Tag Archives: Jesus

The Hope Found in Sex Trafficking

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61: 1-3

I’m happy that you’re back as we dive right into the second portion of this discussion on slavery: sex trafficking.

May His will be done.

Human Trafficking. Modern Day Slavery. Child Sex Trafficking. Commercial Exploitation of Children. Forced Sex Labor. These terms are all used interchangeably to explain this one issue that undoubtedly crushes the heart of God. I can only imagine thousands upon thousands of voices that are crying out for some type of holy intervention. And the thousands upon thousands of miracles that our God performs on a daily basis that simply go underneath our radar. He is a faithful God that works in very mysterious ways. We must never forget that.

Human trafficking is an injustice that has gripped my heart for years. And it may be one that grips yours as well.

This was how it all started for me….

I was at home one afternoon enjoying an afternoon off from work, drinking coffee and browsing the internet, when I came across a CBS special report covering young Filipino girls that were ‘servicing’ English and American male tourists. As I clicked ‘play’ with a bit of hesitation, I  could not believe what I was seeing.

Here was a young boy of about 10 years old (the age of my nephew) who could barely speak English, conducting a business transaction with a male American tourist (maybe in his late 50’s). He was selling this man a thirty minute “oral fix” performed by a six year old girl (who appeared scared and confused) in a run-down tent with a small twin mattress thrown on the dusty floor. My insides immediately broke out in violent spasms as I gagged at the computer screen. Anger, bewilderment, and sadness overwhelmed my heart as I longed to jump into that scene and rescue that little girl. But, I couldn’t, and I felt helpless.

This is where my story began.

As a missionary years later in Western Australia, the Lord placed me in the red light district of Perth (right next door to a brothel in fact). Every day I  would see the faces of young Southeast Asian girls who had been trafficked (transported by coercion and force) to live lives of sexual servitude for the perverse enjoyment of Australian men. I wanted to march in that brothel with the authority of Jesus Christ and rescue those women, but the Lord only wanted me to observe and pray. Looking back, I’m thankful for His wise leading. It is through prayer that we gain His heart and perspective on an issue. I strongly encourage you beloved, to spend time at His doorsteps before you go reaching out to others.

“Listen to My instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to Me, watching daily at My doors, waiting at My doorway. For whoever finds Me finds life and receives favor from the Lord. But whoever fails to find Me harms himself; all who hate Me love death.” Proverbs 8:33-36

A few months later I moved to Mexico City. For the first time,  I encountered girls (as young as 12) and women (18-45) publicly lining the streets and advertising themselves as commodities for sale in an area known as La Merced. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just for the locals (including law enforcement and government officials); tourists also knew where to find these victimized souls. We knew we weren’t welcome.  But, Jesus had other plans. Their traffickers would visibly loom around them, watching every move we made from the “window upstairs”. It was in this place that I first looked into the big, brown eyes of a young Mexican girl who shamefully looked away after five seconds of making eye contact. And I held the tender hands of a young woman who desperately wanted to be held and to know that she was worth more than a “good time.” At any moment, we could have been shot. But, Jesus is bigger than man, and more powerful than the enemy. What God willed was going to take place. So, we marched out in the authority of Christ, passing out roses to remind them of their beauty, giving them Bibles as a source of truth and encouragement, hugging their necks to show them they were worthy of love, and praying for the Lord’s mighty intervention. We saw one woman rescued from the hundreds there. But, it was still one life that Jesus died for and that was substantial. I’m thankful for the Lord’s powerful demonstration of faithfulness: we were never once injured, and He taught me that even darkness is light to Him. He has all authority and power.

“Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:12

Allow me encourage you with something, beloved.

Jesus is King. There is nothing in history that can ever undo the powerful choice He made when He willingly hung on the cross. He has overcome all evil. Death has no power over Him. And even darkness is light to our King. And do you know what makes His sacrifice so powerful? As dirty and evil as sex trafficking is, Jesus still chose to die for the souls that choose to engage in this very act. Is there anything more revolutionary than God’s love? This right here shows you that love is more powerful than death.

