this epic battle of good and evil that we can’t fully understand is raging, and we’re in the middle of it, trying to live and find hope and not fall too hard. But the fight is on.

The freedom of African slaves was a monumental victory for good. I thank God for the men and women who fought for and secured freedom for the shackled. I thank God for the voices and the movements and the interventions…for the doing instead of just praying or hoping.

Oh God, make me a doer.

But now friends, there is more doing that must be done. 

Right now on our watch little boys and girls are being sold and abused. On our watch.

It’s happening now, and it’s happening to not just a few “unlucky” people. And it’s complicated and hidden and confusing, but the fact is there are millions of slaves in our world, right now.

God, that’s an overwhelming number, isn’t it? I mean, I can’t even wrap my mind around it, and so I just go on about my days and don’t think too much or too hard about it. Because I can’t. It’s far away and I’m here and I’ve got kids and a home and a Bible study to lead and books to write and…

And then I look at my little boy and my little girls and I think how far away is really right here in my arms. I hold my little ones and somewhere some mother isn’t holding her little ones because some pervert is instead.

Oh God. Make me a doer. 

Show me God, what can I do?

Logan introduced me to Laura.

Laura told me her story…

“It’s a story that doesn’t involve a Jason Bourne, Mother Teresa or a superhero. It’s a story, instead, of failure, fear, isolation, and the very, very ordinary.”

Laura told me about living in South East Asia as a missionary with her husband Matt and their small children. And then she told me how a partner in the field told Matt about a suspicious bar that displayed pictures of young girls taped to the back wall under the guise of an orphanage. Laura and Matt called organizations specifically working in counter-trafficking in the area, but they found no one willing or able to go in and check it out.

Finally, two of Matt’s friends said they’d go, if Matt went with them.

“None of them had ever visited a strip club before, none had undercover or military experience. Just three ordinary men – with kids and wives and their favorite football teams.”

They went into a brothel on their first undercover mission.

“…girls stood on stage with numbers pinned on the shoulder straps of their skimpy dresses.”

After processing that mission, Laura and her husband questioned that if the need arose, would they send him out again?

They had this question at the forefront of their minds because they found out that while there are policies set up for victim rescue, there was very little being done to actually find and rescue victims of sexual slavery.

“People like to talk about trafficking, but not a lot of people actually help.” They were told.

But they couldn’t shake the thought, “What if it were our children? Wouldn’t we want someone to figure it out? Wouldn’t we want people to go looking for them?”

They decided he would go out again, that very week.

People told them he shouldn’t go alone, so he would ask others to come, but no one would.

“And we got it, we did. There are a million reasons why upstanding moral men don’t belong in strip clubs. A million. There are marriages, triggers and dangers. There are reputations to protect and pitfalls to avoid. There are entire organizations whose work might crumble if they sanctioned undercover work in brothels.

Yet. Yet.

We couldn’t get passed the idea that maybe there was a noble reason for a good man to frequent a brothel, after all.”

So he went.

“And then the girls entered. A line of ten. They wore short skirts and high heels. Their long, straight hair, dark and beautiful. Each had applied white face powder and fake lashes. China dolls.

‘Would one would you like? You can have two,’ the Mamasan said.

It felt like a slave block…

The auction block with half-naked Africans had morphed into a line-up of barely dressed prostitutes. This was still happening. And it wasn’t 12 million this time, it was 27 million. And this was my generation, my watch

Young boys delivered to pedophiles. The virginities of teenagers sold for a premium. These were the realities that became threads in the fabric of our lives, woven into our everyday. And the more the stories came to light, the more resolved we became to invade the dark.

Rescue needed to be more than a trendy, dramatic word. It needed to become a reality.”

Oh God, make me a doer.

“Friends, we’re on the field and our faces are painted Scottish blue. And William Wallace didn’t yell for his men to keep thinking about fighting for justice, didn’t call them to wait for the answers to come in a convenient time and place. Because vague doesn’t call soldiers from the ridge and onto the battlefield. Waiting doesn’t rescue children in brothels.

Justice is in the hands of the ordinary, and if rescue is going to come on our watch, we need an army of passionate, committed people to bring it.”

Friends, let’s bring it.

Let’s be doers. Let’s help to rescue these boys and girls. We can do this. 

If you want to help, head here to learn more and to donate. You can also follow along as I learn first hand about human trafficking. I’ll be going to SE Asia with The Exodus Road in April. Learn more about that trip HERE.

My husband and I are supporters, and we’re hoping to do more…to go, to do. But for right now, there is this. There is our team. There is rescue on the horizon.

Thank you.

Love, Sarah Mae

All quotes are from the book The Exodus Road by Laura Parker.

UPDATE! I’m going to SE Asia with The Exodus Road this April (2016)! Read all about it HERE!

Search and Rescue FAQ here.

Read about Exodus Road in the news.

Follow The Exodus Road on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Credit: Slave Auction

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  • http://anitadavissullivan.com/ Anita Davis Sullivan

    I’m so glad to have found you. This exact thing is a passion of mine- fighting for rights that so few even seem to realize is still a need. My brother has been missing for 6 years, and though it isn’t believed it’s slave trade related, in the community of missing persons, right here in the U.S., there are many where that is the case. I’ve volunteered locally for an organization that supports former sex trade workers and closely follow the work of others- keep up the good work.

    Anita
    http://anitadavissullivan.com

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Oh Anita, I’m so sorry about your brother. Thank you for getting your feet dirty and going, and doing.

  • Shannon

    Love, love, love this. Thanks so much for using your gifts to bring rescue. I posted on this a few months ago (http://copperlightwood.blogspot.com/2013/03/an-interruption-in-our-regularly.html) and am so encouraged to see a rising tide of awareness and action to bring an end to sex trafficking. Bless you, friend.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Thank you, Shannon. I hope we can bring more rescues.

  • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com/ Laura Parker

    Sarah, We truly can’t thank you enough. Thanks for bravely stepping into this– for using your voice and your passion to speak on behalf of those who can’t speak for themselves. I’m so excited about where God is going to take this journey . .. .

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Laura, I’m praying and hoping we can raise the money to support Bravo. I’m praying for movement. Thank you for letting us be a part of the great work you’re doing.

  • Mary Kaniewski

    I signed up and put Bravo Team, but forgot to put Sarah Mae. Hope that doesn’t mess things up too much! If there’s a way I can add it, please let me know. Anyway, thank you for letting me know of this organization! I feel so helpless knowing 27 million is a huge number, but this is a way to help some.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, from all of me, thank you. And don’t worry about it, it’s fine!

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com/ Laura Parker

      Mary– This is Laura Parker- and I will mark your name for Sarah Mae! Thanks so much for your investment into freedom!

      • Mary Kaniewski

        Wonderful, thank you!

  • Barbara Collins @Madreminutes

    O Sarah Mae, I commend you and your efforts. I will do what I can. Thank you for being a light for these children, people and countries. My daughter witnessed first hand the sex trafficking going on in Thailand. I do have a question. Do these kids ever join back up with their parents? Many families are threatened or promised money so I wonder if the child gets put back with family are they discovered and get sold again? Also what are those parents doing if anything to try and find their children? I feel like sometimes they are in as much of a trap as the kids. I applaud your efforts and will pray for God’s mercy and protection for the Bravo team and the Exodus Road.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com/ Laura Parker

      Barbara,

      Laura Parker here. Thanks for your valid questions. You are right in that many times parents are the ones selling their children . . . poverty and a culture acceptance of this makes this occurrence something that is common unfortunately. In these cases, if possible, we place the victims into quality after-care facilities and prayerfully provide education/job training. Also, many times victims are not accepted back into their families/villages because of the shame they experience which makes them “unacceptable” back home anyway.

      Having said that, there are also occasions when parents and victims are tricked. They think the girl is going to get a job as a nanny or worker in another job, when in reality they are forced to work in bars. In these situations, the parents typically don’t know about the reality and usually don’t have the financial means to do anything about it.

      All around, it’s a horrible reality.

      Thanks for asking and for your concern for the oppressed. And thanks for your prayers and encouragement.

  • Angi

    I’m going to share this with my husband when he gets home tonight. Thanks for sharing something we can actually do. Last month we were made aware of a film being made called http://www.8daysfilm.org, it’s about this topic. My son (17) is as aspiring actor whose desire is to make a movies that impact our culture for good and he’ll be an extra in this film. I’m excited to go with him and see what practical things are suggested to do. While I know this happens, I’ve never really known what I could do to help stop it. Thanks so much!

  • Karen Hendley

    There are days when I come across a blog post that just stops me in my tracks. Today was one of those days and your post was one of those posts. Often, I feel helpless sitting here at home safe while horrible atrocities are taking place on the other side of the world. So happy to help with this brave, brave movement.

  • http://www.asimplehaven.com/ Jenn at a Simple Haven

    This post stirred up things in me that have been dormant for too long. So grateful you shared.

    Planning to link to this and to the Exodus donation page next week when I post about a biography of Amy Carmichael. Learning about her work in India was my first exposure to the horrors of child prostitution.

    It’s so easy to be overwhelmed and paralyzed by great needs; thanks for sharing one way to do something now.

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com/ Laura Parker

      Jenn, Laura Parker here. Amy Carmichael was hugely influential in my own journey– both as a teenager and as an adult. I totally see the comparisons, especially as some of the children abused in both SE Asia and India are by religious leaders. Thanks for sharing this story.

      • http://www.asimplehaven.com/ Jenn at a Simple Haven

        The more I mention Amy Carmichael, the more I hear how much she’s influenced other lives.

        Just checked out your blog & subscribed. Going to show my husband that video. Love your family’s example of faith and perseverance.

  • Beth w

    Wow! What a story and a testimony! You and your friends are true Christians in every sense of the Word.
    This is a topic I was unaware of. Did not realize how much devastation there was out there for these children.
    Prayers for everyone!

  • Becky

    Sarah Mae, is there a way to have it automatically debit my bank account at the beginning of each month? Because if it’s left up to me to remember each month, I’ll forget. But on the donation form you linked to, I didn’t see any way to do that. I’d love to be a part of this!

    • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com/ Laura Parker

      Becky,

      Hi there, this is Laura Parker and I work with The Exodus Road. YES! You can make automatic payments via paypal or on the form itself. Simply click on the “Payment Frequency” dropdown and select monthly. Thanks for your heart to help bring rescue! Let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks, Becky!

      • Becky

        Hi, Laura!

        Thanks, I wasn’t sure if that would make it automatic or not. Now that I’ve got that, does it matter what address I put in? I live in a different country, but my billing address is in the US. Would you guys want my billing address or my actual address?

        ~becky

        • http://www.lauraparkerblog.com/ Laura Parker

          Hmmm . . . Go ahead and put in mailing address if Paypal will take it. That way, we’ll have the address where we should send your welcome packet and team info. 🙂 Thanks, Becky!

  • Brandi Goff McElheny

    Thank you for supporting team bravo! I have known them for years and just visited India in April and went on investigations with them…. Let me know if I can help you with any stories that might help you raise money!

  • Tara

    Just signed up and prepaid for a year of Bravo Team!! Also supporting Charlie team! Can’t wait to see what they do in the US! Thanks for letting us know about this organization! Blessings to you!

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