Rescue Isn’t About the Numbers

The other day someone asked me what my book is about. I always find this hard to explain, partly I worry they’ll think it’s stupid and partly because I’ve yet to come up with a clear, concise two-sentence descriptor. I tend to stumble over my words, proliferating the ones that do escape with “Umm” and pauses nearing the point of incoherence.

But—my novel is about a girl, a young woman in a brothel in an ancient, fictional world. It’s about redemption and freedom. It’s about fighting for light, for hope in the darkness. It’s the struggle for freedom from within and freedom for without. 

Why this? I’m sure people wonder. I’ve always been fascinated by the redemption story, particularly as depicted in Hosea. The wayward wife wooed back again and again.

“I will betroth you to me forever…”

God is always faithful.

I’ve been working on this novel for years and it has transformed over and over again (thankfully!), and now I think it has the potential to tell a true story.

When I began researching brothels and prostitution in the ancient world (particularly in the Roman culture), the history was heart-wrenching. Prostitutes in brothels were almost always taken as slaves from foreign conquests. The woman would often be lined up naked for men to see what they were purchasing. In some brothels, the rooms were sorted by sexual act depicted in an engraving above the door. The beds—a concrete slab.

In England, archaeologists discovered an ancient mass grave of infants, most full-term, in what they believe was the seedier side of a Roman town. The only logical explanation they can think of? Brothel houses.

It’s sobering.

But it’s the reality of 27 million people today.

There are more slaves today than there were at the height of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, more than any other time in history. And the conditions between ancient Rome and today aren’t so different.

It feels a near silent fight. But there are those—many—fighting.

The Exodus Road has supported 250 rescues. That number is small, so tiny when compared to the millions still bound.

But when you stop seeing the rescues as numbers and start seeing them as people, as children of God created in His image, these are lives changed. The flicker of hope being restored, the beginning of freedom. There is hope.

The Exodus Road - Fight to end trafficking.What Can You Do?

  • Pray for those waiting to be rescued, for investigators, for current cases to convict traffickers, and for the healing process of the rescued.
  • Join a Search & Rescue team and commit a $35 monthly contribution to the undercover investigation efforts.
  • Read the Parker’s What It Takes to Free a Sex Slave.
  • Spread the word and help educate others.

Rescue is coming. And it matters to every one.

To read this story of the rescue in this video, click here.

(In February, I’ll be reviewing Laura Parker’s book The Exodus Road: One Wife’s Journey into Sex Trafficking & Rescue and giving away a copy. Subscribe here so you don’t miss it!)

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You Can Join in the Fight Against Trafficking {the exodus road}

It’s been in the news and my Facebook feed is scattered with people who are shocked and disgusted that this type of thing would happen here. In their own country…their own town. It’s a horrific, unnerving surprise, but, yes, sex trafficking is a live and prosperous business in the United States of America. But what can we do to help?

I asked myself this question last summer. I had known about sex trafficking for awhile and had slowly been watching documentaries and reading up on the work of different organizations. I felt burdened and compelled to act, but didn’t know how I could help in a practical, tangible way.

Toward the end of the summer I found out Charlotte, NC, a city only 30 minutes away, is one of the largest trafficking hubs on the east coast. Hearing that I knew I had to do something. I found a local organization working to fight trafficking and began to research them. There were some things about their organization that made me uncomfortable, so I didn’t take part. (The organization no longer exists or at least can’t be found online.)

Enter The Exodus Road’s newest venture: Search & Rescue.

The Exodus Road  - Search & Rescue Program - Join a team for the fight against sex trafficking!

I’m excited about this. It’s a way that you and me can join a real-life covert investigative team. The Search & Rescue program which enables you to personally fuel and empower literal rescue.

From our experience, it takes about $35 for a night for one of our investigators to engage in local surveillance. Since we already have teams on the ground and since most of our teams are volunteers, we are able to fund investigations with a fairly lean financial model.If you’d like to join a team, you will be “hiring” one of our investigators to go literally look for children and victims on your behalf in some of the darkest corners of the globe. Investigators will then take that intel to local police partners and will develop cases and raids from that initial intelligence.
The search fuels the rescue. And by investing in our teams, you will be putting boots on the ground, sending eyes to look for the enslaved.
Currently, we have four designated teams that we’d like to empower. Each team has a code name (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta) and a brief description of their area of focus. You can find the team names and descriptions here. When you choose a team to sponsor for $35/monthly, you’ll have access to their field intelligence (though, as always, for safety, some details may be changed). You’ll get live updates about the ways your team performs investigations, raids, and rescue. We’ll also send newsletters, incentives and even ways for you to connect and support your field team on a more personal level.