Now that I have shared with you what the Lord has allowed me to experience on the mission field outside of the United States, I want to encourage you in the truth. He is doing a big work here in this nation. Sex trafficking very much exists in this country, and it’s often not out in the open. And as a missionary in the States with Wellspring Living, I have learned a very valuable lesson that I’d like to share:

Focus on Jesus and not the issue at hand. There is a difference between being educated on this issue and meditating on this issue. The havoc and destruction that sex trafficking causes is derived from the most disgusting, evil one: satan himself. Let’s not focus on his temporary work, but instead on the work of Jesus Christ.

Because there is a lot He is doing to rescue, restore, and redeem these precious souls of women and children today and forevermore. I have seen the faces of girls and women who have been delivered, healed, and made completely new through the all-sustaining and ever-consuming power of Jesus Christ. And women are being rescued daily here in Atlanta. Let’s give God the amazing praise He deserves for what He IS doing! He is making what appears impossible to man, possible through Him. To God be the glory for that!

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

“My son, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.” Proverbs 4:20-22

“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3

If you feel that the Lord is calling you into this area of ministry, or you simply want to learn more about what He’s doing, then check out these incredible organizations (all of which I know personally) that are doing big things through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Wellspring Living  – An organization that works hands-on with women and girls (through the aid of Christ) to restore their broken hearts and empower them for a second chance of living through Jesus. Located in Atlanta, GA.

Check out their website here: Wellspring Living

Out of Darkness – An organization that runs a 24/7 hotline with volunteers trained to answer rescue calls along with a  dedicated team searching the internet to identify the sites where underage children are being sold for sex, the exploiters who are selling them, and the johns who are buying them. This is a great ministry for men that are seeking a place to serve. Located in Atlanta, GA.

Check out their website here: Out of Darkness

Love Made Claim, Inc – An organization committed to building trust and relationships with women in the sex-for-sale industry, including women enslaved in the porn industry.  Located in Denver, CO (but attends national porn conventions).

Check out their website here: Love Made Claim

Photo provided by momslupusmagic.com

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A Survey of Modern-Day Slavery

The great emancipator Abraham Lincoln once proclaimed that “those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

Slavery. For generations this topic has gripped the hearts of mankind.

Why? Because it goes against the grain of our innate desire for freedom. It resonates in our hearts by contrasting with the freedoms we enjoy as Americans today.

As a missionary, I have seen the faces  of women and children sold as commodities in a multi-billion dollar industry known as the global slave trade. And it’s not just happening in the third world countries; it’s taking place right in our own backyard. Children are sold for sex and forced labor everyday in this country.  Instead of enslaving an entire race as America did once before (those of African descent who were forced to toil in the land of the South), this spirit of oppression is now enslaving our women and children (who are sources of life and wonder in this world).

But, I’m thankful that Jesus conquers oppression. He stands in victory as the epitome of freedom.

While sitting with the Lord, I was honestly surprised when He told me that He wanted today’s blog to be about slavery. Maybe there are some of you who are hungry for justice in this world and are not yet sure how to go about serving? Or perhaps there are some of you that already know about slavery but need to be refreshed in refocusing your eyes on the true Rescuer and Redeemer?

He alone knows. And because this site serves as a platform for the Lord to speak, I am praying that His will be done in the name of Jesus.

What is slavery? Slavery can be defined as submission to a dominating force; drudgery; severe toil; and the state of one bound in servitude as the property of another. All of these definitions are derived from one spiritual force – oppression by the enemy.

Oppression directly counteracts freedom, which is the very purpose for which Jesus died and rose again. Freedom over darkness, freedom for us from sin, and freedom to enjoy our lives to the fullest through His grace.

Wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:17-18

A great example of this can be seen today in the People’s Republic of China. As Christian missionaries are sent to this nation, thousands of Chinese are coming to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. They are being freed from the yolk of communist oppression and embracing a life filled with joy and peace from the Lord. I would not be surprised if one day China becomes a land overflowing with milk and honey; a source of encouragement for the world to see. Nor would I be surprised to see Chinese missionaries preaching the gospel to our own American youth who’ve been led astray.

What are ways that slavery exists today?

This really is a loaded question because enslavement (bondage) appears on a very broad spectrum. We as human beings can be enslaved by our past, our emotions, our job, and our circumstances. However, in today’s post we are going to focus on modern day slavery in the form of forced labor.

Modern day slavery represents the rawest form of evil produced by the heart of man. Yet we can find powerful demonstrations of His redemption, made possible only by the Lord Jesus Christ. Sounds like the entire theme of the Bible to me.

Let’s get educated.

