In my experience, a calling is a slow and tedious process.
First, God will lay on my heart a problem, a concept, a song or a person.
Then, I will passionately try to plow ahead and do whatever it is that I feel God is leading me towards and I will smack up against roadblocks and brick walls. Nothing will go right or smoothly and I get irritated and question why this was laid on my heart if he’s going to leave me unfulfilled and powerless to help.
Next, a length of time passes by that I maintain an interest in the issue without trying to stick my fingers into the pie.
And either all at once or in minuscule increments, God puts opportunity in front of me to take steps. So I step.. and hesitantly step again.. and begin to realize that I am more prepared now than I would have been if I had dived in as a passionate newbie.
Such is the story of my journey to be an advocate for human trafficking victims. There wasn’t one “aha!” moment, but I can trace back a pattern of “hmmm” moments that helped lead up to this point; I was filling out a volunteer application and was faced with this question:
What is your knowledge of human trafficking?
- I’ve studied it for years, and I know what’s happening globally and in the U.S.
- I’ve heard of it overseas, but I don’t know what’s occurring in the U.S.
- This is all completely new to me.
I was able to circle option #1, but only because God has led me on a long and windy road that has slowly built years and years of interest, research, passion and drive for this issue. Maybe someday I’ll blog about how my interest in sex trafficking came about.
It is so easy to care. When you see statistics or pictures you may feel your heart stir toward these young women that are trapped into these dire situations, many times without really realizing or identifying that they are victims. I heard an interview where a young woman said that she made a conscious decision to enter into prostitution, but failed to reason that as a 12-13 year old girl that was a decision she should not have been faced with. Victims, whether of force or manipulation, are still victims. Many times these women are the ones who end up being arrested and tried for prostitution while their pimps and traffickers remain free.
Being an advocate is as simple as finding out what is realistic for you to do and then committing to doing that. If you can request a speaker for your church, great. If you can wear a t-shirt or re-post articles to Facebook, wonderful. Advocating for a cause doesn’t have to be super involved if you aren’t at a super involved place in your life.
Maybe for you this isn’t the topic that God is laying on your heart, and that is okay. Maybe this is a point in your life that you need to just read about it, just follow a few blogs and like a few organizations. All that I want to do with this blog is keep this issue at the forefront of people’s minds and give suggestions for how to get involved, because it can be overwhelming.
If you are a newbie, follow a few organizations on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Oasis of Hope and North Star Initiative (both in PA) are both in the restoration part of it, opening safe houses for girls that have been rescued from domestic trafficking. The Exodus Road (Colorado based) actually does investigative research both in the States and overseas, gathering enough evidence to go in and bust traffickers and rescue victims. The Polaris Project (DC) does a lot of work in the legislation and political aspects of the fight against slavery. There are also tons of others, some of my favorites are RescueHer, Traffick911 (both in TX), Love146 (task forces all over the world), Not In My Back Yard (PA), Rapha House (MO), and Bridging Hope (FL).
Even if these organizations aren’t local to you, following them on social media can help you keep updated on what is going on in the country and the world. For the laziest abolitionist, this is step #1.
I am now moving on to actually being an official volunteer with North Star Initiative and hopefully working closely with them while we see how far this calling of mine is going to go. Maybe I’m called to build websites and write blog posts, but like I said.. God always seems to take his time. 🙂