Good-bye, Comfort Zone!

“It ought to concern every person, because it is a debasement of our common humanity. It ought to concern every community, because it tears at our social fabric. It ought to concern every business, because it distorts markets. It ought to concern every nation, because it endangers public health and fuels violence and organized crime. I’m talking about the injustice, the outrage, of human trafficking, which must be called by its true name–modern slavery.”

–Barack Obama

People. I went to this thing last weekend–a conference/workshop, this… thing, if you will, about human trafficking. About oppression and injustice. About the poor. It was called Marked.

And I’m not sure how to act anymore.

The information I learned at Marked has been ricocheting around in my brain since Sunday afternoon:

  • 100,000 people are enslaved in the United States right now.
  • 17,500 new victims are trafficked into the United States every year – at minimum.
  • The United States is the 3rd largest nation where trafficked girls are brought into.
  • Every 8 seconds someone is sold into slavery.
  • Every 30 seconds, it’s a child.
  • The average cost of a slave today is $90.
  • It just so happens that Oklahoma City is big fat sex slavery central, being at the crossroads of giant interstates like I-35 and I-40 and all.

It’s just nucking futs–and these are just some basic boring statistics that I can handle thinking about right now since I can’t stomach the really hardcore facts about human trafficking, particularly prostitution.

I’ve got so many ideas and I can’t stop thinking about the poor children, the poor women; the lost souls, the hurting, the enslaved, the tortured, the unloved, and the forgotten. My heart more than hurts. It’s about to explode.

How could things like this be happening in this world, much less in my state…or 15 minutes down the road? How Could This Be Happening?

What kind of men pay for sex with women who are held against their will and drugged out of their minds? What kind of men pick up street walkers and take them to a back alley and beat the crap out of them? What kind of men look to innocent children to fulfill their perverted sexual desires? What kind of men prey upon young girls, emotionally manipulating them; isolating them from their families, and finally, tricking them or forcing them into a life of prostitution and violence?

Men like this really exist? Really? I am screaming that. I want to punch them in their nasty faces.

I know zero men like this. My dad is the kindest person on the face of this planet. My dad has such a happy voice and a willing heart and he was so protective and supportive of me and my sisters growing up. My husband is the same; when he talks to our daughters, every word out of his mouth is uplifting and spoken with love. He’d die a thousand deaths before he’d let any one of his children get hurt in those ways. We expect so much of our kids and for our kids. We know that they are beautiful, and loved, and that God has a special purpose in mind for each one of them.

And it carries over to all the children we know; those we teach at Sunday school, or coach in T-ball, softball, soccer…friends of our kids, kids of our friends. They are all precious in God’s sight, and in ours.

How could anyone hurt a child?

It’s hard for my thoughts to settle on anything except this: Human trafficking–let me not even go into how people in third world countries would kill for some clean drinking water while I sit here, complaining in my head because this computer chair has no seat cushion and I’m not allowed to bring apple juice into my husband’s office.

It would be easy to become discouraged and disgusted with myself. It would be easy to just stop thinking about the whole thing, for lack of knowledge of what to do, where to go, or how to help. But I have a feeling this is one of those times where God is saying “Jump.”

And thanks to the Marked OKC event, I’m not completely without direction. A group called No Boundaries International is heading up a ministry right in Oklahoma City–loving and helping girls trapped in prostitution, and the kids who live in the thick of it. I spoke to a lady Sunday about donating small toiletry items/artwork/art lessons/anything–and she was extremely receptive, so I hope to be in contact with them soon. Quick ideas that involve minimal participation on their part (since they’re busy actually ministering to hurting people and whatnot) include:

  • fundraising in the form of private painting parties, or maybe even one big blow-out painting party, where I walk people through a painting and the profit could go directly to Project Hope.
  • with their permission, auctioning off children’s art work at our 2nd Children’s Gallery Night.
  • donating a part of my Dustbowl Art Market sales (assuming I am accepted this year) to this charity.
  • donating an actual painting.
  • selling a specific painting.

And the list goes on. I’ve got a headache what with all the brain-storming but if anyone has more ideas I’d love to hear them. And I’m ending with a verse from the bible that gives me chills, because surely God is pressing me to action by burdening my heart like this.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”

Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.

–James 2:14-19


About Toni

Mom. Wife. Artist. I take care of the kids and pretend to clean sometimes. I can cook spagetti and I have never been arrested. View all posts by Toni

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