Want to become a part of the Search and Rescue Team?

This is your chance to join arms with the guys who are actually kicking down the doors. Hire an Investigator.  Recover a Slave.

SR-TeamBadge-Charlie-Yellow

Our family is working toward joining the Charlie team’s base camp.

Charlie Team is staying home. Recognizing that an estimated 14,500 new trafficking victims come into the United States every year, Charlie Team will be developing efforts to roll out local level one surveillance missions. Currently in very early stages of development, Charlie Team will utilize government and police partnerships to gather tips of possible trafficking scenarios to pass to local authorities. Investigators will likely be ex-military or police and will be highly vetted. Charlie Team will hopefully begin local, ground-level investigations in the late fall of 2013. They are currently investing in field research and networking relationships. 

We’d love for you to join the fight against trafficking and end slavery. We can’t all be in the field, but we can all do something.

I would love to build a community of sojourners who work together to fight trafficking alongside The Exodus Road.

Would you consider partnering with The Exodus Road to see the end of slavery?

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I’m with Lincoln. {the exodus road}

The Exodus Road - Lincoln Quote

What is tragic is so many turn an eye to slavery, particularly sex trafficking. It’s not their problem. It’s not in their neighborhood. It’s not a real problem, just runaways who need money. No. It’s much bigger and more complex.

But even if sex trafficking isn’t on your street or you can’t see it in your city, wouldn’t you want to help fight for the helpless, the imprisoned, the desolate? What if 150 years from now your great-great-great-grandchildren could look back and say, “My grandparents helped to abolish sex trafficking.”

Don’t let the largeness of the issue keep you from action. These aren’t numbers and statistics. They are people with faces…daughters, sisters, mothers.

There is something you can do.

{This  video contains images not suitable for children.}

150 years ago, Lincoln freed the slaves. Today, however, there are more slaves on our watch than at any other time in human history. Let’s be the Lincoln to our generation.

Check out the producers of this video, MadeinaFreeWorld, and their campaign to take slavery issues to congress or visit The Exodus Road today. Consider subscribing to the newsletters from these two organizations, so you can stay informed of the issue and can be given action steps for becoming a modern day abolitionist.

I’m with Lincoln. You?

***

Interested in helping the fight against trafficking? Visit I’m with Lincoln and send an email to your senator requesting to double funds to fight human trafficking. They make it easy. Click your state and your senator’s name pops up and then even have a prepared letter. In just a few clicks you can help make a difference.

Keep up with the fight with The Exodus Road on Facebook (like their page & spread the word!). A team is gearing up this week for a large scale raid in India, covering 7-8 brothels with 30+ victims, please pray for the team that all would go smoothly and for those to be rescued.

…what does the Lord require of you?

But to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

 

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Rescue is Coming {the exodus road}

The Exodus RoadAs we approach Holy Week, we reflect on the blood price, the ransom set upon our heads that our King of Glory in all His richness came and died on a sinner’s cross in our stead.

We waited. Hoped. Believed. Even in the darkness, we looked for a sign. Anything to tell us there was still a chance that hope was possible. A kindling in our hearts said, “Rescue is coming.”

Rescue did come.

And we ran to the open tomb amazed, leaving in a myriad of shock and disbelief of the mysterious, wondrous gift of grace. Our redemption is here.

And now we wait, we advent, for the Christ King who will come again to right all wrongs, dry every tear, and administer justice with his mighty, righteous right hand.

Oh, friends, our ransom is paid. Our rescue has come. We wait for the trumpet to sound and bring us home.

But there is still a rescue.

There are many, too many, 27 million many, waiting to be set freed. They’ve been lied to, stolen, sold, drugged, beat and treated like garbage day after day, night after night. They hope {oh, I hope they hope!} waiting in physical bondage to hear, “You are free!”

