When was the first time you heard the phrase human sex trafficking? Do you remember? For me, it was a little over two years ago. I had just stepped down from working with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and was seeking the next thing the Lord had for me. Then I met Mary Frances Bowley of Wellspring Living and it became abundantly clear what the next thing was for me.
Wellspring Living is a restoration center for young girls who have been forced into the sex trade. It is a place where they can find healing- mind, body and spirit. Mary Frances said the ministry’s biggest weakness was awareness. “People hear the phrase human sex trafficking and they think Thailand. They don’t realize it’s happening right here in our backyard.” The majority of the girls she sees are girls who were born and raised in Georgia, being purchased right here in Georgia. That didn’t sit well with me.
I began researching to learn all I could about the commercial sexual exploitation of children, as those who fight it call it. The more I searched the more outraged I became. I learned the girls taken into the sex trade in Georgia are our daughters, our nieces, and our neighbors. They dream of being teachers, lawyers, labor and delivery nurses, but evil shatters their dreams. Their childhood is stripped from them like a pair of dirty socks. Precious little girls… raped as many as thirty times a night.
Who are the monsters who rape them? Because they have to be monsters to do such things to children, right? They’re more familiar looking than you’d think. The typical customer is your average citizen. That’s why they’re referred to by a very common name….John. Some people named John are offended by this, because it makes the customer sound nice and friendly, almost normal, not the monster he is to his victim. The reality I discovered is he is the man you see in the grocery story, at the football game, or in the church service. He typically has a job and a family; some even have daughters of their own.
I can’t keep what I’ve learned to myself. I can’t stick my head in the sand and hope this evil will go away. I have to share it. Sound the alarm! The thief is coming to steal our children and we’re clueless…. I had been clueless, but no more [John 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8]. What can I do? I’m just one person, but I can share what I know with anyone and everyone who will listen. As a speaker, a writer, a mom, a woman, I can inform others of this heinous crime that is hidden in plain sight. I can partner with organizations like Resolution Hope, Not For Sale, A Future Not A Past, Wellspring Living and countless others to make my voice count for the young girls who aren’t seen or heard [Matthew 25:40]. I can become a Voice for Hope and so can you.
God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called. Hebrews 13:20-21 says, “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing His will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.” He equips and He does the work. All we have to do is come with a willingness to be used by Him [Isaiah 6:8].
William Wilberforce said, “You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.” With knowledge comes responsibility. There are young girls, daughters of the King, being victimized right now. What will you do about? It’s time you rise up and embrace the power of one. You can make a difference. Be their hope. Go to www.resolutionhope.org, www.outofdarkness.org, www.notforsalecampaign.org, www.wellspringliving.org, or www.afuturenotapast.org to find out how you can join the movement and use your voice.