I may have posts that are light, and full of humour, and then I may have some (like today) that are serious. That’s life isn’t it? You laugh, or cry or it's somewhere in between – just a lil’ bit of everything. But there are some things so awful, so outside our normal grid, that your natural response is to close your eyes, turn around and wish it away. I’ve done that too often in my life, and I don’t want to be that way.
Seven years ago a friend gave me a book. She said, ‘it’s a bit of a heavy read, but I think you’ll really like it.’ I’m not sure why she gave it to me, but it sat on my shelf staring at me for about three months before I picked it up.
I was scared to read it. I didn’t think I could handle it, and to be honest, I could hardly even take in some of the stories. At least that book had a few positive, hope-filled outcomes though since then I have read, heard and encountered far worse. As I continued to probe why it scared me, I think the haunting thought was ‘What if it happened to someone I cared about, or even worse, to someone like me or my children?’ I was afraid that if I found out more, that in a weird way, it would be contagious, and I would get infected. But most of all, I was scared that it would change me. And it did.
The book was called, ‘Terrify No More’ by IJM founder Gary Haugen.
It was about undercover rescue missions for young girls caught in the world of sex trafficking. Despite all my initial fears, I cried, I ached, and I longed to do something. After some research in my area, I started a journey of training and then working with vulnerable women who were in the Red Light District of Sheffield. My organisation was a first contact for helping women exit the prostitution lifestyle. It was a start, and it helped me keep my eyes open.
A few Sundays ago (10 February) I was honoured to meet and hear the UK Executive Director of IJM, a world-wide human rights organisation that rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression.
Here are a few stats from the UK alone:
- Last year 712 adults and 234 children were rescued;
- Estimated 3,000 – 9,000 are still involved in human trafficking; and the
- Highest influx into the UK is from Nigeria and China.
After Terry finished speaking I had the same response as when I finished the book years ago. The question it left me with was, ‘What am I going to do about it?’
I know it feels daunting to face a global tragedy like trafficking, and one person can’t be the answer and neither can one organisation as the issue is so huge, we have to work together.
One person, however, can be a part of the answer, and the more people, the more we can slay this grievous giant.
At the end of 2012 I trained to be a case worker with The Snowdrop Project (I have a whole page on my blog with more information). At the moment, besides being a voice for the voiceless in social media, that’s my part.
So my questions for you - are you keeping your eyes wide open and what’s your part?
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