Last year, in a city seven miles from my front door, 24 arrests were made in an anti-trafficking undercover police operation. Among them were 15 men who were arrested for soliciting undercover officers for sex. “Nine female sex workers were detained and offered victim services from the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking and other service providers,” according to the Daily Bulletin.
Only a few months prior to this, in the same city, a man and a woman were arrested on suspicion of sex trafficking when a 21-year old woman flagged police and recounted to them her story: she had been kidnapped from her home in Oklahoma and taken to Georgia by a man who eventually sold her to the accused man and woman in California. The pair took the victim’s credit cards and identification and forced her into sex labor. Among other tactics, they used threat of violence to control her.
Stories like these are similar to the stories of over 7,000 other victims of human trafficking in the United States last year. In California alone, 1,323 cases of human trafficking were reported. Due to the depths of psychological manipulation involved in human trafficking, it is impossible to say how many other cases were unreported. Many victims are reluctant to seek help because of the real or perceived ramifications from their pimps. They are trapped in modern-day slavery.
Slavery has existed in our world since the days of Moses and each generation since has had to decide how to respond. In “A Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right."
Sex slavery is happening here, in our neighboring cities and even on our own streets. Only a couple of months ago, Reuters reported that, “Police arrested 474 people and freed victims in and around cities from Los Angeles to San Diego and Santa Barbara in state-wide raids over three days” in a crackdown on human trafficking. “Police said they had rescued 28 children…and also 27 adults who had been coerced into prostitution.” Trafficking is not something that is happening over there; it is happening right here and we need to respond.
The time is always ripe to do right. What if you exist in this place for such a time as this? What if you could help bring thousands of victims out of oppression? Maybe you feel like just an ordinary person who can’t change the world, but history books are filled with pages of men and women who believed in basic human rights and stood up for change. Don’t just stand by in silence. Partner with Redeeming Love. Click here to find out how you can change this world and set the captives free. Also, see 5 Things Everyone Can Do To Fight Human Trafficking to find out what you can start doing today.