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Beaten, Branded, Bought and Sold

May 4, 2017

 

 

For an engineer who could put “Creator of the Universe” on his resume, Jesus is pretty bad at basic math.

 

“What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray,

does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?”

Matthew 18:12

 

Wait a second Jesus. Clearly, 99 sheep are more important than one sheep.  Abandoning the 99 puts them at risk. Forget the single lost sheep, Jesus. You can’t really suggest that we should risk the majority for the sake of one lost sheep. This math makes no sense.

 

Unless...

 

Unless there is something different about one lost sheep. Jesus tells us that this sheep has gone astray. It is this single point—being astray and lost, with no chance for redemption unless someone seeks them out—that causes “the one” to far outweigh “the many”. This isolation adds to the importance of one sheep that for Jesus, in that moment, nothing else matters.

 

At Getting Back to My Future, we are stepping forward and grappling with Jesus’ upside-down math problem. We are determined to reflect His focus by seeking out the most astray. We will concentrate our efforts on reaching the 1% that are in the greatest danger—those with zero chance at redemption unless they are pursued and rescued.

 

One we are focusing on is sex slaves. Young people lured into the sex industry off our streets by sexual predators looking to profit by selling these girls to other predators.

 

Please take a moment to let that sink in. Teens that you may know or teens that you see in the store every day are actively being recruited to enter a lifestyle of abuse and slavery. The idea that right now, 13-year-olds from your community are being used as slaves to satisfy a man’s lust is both tragic and maddening.

 

It’s not a faraway problem. I spent 4 years working in Manitoba and it seemed almost weekly a young, native girl went missing from the streets of Winnipeg. I’m not picking on Winnipeg, it’s happening in every city in Canada. I just know Winnipeg best.

 

I also don’t think it is a coincidence that it is mostly native kids. I believe there would be a greater outcry if the children going missing had blonde hair and blue eyes. It certainly would not have taken so long for the inquiry into missing women to start. Racism is still alive in this country.

 

By Definition

 

Human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of a human slave! Modern slave masters exploit people through abduction, debt bondage, coercion, fraud, and deception to profit from them through labor or sexual servitude.

 

Some Statistics

 

  • The RCMP estimate 600-800 Canadians are trafficked each year for sexual purposes.

  • An additional 1,500–2,200 persons are trafficked through Canada to the United States

  • Domestic human slavery in Canada is predominately seen with young aboriginal or marginalized girls being coerced into prostitution at an average age of 12 years old .

  • 1.2 MILLION children exploited by global sex trade yearly

  • For every 800 people trafficked, only one person is convicted

 

The Targets

 

Many pimps often use a “lover-boy” technique to recruit girls from public and high schools. He will present himself as a boyfriend and woo the girl with gifts, promises of fulfilled dreams, protection, adventure – whatever she perceives she is lacking.

 

Traffickers target locations youth frequent such as social media sites, schools, malls, parks, bus stops, shelters and group homes. Runaway or homeless youth as well as those with a history of physical and sexual abuse have an increased risk of being trafficked.

 

We shouldn’t be okay with this.

 

As Christ-followers, we are compelled by God’s Spirit to do something more and begin creating real solutions for these young people. As a country and as a church, we need to devote greater resources and manpower to pioneer effective models that will have a sustainable impact in the lives of trafficked teens. And as we seek these lost sheep, we hear Jesus’s mission statement ringing in our ears…

 

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Luke 4:18

 

It is difficult to get a firm number on exactly how many teens are being trafficked. Those more experienced with the issue tell me this number is growing, and my reading of scripture tells me that even one is too many. Jesus’ tale of 99 sheep tells us we should not wait for a critical mass to develop before we begin a rescue mission. A single lost child is worth our entire pursuit.

 

Stepping Up

 

This is something that is difficult to examine. Knowing that there are people in our community who would commit such evil is unsettling. And knowing the faces and stories of the kids they have harmed is heartbreaking. Don’t let that cause you to turn away from the horror. It would certainly be easier for us to ignore this problem and stay with the 99 safe sheep. But we cannot.

 

Our hope is to bring understanding of the risk factors posed to teens you may know, and the hope that is available through a mobilized Body of Christ.

 

What You Can Do

 

  1. Pray for those in bondage.

  2. Get informed.

  3. Speak out on behalf of those in need. Many are unaware of the problem of human trafficking and how to help.

  4. Act to help those in bondage: This can range from volunteering in an anti-trafficking organization to financial giving to teaching about the topic where you live.

  5. Support fair trade and survivor-made products.

 

Sex trafficking is a gross indignity to children who have been created in God’s image. As followers of Christ, we have a responsibility to pray, to speak out against human trafficking and modern slavery, and to live in ways that help create change in the lives of those impacted by this tragic crime.

 

 

 

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