Why Not Fight Human-Trafficking in the US?

This question encourages me because it acknowledges that trafficking is indeed a (huge, BTW) problem in the US.  It also reveals a false dichotomy (either/or thinking where both/and is possible).  But since it has come up, I would like to explain with 3 answers:

The Simple Answer

I feel “called” to the country of Thailand in general, and the city of Chiang Mai in particular.  That answer may sound arrogant, ridiculous, or perfectly reasonable, depending on your perspective.  But, it’s the simple truth.  I prayed, then I listened.  I had no previous connection to this city or country.  Yet this specific location revealed itself in bizarre and undeniable ways.

The Strategic Answer

I read recently that “the further we are away from a problem, the more simple the solution looks”.  This is certainly true of the incredibly complex problem of human-trafficking.  As tempting as it sounds to suggest “obvious” answers (free the victims, lock up the bad guys), these actions do not address the underlying issues of supply and demand, struggling economies, undocumented minors, poverty, crime, lack of education, and corruption at all levels of business, government, and law enforcement.  Add to these issues increasingly violent pornography, child pornography, and sexual crimes perpetrated by and against younger and younger children.  All of this, to say nothing of deep questions of the heart:  What of justice?  Mercy?  Love?  Hope?

There are no easy answers.  But there are strategies (individual, community, regional, and national) that can make a positive difference.  It begins with asking questions, observing, and searching for truth.  And this process can actually be easier (especially for a novice like me) in Thailand than in the US, for the simple reason that the problem is more “out in the open”.  Trafficking is extremely prevalent in America, but also extremely well-hidden.

I certainly hope that in the future I can use what I learn in Thailand to make an impact on the trafficking problem in the US- whether in awareness, prevention, rescue, prosecution, or restoration.

The Spiritual Answer

One of the most transforming experiences I’ve had in the last 3 years has been working with Syrian refugee families in my hometown in NC.  This is personal, not political.  I don’t know what the best immigration policy is.   But I don’t know how demonstrating compassion for the people who are here (as survivors of a horrific war) can make things worse.  Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Men often hate each other because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each   other because they do not communicate with each other; they do not communicate with each other because they are separated from each other.”

There is indescribable joy in getting face-to-face with someone who is different from me, and trying to connect as human beings.  It reminds us all that we bear the image of the same Creator.  And I can’t think of anyone who needs to be reminded of his/her worth as a child of God than a victim of sexual violence.  There is something powerful about delivering that message in person.

5 thoughts on “Why Not Fight Human-Trafficking in the US?”

  1. I, for one, woukd love to hear the story of the “bizarre and undeniable way.”
    You inspire me to do “more!”

    1. Haha thanks, Darlene- I promise I did not see Jesus in my spaghetti:) But His “voice” did come through unrelated people- the woman sitting across from me at a group luncheon who just got back from a trip to Chiang Mai.. the new musician at church who lived and served and help start an anti-trafficking NGO in Chiang Mai.. the friend who wanted to introduce me to her friend- who has lived for years in Chiang Mai.. My cousin who wanted to tell me all about his love for a remote city he had discovered while living in Korea.. Let me guess. This was all in the span of a few short weeks. And none of these individuals had any idea that God was whispering “Chiang Mai, Thailand” in my spirit. Maybe I’m wrong- it won’t be the first time!- but this is one of those rare moments when I asked for direction, and actually listened for an answer, and it actually came:-)

  2. great answer. Plus, not everyone is willing to go. perhaps your experience will inspire those in the US to do the same right where they are. A phrase I heard long ago was “the light that shines furthest shines brightest at home”. As you bring the love of Jesus and are His hands and feet abroad it brings what is right around us here into greater light too. Excited for you Helen. More excited to consider the impact on so many because of your obedience.

    1. Thank you, Rhonda! You’re right- so many are motivated to do something to fight this problem at home. There are many local organizations doing wonderful work here in the US. One that comes to mind is Shared Hope International. For North Carolina friends, World Relief offers opportunities to battle human trafficking in our backyard. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement and EXAMPLE of joy in obedience.

  3. So glad you are listening to Gods leading! You are a special person that God has created for “such a time as this!” I’ve been reading Isaiah 50:4-end every day now for the last 3 months. There is so much God is saying in those verses. Please read them as you go on this mission with God and know that I am praying for you and love you my friend! ☀️

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