This question jumbled in my mind as I drove my red Zip car over the bridge to attend the Bay Area Freedom Summit, where I was an exhibitor for my art ministry Gifts of His Glory and She is Safe. It was my first summit on human trafficking and I was not sure of what to expect. I hoped to sell some art, as I give 50% of each sale to She Is Safe, to rescue orphans in China who have lost their parents from AIDS and are in danger of being trafficked and sold in child marriage. I also hoped to have some divine appointments. (meetings arranged by the Lord’s hand).
As I set up my booth, other friendly exhibitors came and introduced themselves. I was surprised and happy to see that many safe houses for victims of human trafficking were being established in the Bay Area, such as Freedom House, and in other parts of the state.
The Expo soon opened and people came up to my booth interested in the art and large banner of a chubby-cheeked Chinese girl advertising the China Aids Orphans project. I shared with those stopping by how I had come to be an advocate by reading the book Forgotten Girls by President of She Is Safe, Michele Rickett and my author friend Kay Marshall Strom. The book shares the stories of girls and women around the world who are rebuilding their lives after abuse and exploitation.
The book has sections on steps you can take to stop exploitation, one being to dedicate your craft to benefit an organization involved in stopping trafficking. After reading the horrors of what happens to these girls and women especially in sexual slavery, I prayed and felt the Lord’s direction to dedicate my art to this cause. Another suggestion from the book was to hold a booth at a conference such as the Freedom Summit, and here I was now doing that very thing!
Soon it was time for the general conference. I was struck by the stories how ordinary people became heroes as they took steps of faith to start organizations to help stop trafficking. I listened with compassion to women who shared their survivor stories of how they had been miraculously rescued from sexual slavery and how God was using their witness to help save others. I gasped in horror as I heard how little seven year old girls in India are strapped to a table and gang raped until they die. I cheered as the Department of Defense is now making it a punishable offense for any US soldier to frequent a prostitute or sexual slave.
The Scripture verse for the conference was from Psalm 10:8-9 depicting slavery:
He lies in wait near the villages;
from ambush he murders the innocent.
His eyes watch in secret for his victims;
like a lion in cover he lies in wait.
He lies in wait to catch the helpless;
he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
The theme of the conference was what you can do in 10 minutes,10 days and 10 months to stop trafficking. You might now be asking, Miriam, what can I do in these time frames? Well, here’s what you CAN do…
Put the national hotline for human trafficking on you cell phone 1-888-3737-888 right now as you read this blog! You can report any tip of suspicious activity or pass the hotline number along to someone you suspect might be a slave and help them get rescued. Who could be a slave? A nanny or domestic in your neighborhood, a restaurant worker at your favorite restaurant, that young girl visiting truckers at a truck stop, a carnival worker, or the women standing on a street corner as you drive by. They are all over. Over 3000 people trapped in slavery have called this hotline to ask for help alone. You can also call to connect with anti-trafficking services in your area or to request resources or training.
Purchase a biblical Scripture painting from my website giftsofhisglory.com.
(or by clicking on ‘my art’ above). 50% of each sale goes to the China AIDS orphan project. Bless yourself or gift others in your life with an original piece of art embossed with Scripture. It’s easy and safe to shop online and I ship worldwide!
Join a She Is Safe advocacy group to participate in fundraising and prayer to rescue and restore girls and women in the hardest places like China and India. Contact info@SheIsSafe.org to find one in your local area. If you live in the Bay Area, I am hosting one in my home in San Carlos on a monthly basis where we will also be studying the books Forgotten Girls and Daughters of Hope. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purchase and consume only Fair Trade Products that are made with no enslaved labor. To my dismay I discovered chocolate was. And coffee. And clothing. Find ratings on products and brands you buy at free2work.org. Discover how many slaves work for you and what you can do about it at slaveryfootprint.org.
Visit or Invite The SOLD Project, an interactive exhibit on human trafficking run by the International Justice Mission, to your church, organization or event. This exhibit was held at the Freedom Summit and had a powerful, heart breaking effect on me as I spent 40 minutes walking through each room and listening by audio to the testimonies of slaves around the globe, particularly children. I recommend this for every person and parent to see. It is currently traveling around the country. Visit www.thesoldproject.com
Free one girl and help her to build a new life at $365 through SheIsSafe.org.
Attend a conference in your area on human trafficking and become educated. Get involved in one project in one part of the world. Just start somewhere.
Once back in my booth, I was blessed to do my first radio interview with KLOVE, the local Christian radio station. What fun I had sharing my story and getting a plug in for my prepublished bookas well! A videographer approached my booth and filmed me for a documentary on how high school and college students could use their gifts and talents to help stop trafficking. WOW! My art work was admired, many people took my business card and I sold some paintings, all in all, an educational yet saddening experience.
What the Lord most impressed on my heart during this conference was that I, too, was a survivor of sexual abuse and while I didn’t have a voice back then as a child, I now was able to be a voice for those trapped in sexual slavery today. A voice for the voiceless. What a gift. I have come full circle in my healing.
But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted;
you consider their grief and take it in hand.
The victims commit themselves to you;
you are the helper of the fatherless.
If you are a victim of any kind of slavery, please leave me a confidential reply and I will help you find freedom.
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