This is not a 50 Shades of Grey bashing post! I am going to make the jump from non-consensual abusive relationships to sex slavery. If you can’t make that connection, you may want to stop reading. If we don’t agree, I can live with that. Human trafficking can start with consenting parties before turning to a very dark place.
Do you know that the Tampa/Orlando area is considered the 5th highest area in the nation for sex-trafficking? It’s happening in our backyards. This is an issue that I have learned more about by being apart of Team Freedom – a joint venture of the Joy FM listening family in partnership with Hope for Justice to increase awareness, rescue women, men and children and to restore them. Don’t believe it happens here?… check out Kathy’s Story. She is a woman who endured physically abusive relationships, being sold, etc, etc. God has rescued and restored her spirit. Have your tissues ready!
Many of you responded to my post and wanted to know to get involved with supporting efforts to make people aware about human trafficking and sex-slavery that happens in our backyards.
So I wanted to give you a few short term ways and a few longer term ways!
Support business that donate to human trafficking or support organizations directly with your resources!
- Saving Grace – Unique jewelry that donates a portion of their proceeds to human trafficking. In additional a lot of their pieces would be wonderful gifts for daughters, nieces, cousins, sisters, etc to remember who precious and valuable to God they are!
- Hope for Justice – an organization that identifies, rescues and provides restorative care to victims. Natalie Grant, who you will see on their home page, is the one of the co-founders has such a heart for women and children who find themselves caught in this atrocity. I heard her speak last year during my first exposure to Team Freedom and Hope for Justice.
- Zoe’s Journey – in our own backyard (Lakeland). This organization targets women who have been incarcerated and assisting them in returning to a healthy lifestyle. These women have in most cases been incarcerated due to bad decisions made because of a relationship. Teaching them what love really looks like is their mission.
Promote healthy relationships with your children and spouse:
- The new movie, Old Fashioned, is a story of courtship, respect and a love that grows from relationship. Go see it. Talk about it with your kids. David and I will be seeing it this weekend – you can expect a review!
- Talk to your daughters – do they know they are more valuable than being treated in any manner less than a princess? Teach them not to settle. Teach them that the ‘love’ that is presented in
- Talk/Walk with your sons – dads, talk with your sons about how to treat a woman. Then walk that out on a daily basis. Be intentional and overt about your love, respect and admiration for your wife.
- Get involved. I will be honest with you and say that this scares me the most. I have contacted my church that has a ministry called Awaken to get more information and figure out how to be involved. My understanding is that they target “At-Risk” young girls and women before they are drawn in to the dark world of trafficking. Example, runaways are approached within 24-48 of running away by someone who wants to traffic them. It may be initially in a seemingly innocent “come stay somewhere warm” manner, but leads to a much darker place.
- Pray. Although there are moments that this doesn’t feel like it is enough – God honors and hears our prayers. If we as flawed human beings can be angered by the injustice of human trafficking, how much more does it matter to God. These women, men and children are his precious creation! He wants only good things for them.
- Tell others! I have been rather shy in this, but that day is over. Ask if they have every heard of human trafficking. Speaking with friends about the harmful message of 50 Shades in regards to the impact on those we love. The story of a young girl being owned and controlled in such a manner that she expects love in return – please! That’s not love! Yes, the end of the third book brings the story around to a unrealistic fairy tale ending, but that isn’t reality.
- Join me with Team Freedom next year! Every year in October, the fundraising starts! Every dime goes to Hope for Justice, mentioned above. I held a Virtual Run to encourage the running community to put their feet to good use (the medals are my way of saying thank you and do not come out of the donation made to Hope for Justice). You can be apart of my virtual race or we can work as a team and fundraise together!
Want to donate and be apart next weekend?! Check out how: Team Freedom Virtual Run (ignore the deadlines!)
Stepping off my soap box – please know that I am not perfect in any of these areas and that God is still working on my heart to become more sensitive to the junk that we let sneak into our lives. My only hope in sharing all of this with you is that it will challenge you in the same way that I have been challenged over the last few weeks leading up to the release of a movie that I originally intended to see!