On the Road again…
Six years ago our family set out on our first mission trip. Our first stop was visiting a family working in Guatemala. We had a lovely dinner catching up with their lives, their work in Guatemala and watching our kids play together. Just as we were leaving for the night, we met 2 young interns that were in Guatemala to reach girls that were trafficked. I had heard the term, but never really thought much about it. My poker face gave me away and one of the girls ran to her room and handed me a book. She was leaving the next day to go to a different town, but said I should skim through it and give it to her in the morning. That night I read that book cover-to-cover. It explained human trafficking in cities all over the world. It explained the undercover busts that were happening to rescue girls as young as 5 years old sold to a brothel. And it gave real life stories of people…men and women who were trafficked. The veil had been torn away and I no longer could plead ignorance to a major issue.
The issue gets me fired up, but it is the people’s faces that I have seen that make me put on the boxing gloves to fight for justice. It is their story that stirs my heart. Each story is different, but one thing stands out…each were praying for a deliverer. Someone that would fight for them, fight for justice, and help protect the next generation from the horrors of trafficking.
Since reading that book 6 years ago, the Williams Family has encountered human trafficking more than I ever thought we would. Every place we have served has been aware of the problem and seeking ways to combat it. We have sat with young girls in Ecuador who have been rescued; prayed on the street with women in the Dominican Republic that were still enslaved, had ice cream with girls from the Philippines who were learning to move on…the list goes on. Sadly, we have also heard of the sudden disappearance of girls in Indonesia, and held the hands of little children that live in communities that are targeted for trafficking.
The International Labor Organization estimates more than 40 million people are trafficked globally. 80% are women and children. The trafficking of women and children is the world’s fastest escalating crime and is a $150 BILLION dollar industry. The most common form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation. These are staggering statistics…and they are well documented.
And before we just move on from statistics and think, “Wow, that sucks!” Just stop and think about any little girl you know aged 7-12…they are the hottest commodity on the market right now. Young virgin girls. I have 2 of such girls sit at my dinner table every night and it makes my stomach lurch and my heart hurt to even think about that happening to any girl. Much less MILLIONS of them. Something needs to be done.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you lived and lived well.” Ralph Waldo EmersonThis year we are setting out on a journey to Amsterdam, Belgium and Germany. Three European countries that have the highest rates of trafficked women and children. Each country has made prostitution legal, which has a direct correlation to the amount of trafficking into that country. Simple supply and demand.
There are some amazing organizations on the front lines providing resources, safe houses, rest and recovery for those rescued and working at prevention. We will be visiting several of them.Do we know much about human trafficking? Not really. Are we willing to learn? Sure! But more than a willingness to learn is a stirring in our heart to take action. To see even just one life be changed because of our efforts. If one of our daughters were sold into slavery, we would not stop fighting until we found a way to rescue her. I believe God is calling us to hit the front lines and rescue others’ daughters. We aren’t totally sure what that looks like yet, but I am confident that God is in it and will direct our steps. We are willing to go and love people and I think that is what is needed at the moment.“So long as you can sweeten another’s pain, life is not in vain.” Helen KellerWe have connections to ministries working in Amsterdam and have personal connections in Belgium and Germany. Each of them know our heart; the mission of The Yada Project, and have invited us to come see how we can get involved. We are excited to see how God will use us. One of our greatest points of participation is through prayer. Each of the places we will be visiting has a time of prayer daily for their efforts and the people they minister to…what a great first step to getting involved!
On the road again…