Are you in it to end it? What am I talking about? Today is Shine A Light on Slavery Day. Lots of people wrote large red X’s on the backs of their hands and tweeted pictures of said X’s to show their support of ending slavery worldwide. (You can learn more about it all at http://www.enditmovement.com)
What can putting a red X on your hand do to end slavery? In and of itself, nothing. But talking about slavery can get people to thinking about slavery, and talking about ending slavery can motivate some people to do something significant to end modern day slavery.
That’s what happened to a friend of mine. Several years ago, my friend, Debbie learned about the 27 Million people enslaved in the world today. She learned that most of those people are young women, of which, many enter the sex slave/sex trafficking industry at just 13 years old. The overwhelming majority of those who end up in this predicament had no idea they were headed down that road. They answered an ad promising work, or they wanted to be a dancer, actress or some other glamorous sounding job, and listened to people who only wanted to use them and make money off of forcing them into the sex trade industry.
Debbie learned that most of these victims live elsewhere in places like Greece and Russia. But she was surprised at just how many are living and being forced to work in her own backyard. In her own city of Charlotte, North Carolina.
So Debbie did what most of us won’t. Debbie decided to do something. She was one woman. A wife. A mother. But she joined with a few others who wanted to be in it to end it, and Compassion to Act was born. (www.compassiontoact.org) CTA is a growing ministry in Charlotte, North Carolina that is fighting the battle against modern day slavery. And guess what? They are winning. I am so proud of my friend. She’s been on CNN, she is in contact with local and federal law enforcement (I’m talking FBI here), she speaks to local churches and businesses and informs them about this problem, and she has managed to raise enough support to have a house where rescued victims can live, recover, find healing and safety. Volunteers from CTA visit strip clubs and minister to the women working there. It is so unreal to me. I am so proud of her.
So maybe you won’t start a ministry like CTA, or like the Wellhouse here in Birmingham. (www.thewellhouse.org) But we can still help. My friend Debbie says that when they go to the strip clubs they see the cars parked outside, of course. What do they see inside these cars? Car seats. Diaper bags. The men inside are family men. It’s time we start holding the men who frequent these places accountable. It needs to become unacceptable in our society for men, married or not, to patronize these establishments. It needs to be taboo. Its not okay.
It’s time we open our eyes to this problem. There are more slaves on the earth today than ever before in history. We are outraged at the slavery we know about in our history as a country. So then, how can we turn a blind eye to it today? Inform yourself, then inform everyone you know. It has to be over. It must end. Be in it to end it.