Buses 3It’s about that time again. You know the time…. when traffic in the city feels like it’s doubled because you have to encounter Big Yellow everywhere you go.

Who is Big Yellow? Big Yellow is the school bus and he seems to be everywhere and always, somehow, in front of you slowing down your frantic race to your next destination.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s back to school time. For me, a North Carolinian, it seems way to early to be sending children to school. In North Carolina the summer months are June, July and August. They even passed a law that said school systems could not start school back until the Monday closest to August 26th. Sadly, that is not the case in Georgia.

Yesterday, I was privileged to train 67 counselors in a metro Atlanta school system about the issue Busesof sex trafficking and how they may see it happening right before their eyes and not know it. As I shared some of the shocking statistics, I tried to bring it home a little by comparing it to something that was familiar.

The room was deathly quiet as I stated, according to the Justice Department and Shared Hope International, there are 100,000 children trafficked in the United States each year. But what I told them next caused many to gasp.

That is the equivalent of 1,389 school bus loads of children. “

When you connect the statistics to something in a person’s world, they suddenly cease being able to tune it out. Then it becomes real.

It was real for Brianna. It was real for Taylor. It was real for Annie.

These are all stories that I was able to find with a quick Google search for survivors of sex trafficking. I could share many of the stories from survivors I’ve worked with as evidence that this is real. It happens, everywhere. It happens, everyday. As one trafficker I interviewed while writing Rescuing Hope put it,

We may doze, but we never close.”

Louie Giglio was speaking about the atrocity of trafficking at the Passion Conference held in Atlanta in 2012 when he said something that stuck with me. I’m paraphrasing, but it was something like:

We don’t need anymore statistics. Statistics don’t motivate people to take action. Stories do. Stories connect with the heart and that is what launches people into action.

I remember sitting in my office, watching the live stream of the conference saying,

I have stories!”

I had just written Rescuing Hope and was working out the details of getting it published. Since that day, I have looked for opportunities to speak, to share stories, and I will talk with anyone who will listen.

Why? Because Big Yellow needs children to pick up and take to school.

Children should be found in schools, not brothels.

Our children should have the right to be children, to go to school, to complain about cafeteria meals and homework, to laugh and walk safely home from their bus stop. In order for that to happen, we have to step up. We have to get involved. We have to make a difference.

I speak because Proverbs 31:8 says,

Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Many people refer to the victims of sex trafficking as voiceless. I take issue with that statement. They aren’t voiceless. They still have a voice, it’s just been silenced by evil. So we are called to sound the alarm, wake people up, share what it happening to our children. Lives are depending on it.