But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand. (Ezekiel 33:6).
My friends, there are sins of commission and sins of omission. I am afraid that today the church is guilty of a serious sin of omission – neglecting the serious problem of human trafficking.
One woman had a chance to expose just how rampant the problem was in one part of the world. The problem is everywhere, but her story serves as an example of the heinousness of the crime and what she bravely did about it. Kathryn Bolkovac has written a book about her experience entitled, The Whistleblower. There has also been a movie released with the same title, but I only recommend it with caution. More on that later.
In her autobiography, Kathryn Bolkovac relates that she was a U.N. peacekeeper who exposed the sex trafficking that was going on in Bosnia. She bravely confronted the persons who were responsible for the brutal trafficking of underage girls at the risk of her job and even her own life.
While in Bosnia, Kathryn was in charge of the U.N.’s gender affairs unit. As she began to work on cases of abuse against women she uncovered a vast underground sex trade. What was worse, the local police and U.N. staff including some of her own colleagues were involved. Some were taking advantage of the ease with which they could use the underage girls, some even buying their own girl for personal use.
Kathryn tries to expose this but soon realizes that she is not going to get any help. She pushes for an investigation and instead she loses her job. Eventually she is able to smuggle some documents out of the country and press a lawsuit against DynCorp for unlawful termination of her employment. She won, but received very little in compensation. And of course, her opportunities to continue to help the young girls who were kidnapped and forced into slavery were ended while she was fighting to expose the perpetrators.
The book exposes the depth of the trafficking problem along with many of the reasons why it is so hard to stop. Too many men at the top who enjoy illicit sex have the power to keep the business going.
The reason I am telling Kathryn’s story is to help make people aware of the problem. It is larger than many people suppose. Yes, it is even a big business here in the United States.
The first step to solving a problem is to admit that we have one. We need to stop burying our heads in the sand, especially those of us who are Christians. No matter where you live, trafficking is probably going on. Even if you live in the country you can be sure it is happening in the biggest city near you.
What can we do to help after we admit the extent of the problem? We should be having serious conversations with our daughters and other girls about the dangers that exist today. Many girls get kidnapped when they are promised a job that doesn’t materialize. Others are promised “help” by seemingly sympathetic men when they have left home. We don’t live in a predominantly Christian culture anymore. It’s sad to say, but we need to train our girls to not trust anybody. We should help them learn about the problem through good books, movies, and testimonies.
Speaking of movies, here is a word on the side with a BIG caution. A movie was made last year about Kathryn’s experience with the same title, The Whistleblower. I do not think that the producers needed to have the amount of nudity that they did in the movie. Everyone can get the idea without it. I think that the purpose was to shock people into seeing the reality of what happens to girls who have been kidnapped.
The only reason to see the movie is that it truly explains how girls get lured into the clutches of the evil traffickers. It shows some scenarios about how they are caught, why they are trapped, why it is difficult for them to escape, and how brutal their captors are. The story is basically the same all around the world. Girls are either kidnapped outright or lured in with the promise of a job. The stories of the girls that are featured in the movie are gut-wrenching.
The Whistleblower DVD is not for the faint of heart. It is brutal. Men who have a problem with viewing sexually explicit material may want to skip this one for sure. I wish the producers would have, and certainly they could have, left out the “over the top” scenes. People have plenty good enough imaginations; they don’t need the actual graphic material.
I would really advise an alternative movie, Nefarious. You can get it at the present time by going to the website – store.exoduscry.com where you can purchase it for $20 plus $2.95 first class shipping. This film is being shown in churches and many are waking up to the reality that human trafficking is a serious problem and that we are guilty of the sin of omission by ignoring the problem. The problem is not going away. We are complicit in the dehumanization and exploitation of women and children by keeping our heads in the sand. Though it exposes the vast underground sex industry, the film goes beyond the details of the huge business making billions of dollars catering to the demand for illicit sex by offering hope for change.
As Christians, we know that changed hearts are needed. While the film does not call itself an explicitly Christian film, it deals with material that we as Christians can all relate to. There are stories of women who have come out of trafficking and been restored to peace and strength.
Have you heard the ungodly argument that if only we would legalize prostitution, sex trafficking would decrease? This film shows the fallacy of believing that prostitution decreases sex trafficking. Trafficking actually increases.
The best way to end the trafficking is to end the demand for it. This is going to be the hardest part of the job. But we can at least start in our churches and Christian homes to train our boys that only sex inside of marriage is beautiful and good. When men start treating women with the respect that God expects them to, it will be a start to ending the problem.
Beyond that, we need tougher laws against trafficking. This also will be a tough job. In the first place, men enjoy this sin and are reluctant to do anything about it. Even if they don’t engage in it themselves, their attitude is usually wrong. Many believe that women are involved in these activities voluntarily. In Bosnia, the girls were referred to as “whores of war”. In other places these victims are viewed as prostitutes.
The girls that are being trafficked are victims. They do not choose to “make a living” as slaves. This crime should be punished with the harshest penalties. Christians should be leading the way to end this atrocity.
There is a way to help women who are resisting prostitution. Many organizations are trying in practical ways to help the survivors of trafficking. Consider purchasing your Christmas presents this year from:
www.delicatefortress.com — They bring “shopping with a purpose”. Each item you find in their store provides “dignity, livelihood and fair wages to female artisans all over the world.” They help women not have to relinquish or sell their children or themselves in order to allow for their survival.
freedomstones.ws – “Freedom Stones is committed to eliminating and preventing human trafficking through livelihood projects that transform and develop vulnerable communities.”
www.eternalthreads.com — “Eternal Threads is dedicated to improving the lives of women and children most at risk of extreme poverty, trafficking and other forms of exploitation by providing sustainable livelihoods through income generating projects.” You can purchase many beautiful items such as jewelry, totes, paper, and much more.
www.madebysurvivors.com — This is an international “nonprofit organization which employs and educates survivors of slavery and other human rights abuses, including many women and children living in extreme poverty.” They train women in professions that enable them to earn enough money to care for themselves. 100% of profits go to support rescue and aftercare.
www.empowermentstore.org — By buying products from their store you will be helping survivors become financially self-sufficient and able to start new lives.
stoptraffickfashion.com — Stop Traffic Fashion sells clothing and accessories made by the survivors of human trafficking. Survivors who have been rescued from their captors make almost all of their accessories and receive income from STF sales.
If Jesus was walking among us today don’t you think He would be saddened by the treatment of women and children? Do you think He would be happy with His church for sitting around and doing very little about the inhumanity to women and children? Jesus went about doing good and helping the poor and destitute. As His followers we must do the same.
Not everyone is called to work full time in the area of human trafficking. Not many women will have the opportunity to be a whistleblower like Kathy Bolkovac. But we can all do something: Pray. Learn about the problem. Tell others about it. Find ways to help the survivors. Pray some more.