I want to join them in their fight and am passionate about keeping the reality of trafficking and sex slavery in front of people's eyes. But in reality, my mission is not on the front lines, and because of that I lacked the opportunity to give voice to the real stories of this battle. The more I read and connect with this issue, the more strongly I feel we need to be careful how we talk about it. We cannot use these stories to create drama, to sensationalize a situation or to break people's hearts just for the sake of seeing their "oh, how sad" reactions. We have to speak and give voice to the reality behind the "issue" in a way that creates community of soldiers armed to fight, that draws real and committed support to those actually called to do the work, and that catalyzes action in individual hearts and organizational structure. It is important that we know and share the stories of trafficking and slavery, but it is equally important that we know that the source of those stories is first-hand, is trustworthy and has broad knowledge and understanding of the scope of this issue based on collective field experience.
I don't have that. But I do have a voice and a passion to use it to tell those stories. For this reason, I am humbled to begin helping the amazing team at Exodus Road as a part of a team of bloggers that is helping them share the stories of their work, their rescues and the lives they save. In this season we prepare to welcome Him who came to bring glad tidings to the lowly and to set the captives free, what better good news is there to share but that He is still doing it? Still reaching into the ugly dark places of our world, taking the captives and slaves by the hand and bringing them to freedom?
The team at Exodus Road is on the ground in Southeast Asia fighting trafficking with targeted interventions. They have formed a coalition of undercover investigators with years of experience and a broad field of knowledge in this area. These brave souls who enter some of the darkest places of our world and collect invaluable evidence using covert recording equipment. That evidence becomes the key that can unlock the prison doors for one, two, or many modern day slaves being held and sold within the sex industry.
Like a 15 year old girl named Sarah, whom a member of the Exodus Road investigative team met in a brothel in Cambodia three days after her mother sold her for $600 USD to pay off a debt. She was being marketed as "fresh" by the brothel owner, her virginity a prize to purchased. On the investigator's first visit, with Sarah, even though he had been able to record her sale and put her in communication with a social worker who spoke her language and could help her understand that he was there to rescue her, not hurt her, he was not able to gain her trust, make her understand that he could help her escape.
But he went back. Because setting the captives free is unrelenting work. And when he did, Sarah was ready. She slipped him on a note on piece of paper begging, "Please rescue me."
Read the story of Sarah's rescue here.
This is the story of one of the 27 million modern day slaves who do not know, cannot believe, or even imagine that their deliver is coming. But He is. He will come. He will come when we stop turning away and begin to stand beside those who can fight the true fight, like Exodus Road's 15 investigators and their respective support organizations.
Knowing the stories of the faces of slavery, true stories, not sensationalized scenarios, opens our eyes and makes it impossible to dismiss this reality. “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.” -William Wilberforce
The Exodus Road: Fighting to End Child Slavery from Justin Lukasavige on Vimeo.
This is a fight no one can win fighting alone. After all these weeks blogging and learning and trying to action, I am honored to stand beside those at Exodus Road and fight together. The captives are waiting. Let's sing to them in one voice that their Deliver is coming. He is standing by. And He is waiting on us to go.