I have posted before on the horrors of human trafficking and a fabulous organisation that is trying to make a difference, A21. The following is written by Beth Redman and I saw it today on Matt Redmans facebook page. I haven't asked permission to reproduce it, so apologies Redmans for that, but it is very powerful and I wanted to share it...
For more info on Human Trafficking and A21 please visit their website. Christine Caine is one of the founders of A21.
27 Million - Beth Redman
This time last year I sat down for a meal with Christine Caine. We were both speaking at a women’s conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland. I had met Nick & Chris Caine previously at the Hillsong Conference, and love Hillsong and respect the work they and the Caine’s do around the world.
As we sat down to catch up and share hearts, I was in the middle of the fog that comes with the birth of one’s fifth child! My passion was my family & writing books and speaking to a generation of teenage girls and young women, calling them to run after God with all they’ve got and fulfill the purpose God has for them on the earth. Little did I know Chris was about to deliver a wake up call that would change the course of my life forever.
I talked first about babies, America, travel, blah, blah, blah! Then Chris spoke and I heard, for the first time, about the work of A21 and the issue of human trafficking on the earth today.
How had I not known about this? Where had I been?
I had been stuck inside, shoveling Christian comfort into the hearts of so many, not knowing or acting on behalf of the poor, marginalized, 27 million slaves who I share the planet with.
As Chris will remember, I doubled over and wept to the point I was almost sick! It was part conviction that I’d been asleep, and part mobilizing me into action. My Spirit was groaning, and I knew something had to be done. My life and my mission were changed forever.
Shortly after that chat my husband and I continued with our plans to relocate from the USA to the UK. Once the children were settled, I traveled to Greece and met the wonderful team there and visited the A21 shelter. There I met the most precious young girls whose freedom had been stolen, yet they were able to begin the restoration process thanks to the work and effort of A21 and its supporters.
These girls had been trafficked into Greece from all over the world, but were now safe. They were still in shock and traumatized, but bravely told of the horror of their abduction, and their entrapment into the evil world of human slavery.
As we traveled back to our hotel, and the night drew in, we saw dozens of young, teenage girls working as prostitutes. As our car turned the corner, one young girl came out of the shadows, her hands on her hips, and she offered herself to each passing car. Her body was looking for work, but her face was shattered and looked like stone. She no longer looked like a child, and was unable to fight this evil. Somehow she had found herself on a corner, after midnight, on this filthy street. She should have been tucked up in bed, secure, treasured, safe, and innocent; instead here she was, in salacious, black clothing, with one fearful eye on her pimp who stood not too far away as a car pulled up beside her. She was a victim of this 21st century evil, and had no rescuer.
As I went to bed I could not get her face out of my mind. As I rested, her forced slavery continued.
I realized that in order to save her we must tell anyone and everyone we meet that she exists, and that the evil of human trafficking and slavery on the earth is bigger than it has ever been. We must join forces with everyone from individual NGO’s to corporations, from governments to statutory authorities, in order to rescue girls like her, and one by one, find and prosecute traffickers so this evil will be exposed, punished, and slaves will be set free.
I watched a documentary on Sky2 last week about the subject of human trafficking in Eastern Europe. The interviewer, Ross Kemp, was talking to a convicted sex trafficker. When asked how he felt about the girls he had destroyed, he replied with a smirk, “The girls are nothing. They are like footballs. They are worth nothing. If one is destroyed, you can always get another.”
In Christine Caine’s CNN blog this week, she recounted a similar sentiment made by the testimony of a trafficker during his trial. When asked by the judge why he was involved in such an activity he said, “People are so much easier (to traffic) than drugs. The sentencing is a lot less, and you can just kick them and they'll do what you say.”
Caine’s response? “I can't even believe somebody thinks like that. That's the dark side, that's the evil side. But I think, by and large, most people would think that's very evil and say we've got to stop that from happening.”
Through my work with A21, I was in London this week for the Launch of The Centre for Social Justice ‘Slavery in the UK’ Policy Review.
Andrew Wallis, Founding Director of Unseen(UK) and CSJ Slavery Working Group Chairman spoke passionately. He said:
“In 2007 the UK celebrated the 200th anniversary of the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade and in doing so led the world to recognise: ‘that slavery was trafficking in human blood and tears, in misery and suffering and that it had to stop for the sake of justice and humanity.’
Yet, here we are in 2011, with slavery rife amongst us. Whether we like it or not as a society, as individuals, we are in contact with slavery more often than we realise. They say we are all joined by six degrees of separation from any other human being on the planet. In all of these scenarios we are in much closer contact with slaves either here in the UK or overseas. None of us have clean hands.
We often hear much about human rights. But for there to be rights we have to acknowledge there are wrongs. I accepted the offer of chairing this policy review because I passionately believe slavery is wrong.
This policy review will bring together all those who are involved in combatting slavery so we can actually achieve what our forbearers hoped for – an eradication of slavery. Two hundred years ago as a nation we led the world in saying: slavery is wrong, and we still aspire to that – to lead the world in combatting slavery and bringing justice and freedom for those who are enslaved.”
I have discovered through my work with A21, and again this week at the press launch for the Slavery in the UK’ Policy Review, that if there was no demand, then there would be no slaves. If you’re a slave master in 2011, then you can always get another commodity. Tragically, the price of human slaves is the lowest they’ve ever been.
It’s time to set the slaves free!
So what is next? We have recently recorded a song for A21, called 27 Million, which we will be releasing as a single that we hope will not only raise awareness for this issue, but also raise funds to find and prosecute the slave masters and to rescue and restore the victims. And the good news is that if you didn’t know about this before, now you do!
We don’t need to be overwhelmed by the statistics, but rather be outraged enough to do what we can. As Christine Caine said in her CNN blog this week:
“My job is to help put tools in people's hands and say, 'Yeah. Together we can stop that from happening.' Often, I think, because we think, 'I can't do it all,' we end up being paralyzed. So we do nothing,’ said Caine. ‘But if we understand we can't do everything but we all must do something, and we all find the one thing that we can do, then we'll find that together we will all make such a huge difference and we'll be able to put a stop to this."
We can be the change!