Human Trafficking. People are talking about it all over America, even all over the world. It is not a new evil; trafficking has been happening since Bible times—since Genesis in fact, when Joseph’s brothers sold him into forced slavery (Genesis 37).
Recently, however, the spotlight of the world has focused on how big and how horrible this problem really is. People care. And they want it stopped.
I am one of those people. I spent years on the mission field, in places where human life was little valued and I was often overwhelmed by the sheer need. When health problems brought my family home from the field, I wanted to remain involved, particularly with my favorite trafficking rescue ministry, Women At Risk International.
Women At Risk International (WAR) has been rescuing women and children all over the world, America included, since its inception in 2006.
They use all kinds of different methods to rescue victims. Sometimes they will go into shady hotels, where older men pay to spend time with young trafficked girls. My friend Becky, the founder of WAR Int., says she’ll get into the elevator with them and surprise the girl (who is expecting to be ignored or to be looked at with disdain) by looking her straight in the eye and giving her a “God smile.” In different ways, they subtly take opportunities, in bathrooms or restaurants, to privately ask the women and girls if they are there against their will. If the girl admits she’s trapped and is willing to risk it, they help her escape.
If and when she escapes, they take the girl to a safe house, where she can live free, make jewelry or do some other work that gives her dignity and worth, and hear about the One who loved her enough to die for her—the God who has no qualms about having followers who used to be prostitutes (Joshua 2).
The women in my church loved the WAR Int. jewelry parties some friends and I hosted. I imagine they were expecting third-world souvenir-style jewelry and were more than pleasantly surprised by the black, white and pink pearl sets, the Swarovski crystals, and other unique pieces like the yak-bone necklace I bought, not to mention the incredible scarves, purses and even ipod holders.
We raised over two thousand dollars at just one of these jewelry parties. Women felt good—for one because shopping is fun!—but also because they knew that everything they bought would help rescue more women and children from evil.
And now I have a new way to promote Women At Risk Int.—through my new book, Stolen Woman, a Christian suspense novel about a young woman who goes to India on a summer missions trip and meets Rani, a teen stolen from her home and forced into prostitution in Kolkata.
This book is a special project for me for several reasons. One is that I hoped to create a way to present missions to interested young people, who might be turned away by the more linear biographical accounts. Also, through the main character’s struggles, I wanted to address something I myself have struggled with, namely the desire to prove my worth by doing and being something significant. Stolen Woman shows the character chasing after this significance, and having to learn the hard way that God’s will is most important, no matter how big or small it feels at the time.
One of the main reasons I wrote Stolen Women, however, was to connect caring believers with human trafficking rescue ministries. Two pages at the end of the book showcase Women At Risk Int., and the book’s website, www.stolenwoman.org, has many links to human trafficking outreaches.
I have to admit, I really enjoyed writing the story. In it, I got to revisit Asia, introduce readers to my lovable street-kid friends, and create a romance in a suspenseful setting (my favorite type of book to read, by the way).
Stolen Woman is my way of fighting human trafficking. I pray God uses my book to rescue some woman out there who has yet to be given hope.
Perhaps God wants you to fight with me. If so, you can host your own jewelry party (see www.warinternational.org), or pass the word about my new book.
Trafficking is indeed a horrible, overwhelming evil, a seemingly impossible problem. However, the beautiful truth is, with God nothing is impossible. We have the love of the Creator of the universe, and the freedom of perfect peace.
Let’s share it!