You are freed by the price of His blood. All is His. All is grace. May I encourage you to freely give what was freely given to you and join the fight against sexual slavery?

What Can You Do?

GIVE. The Exodus Road team works to gather enough evidence to encourage local authorities to raid brothels, free girls, and prosecute their captors. Unfortunately, rescue and the undercover equipment needed to gather evidence isn’t free. {Read more about how The Exodus Road works.}

SUPPORT. Help spread the word that rescue is coming by becoming an Exodus Road Blogger. Or become a Church Ambassador and represent The Exodus Road in your local community through awareness and fundraising events.

SHOP. Shop Exodus Auctions and tell friends how your purchase empowers rescue.

PRAY. Get on your knees and pray for their emancipation  Pray for the investigators leading brothel raids. Pray for convictions. Pray for communities to change. Pray for the broken hearts of these women and children that they may meet the Healer and be made whole.

Rescue is coming…and am I ever glad for that. But until the trumpet sounds and Jesus comes to take home His Bride, we must never forget, nor neglect, those still waiting to be rescued.

***

He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8

‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:40

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Rescue is Coming {the exodus road & novel writing}

I’ve hinted here and there that I’m writing a novel. It’s a scary thing to admit. I’ve been working on it off and on for 8 years. When I told a new friend how long I’ve been working on my book she commented how it’ll be the great American novel by the time I get done with it. I doubt it.

I’ve been taking my time because with age the story has changed…so much so I’m embarrassed to admit how it started. Truly. {don’t ask}

In the last year I’ve worked more consistently on my still nameless project than I have in years. I’ve flitted back and fort on characters and plotlines and over the summer I closed the lid on a fantasy bent. I’m still writing, but finding the more I write the more I need to stop and create the world in which my story unfolds. {nothing like a little J.K. Rowling to make you go, “Wow. Yeah. Knowing the ins and outs of your world will make for a believeable story.} I’m learning more deeply how my characters work, their motivations, and flaws. I’m asking what is the history of a country that would make x happen.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. What is my book about? 

{that’s always an awkward question to ask. I’m learning “Ummm…” is not the correct answer.}

Prostitution. Slavery. Redemption.

The one-liner: Orphaned as a child and raised in a brothel, Hajaryah is forced to serve the lusts of men. But when a childhood friend returns and challenges her acceptance of the law, Hajaryah must decide whether to accept her fate or face her fears.

Time after time I’ve found myself having to stop in the midst of my writing and just pray. Some times I have to close the computer or flip to something lighter. It is emotionally draining to create a character who is so hurt, so scarred. To read articles on how the Roman brothels were filled with slaves stolen from other countries and above the a painting of the sex act and price the woman performed. To know mass infant graves have been found outside an ancient brothel in England, leading archaeologists to believe  the child of a prostitute was immediately met with infanticide. Sometimes it’s all too much.

I feel the weight and magnitude of sin and what makes me want to curl up and cry is this isn’t just a story. This isn’t a retelling of history. When I feel it’s too much and I can’t keep writing, I remember myself…this is someone’s reality.

Did you know…?

  • There are 27 million modern day slaves.
  • Every 60 seconds, a child is sold for sex worldwide.
  • Human trafficking is the third largest global industry, behind drugs and guns.

There are girls fooled and lead into sexual slavery, women sold by their families to pay the rent, girls mourning their childhood…or their children. And what of the girl crying herself to sleep tonight after being smothered by a man’s sin? It’s disgusting and it’s sad, but it’s real.

And so I write.

It’s for their voice I labor in these pains of inarticulate words. Tell my story, they whisper. Shed light.

But I can’t just write. I am compelled to act.

I’m partnering with The Exodus Road as a blogger to share stories of rescue and the good work they do. Haven’t heard of The Exodus Road?

The Exodus Road exists to empower the rescue of victims of sexual slavery. Operating primarily in Southeast Asia, we believe that a major component of fighting human trafficking and child slavery lies in working with local law enforcement to find situations of trafficking and to then assist in the rescue of victims and the prosecution of criminals.

The Exodus Road “fuels covert investigative teams around the world as they work to find, document, and free victims of sexual slavery.”

I look forward to sharing stories of rescue with you and ways you can help end slavery.

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”
― William Wilberforce

Rescue is coming. Will you be a part of it?

 

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