The FBI estimates that nearly 293,000 American youths currently are at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Victims are often young, from broken families or orphans. They are taken and sold for forced sex or prostitution. Most are girls, but boys are exploited as well. Money and lust motivate men and women to abuse and exploit children in ways unimaginable.
As we learn about these tragedies the question that haunts us is, what can be done? How can the church help? The Psalmist wrote, “For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight,” (Psalm 72:12-14).
Because of its criminal nature we are slightly limited in what we can do; but limitations aren’t impossibilities. And we know nothing is impossible for God. Here are ways you might get involved.
Pray. The poor, needy, oppressed and orphan are special to the Lord. We can bow before God and ask Him to rescue “the needy when he calls.” Pray for government officials to continue to crack down on these crimes and for the criminals to be found. Pray for families to be healed and children to be protected before a sex-trafficking criminal can reach them. Pray for the salvation of all those involved, that the Gospel would penetrate hearts and break the sinful bondage that entangles them and pour out forgiveness and grace. Pray for healing for the girls and boys who have been rescued, that they would be able to return to society and live healthy, normal, productive lives.
Be informed. Various organizations have produced information to keep you informed and some are developing tools to help you remain active. Some are the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board’s OneLife’s One Woman and One Brothel projects, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission’s resources on human trafficking, the International Justice Mission, the Salvation Army, Sower of Seeds, and Project Red Light Rescue.
Spread the word. Because of the horrific nature of sex trafficking, many of us do not want to face the truth that this could happen right under our noses.
Through prayer, sharing and education we can be active citizens in helping the fight against sex trafficking. We won’t be able to solve the problem in one day, one year, or even five; but by the grace of God we can be the feet of Jesus to a world that is dying and for these young girls and boys who are enslaved in the most inhumane way.
Learn more at Trillia Newbell’s Baptist Press article: CALL TO PRAYER: Modern-day slavery.