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?
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.
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.
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.
Photo Credit: Slave Auction
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