What is forced labor? According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), it is defined as all involuntary work or service that is exacted from one person under the threat of penalty by another. The U.S. State Department estimates that 27 million people (of all nationalities, and on all continents) are enslaved today. The ILO further estimates the following:

    • 90 percent of victims are exploited by individuals or enterprises, while 10 percent are forced to work by a state, rebel military groups, or in prisons
    • Forced labor exploitation alone makes up 80 percent of all victims, while 20 percent accounts for victims of forced sexual exploitation
    • 55 percent of all victims are women and girls, and 45 percent are men and boys. Children make up around one quarter of all victims

What can you do? Conduct your own online research, and you may be very surprised at which household names are knowingly exploiting the lives of innocent people, all for a small profit gain. The link below is a copy of the report conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor in 2009 titled:  ‘List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor‘.

http://www.dol.gov/ilab/programs/ocft/PDF/2009TVPRA.pdf

Keep this in mind: often when we come across something that is dirt cheap here (clothing or food commodity), it’s likely costing someone else in another part of the world a very dear price. Forced labor requires the person to  work in harsh conditions,  endure extremely long hours, and are give a very limited food, water, and sunlight. This is abuse, beloved, and it should not be acceptable.

Also, if you feel led by the Holy Spirit to get involved in a deeper way, please check out and support the following organization (which I have worked with in the past) as they campaign against forced labor around the globe.

Not For SaleInternational Organization

http://www.free2work.org/

Due to the length of this post, we’ll continue this discussion on slavery (specifically sex-trafficking) with the aid of the Holy Spirit tomorrow morning. And remember that even darkness is light to Jesus since He has overcome it all!

“Even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” Psalm 139:12

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5

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Simple Optimism: Encouragement for the Day

True optimism is not found in a random positive quote from the internet (though some of them are quite good), but by taking a personal inventory of your God-given greatness.

What do you possess that others admire or that God Himself adores about you?

We all have something.

How can I be so sure?

Because His word says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. And that we are created in His image. If He says it, then it must be true.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

Try this: list at least five things that you love about yourself.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

How did it go? Was this an easy activity for you? Or did you find it a bit challenging?

In all honesty, this took me some time. Not because I don’t love myself, but rather because I don’t think of these specific characteristics often. Yet, this practice of positive thinking is not only biblical but extremely healthy for us. Positive thoughts truly do produce a positive outlook. And the manner in which we carry out our day is ALWAYS driven by an outlook (whether negative or positive).

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Philippians 4:8

Focusing on the good within ourselves cultivates a deep desire to practice “self care”. This is both loving and wise.

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

So, here goes…..

1. I love my ability to communicate, whether it’s through public speaking or writing a piece of material. And I really enjoy reading my own work.

2. I love my passion towards making a positive difference in other people’s lives.

3. I love my entrepreneurial spirit and my ability to cast vision to others.

4. I love my laugh.

5. I love my deep-embedded interest for foreign travel and cultural experiences.

Now, here’s for another exercise. How about listing 5 things that you would describe as positive in the world that surrounds you. What do you enjoy? What do you appreciate in all of God’s creation? 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Was that exercise a bit easier? For me it was. Now can you see the importance of setting your mind on the things that produce joy, laughter, motivation, and determination in order to retain an optimistic mindset?

“Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” Psalm 100:2

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

Here’s my list from this morning: 

1. I’m thrilled that I get to wake up and enjoy a mug of my hot green/jasmine tea.

2. I really enjoy my garden. I get so tickled every time a new beautiful bud begins to bloom. And the fact that I can cook with my fresh herbs.

3. I really like the idea of having a blank canvas each day, and the fact that it’s completely up to me in how I choose to live my day.

4. To add to point #3, I love that God gives me a dose of totally fresh and new mercies to tap into for whatever I need for the day. It’s just so cool.

5. I love that I can listen to Argentinean tango, cook a good meal, and stare into my husband’s face while catching up on each others lives. It’s just good stuff.

May these two simple exercises spark an appreciation both for the person that God designed you to be and for the world that surrounds you. There is so much treasure that can be found in every single day; we just have to look for it. This search always starts with an optimistic outlook, beloved. 

Feel free to post your comments below, because I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose! Are you currently a subscriber? We’d love to have you! Just click HERE and begin receiving daily, encouraging posts sent straight to your inbox.

 

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