Conventional Thinking: S.T.O.P. human trafficking
In his powerful life story told in the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, holocaust survivor Victor Frankl tells of the incomparable suffering of his time in a Nazi concentration camp. He recalls a time when he saw a fellow prisoner asleep and apparently having a terrible nightmare. Frankl decided not to wake the man, because no nightmare could be worse than waking to the reality in which they lived.
Today, many women and children are living in a nightmare. Did you know slavery still exists in our world? In fact, it is an estimated $32 billion industry, according to research published on the BGCO website, which says, “You may be aware of what happens overseas, but the issue exists here—even in Oklahoma. The United States is the number one destination for trafficking humans, and approximately 300,000 children are sexually exploited each year.”
Just what is human trafficking and exploitation? It has been defined as “the unethical, selfish use of human beings for the satisfaction of personal desires and/or profitable advantage.” It is sin in its ugliest form, and many Christians are starting to see it as a duty to combat it in every way possible.
The BGCO’s Human Trafficking Task Force is calling on churches to participate in S.T.O.P. Sunday on June 24. S.T.O.P. stands for Stop Human Trafficking in Oklahoma Through Prayer. The BGCO’s women’s specialist, Kelly King, said, “We are asking churches to educate their congregations on the dangers of human exploitation and trafficking and to STOP and pray during their morning service.”
Too often, we turn to prayer as a last resort. In the S.T.O.P. campaign, the goal is to show that prayer is our first, and best, resort. In prayer, we are calling on the Father to intercede in ways we cannot. For He alone knows every hurt, every injustice. He came to die for our sins—yes, even those guilty of these heinous acts. It is God’s love that should motivate us to pray.
There are six areas of focus for prayer in the S.T.O.P., including praying against labor trafficking, sex trafficking, media exploitation, pornography, bullying and exploitation of natural resources.
The specific issue that comes to mind when you hear the term “human trafficking” is, of course, sex trafficking. According to the U.S. Department of State, “sex trafficking is the recruitment, harboring, provision or obtaining of a person in order that a commercial sex act can be induced, often by force, fraud or coercion.” The evils associated are almost too terrible to mention.
God’s Word tells us not only to avoid such evils but also to do something about them. Prov. 31:8-9 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
A mere laundry list of statistics cannot do justice or tell the real story behind the numbers. The victims are not statistics. They are real people—just like you and me. Research has shown that “a victim can be a runaway or throwaway child, a coerced or kidnapped teen, an international or a U.S. citizen trafficked within our borders. Victims are caught up in prostitution, pornography, exotic dancing, strip clubs, live sex shows, modeling studios, massage parlors, escort services and brothels.”
So the big question is what are you going to do about it? Will you join Oklahoma Baptists on June 24 to stop and pray that God would help us put an end to human trafficking here and around the world?
Will you support groups such as Dayspring Villa (dayspringvilla.com) in Sand Springs, which is providing relief and shelter to victims of human trafficking? It is time for each of us to pray about our involvement.
BGCO Prayer and Spiritual Awakening Specialist Greg Frizzell often talks about the power of united prayer. On S.T.O.P. Sunday (June 24), we have just such an opportunity.
I want to end by thanking each of the participants in the BGCO Human Trafficking Task Force. Led by State WMU President Paula Adams, this godly group’s goal is “to educate, equip and mobilize churches to the issue of human trafficking and those affected by it.” Thanks to their efforts, we each now have this special opportunity to make a difference for now and all of eternity.