At lunch, I ran into a girl who was the first every person to contact me about being trafficked. She was about high school age when she first contacted me years ago saying she had gone to a concert out of state with a guy she was dating and the next thing she knew, she woke up surrounded by people speaking other languages, everything hurt and she didn’t know where was or how long she had been there. Months went by being moved around, blindfolded, beaten, starved, drugged. She recognized a pattern of “customers” finding out about her through a site called Backpage.com. Luckily, the motel she was in was raided by the government and she was rescued. She went to the Backpage site and found an ad for her sexual services being offered, written in broken English, with a picture someone copied and pasted from Facebook. Now here she is, Backpage seized by the federal government, her traffickers incarcerated, her physical safety restored, standing in front of me at a taco place, talking to me about the recovery program she is on her way to—just stopped by there for lunch.
Who is responsible for what happened to her? Is it the guy who faked being interested in her to lure her out of state? Is it the translator who put her information on a solicitation site? Is it the muscle man who beat the girls into submission? Is it the drug dealer who supplied addiction methods for the girls to stay too disoriented to try to escape? Is it the men who responded to and acted on the ad they saw on Backpage?
Flip the script.
Who is responsible for her being rescued? Is it the I.T. guy doing internet research on where she was located? Is it the officer tasked to the job? Is it the tax payer who paid for the man hours to find her? Is it the police chief who decided THIS case was the one they were going to work on first? Is it the detective who wouldn’t leave a question mark unanswered? Is it the people back home praying for her safety & rescue?
The point is that it takes a network of good to take down a network of evil.
When she sat down in front of me years ago pouring her heart out completely shattered and shaken, she was begging for healing in her body, in her memories, in her hope for the future, in her social norms, in her dreams, in her view of mankind and of God. No person is the fix all for that. I only know one Man who can heal at every level and His name is Jesus but it may not be instantly.
It is easy to think, “That is so much pain in one person. That is beyond what I can help with.” She sat in front of me needing a Savior and our appropriate response is to acknowledge that I am just one part of the body of Christ and it is going to take all of the body parts coming together for someone to encounter the real Jesus.
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ… But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 18-19).
We cannot despise our measly resources simply because they are not someone else’s. We cannot be so prideful to think that our one resource will be the fix all for someone to encounter the healing of Jesus and the end of human trafficking. It takes all of us working together as a network—understanding and supporting one another’s skills and resources, being ready to bring in reinforcement if there is a resource needed that we don’t have.
It takes every praying person, every teacher, every doctor, every psychologist, every giver, every systems builder, every encourager, every therapist, every mentor. We must each set aside our pride when we are shocked that we cannot fix trafficking within our one self. We MUST embrace the humble miracle it is to be one body part that contributes to a complete healing in someone else.
So what can YOU do?
Kelsey Payton is passionate about seeing people recognize their potential and purpose in loving God and loving others. She has been an anti-trafficking activist and missionary since 2009. Kelsey enjoys running, worshipping God, and spending time with her family (pictured left).
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