January 11, 2012
Nights in Vegas are like a dream. The lights of the hotels seem to shine brighter than the stars. It was in the midst of these million dollar twinkling lights that the shadows caught my eye. The silhouette of a young woman, dancing provocatively, displayed for the street to see. A few blocks later, it was the brightly lit box at street level. A young woman, looking to be in her early twenties was dancing, wearing next to nothing. Passers by stopped to watch, guys made crude jokes and we all moved on.
Those images and crude jokes stayed with me. Since I’d started looking into the issue of human trafficking, my eyes had been opened to the society around me. Las Vegas is a city of distraction, and it claims to be a city of pleasure. But as I saw these two girls, I couldn’t help but wonder if they’d been trafficked into the sex industry.
The sad truth is it’s entirely possible they were. Human trafficking is a quickly growing industry here in America. If you check out the link we posted from Laura Lederer, you’ll read about the epidemic that is taking over our country and the world. The U.S Department of Justice released a report stating that 81% of traffickers reported on were male. 94% of confirmed sex trafficking victims were female and under the age of 25 years old, practically children. Not only that, but 83% of victims in confirmed sex trafficking incidents were identified as U.S. citizens. This is happening in our own backyard.
The U.S. Department of State has a list of 20 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking. I encourage you to read the list. Get familiarized with organizations working to end this horrific epidemic. Inform yourself, friends, and your church community. An aware community can become an empowered community, ready and able to speak out on behalf of those who don’t have a voice.
As believers in Jesus, we are commanded to care for ‘the least of these’. We are a large generation. We’ve shown that we are moved by the plight of the marginalized and forgotten. And while it is important to have a global mindset, it is also important to know what is happening in our own country. We need to start informing ourselves about the issue of human trafficking, because it is taking place right in front of us. The vulnerable are silently crying out for help. We need to answer that cry.