If you have heard anything about American history, or world history, you have probably at some point heard of the slave trade that took place from the late 1400′s to the 1800′s. That’s about 400 years worth of lives being bought and sold and about 400 years of the mentality being passed down from one generation to the next that human life, if of a certain culture or race or gender or religion, can be expendable.
If you think the slave trade ended in America with Abraham Lincoln, and if you think that slavery is a thing of the past, and if you think that there’s no way there could ever be slavery around anymore in this day and age… I’ve got some sad news for you.
The slave trade is very much still an issue today. In our world, slavery is actually at it’s highest that it has ever been. More than 30 million people are trapped in some form of slavery today, also known as human trafficking (Not For Sale Campaign). Thirty million. Say that with me… thhhiirrrrrttttyyyyy miiiilllliiiooonnnnnnn. Holy, big number. That’s a whole lot of lives that need fighting for.
Out of those thirty million, an estimated 700,000 to 4 million women and children are trafficked each year for the sole purpose of sex. That number, in my opinion, seems a bit low, and far too big of a scale to truly be accurate. But, I can assure you, the number of women and children trapped in the sexual slave trade is staggering, and an estimated 17,500 of them are trafficked into the United States each year for the same services.
These women and children generally happen into sex trafficking by one or more of these following ways:
- They are sold to traffickers by their own friends and family. This seems rough, neglectful, and completely absurd, but it is 100% true. Mostly this is true of families in poorer countries, like Cambodia and other Southeast Asian countries. Families can tend to become larger, and villages then seem to get smaller in terms of food to provide for everyone. A father and mother may sell their daughter to a trafficker fully knowing what is going to happen, because they seriously need the money.
- The parents willingly send their children off with strangers, whole-heartedly believing that they are doing the right thing. They believe this, because the traffickers tell them so. Traffickers don’t just waltz into a village and say, “give me your daughters! I’m going to let a minimum of 10 men per night rape them for the next few months or years so that I can make money!” No. They waltz in, all friendly like, and announce that there are opportunities in the big cities where the daughters can work and earn money to send back home to mom and dad to help support brother and sister. They are friendly. They win the trust of these unsuspecting parents. They take advantage of the undereducated and poor, and entire villages can be tricked.
- The girls are kidnapped. Kidnapped, right out of their beds in the middle of the night. Or snatched up as they’re walking to or from school on the side of the road. Or plucked from the fields. Or stolen from the market like fresh produce. The traffickers don’t care — they see an opportunity and an expendable source, and they run with it.
Other ways that girls get trapped in trafficking include things like how they ran away from home, or got a “boyfriend” who is significantly older than her and treats her well (most common in the United States and other Western countries). Easier targets in the West include girls with “daddy issues.” The girls that are looking for love in all the wrong places. They are the at-risk in America.
But I’m not talking about America. I’m talking about Cambodia. Numbers 1, 2, and 3 are all ways that girls in Cambodia are sucked into the trafficking ring. Girls are forced to service as many as 10 men a night. They are often beaten, drugged up, and are more than likely raped.
You may be asking why they don’t just run away, right? They can’t. They could, but they can’t. The traffickers have such a hold on these girls, it’s unbelievable. They threaten to kill family and friends, they threaten to kill the girls themselves, they threaten to turn the police on them… all of these things scare the girls enough that they don’t dare run away.
Alright. Now that we know the very basics of the world of sex trafficking, let’s get down to business.
In August of 2011, I, Megan, will be going on a trip to Cambodia to work at the Rapha House with formerly trafficked and/or exploited girls. While there, the team and I will be basically just loving on the girls. Being friends with them, playing games, giving them the childhood they never truly had.
The trip is going to cost about $3,000. That number will cover travel fees, a passport, any shots I will need, food for the two weeks, housing, and possibly any extra things that may pop up. Because of the nature of the trip, I can’t disclose where we’ll actually be located in the country. But I can tell you, this trip will be amazing and so life changing. I have been wanting to go to the Rapha House since I was about 16. Back in 2007, Rapha House was the mission for Christ In Youth’s summer conference. Since then, I have been determined to one day go and love on those girls. And now I am finally getting the chance.
The trip will take place from August 7th to the 21st, and we will be traveling around the country that whole time.
First and foremost, I am asking for your prayers. Prayers for the team, prayers for me, prayers that God’s will would be done, and prayers for the girls and the lives that we will be touching while we are in a completely different country.
On top of prayers, I am asking for money. Yes, money. Big surprise. There will be a paypal donation button up shortly and a counter of some sort to let you know how close I am to the goal. Please prayerfully consider donating, because I know I don’t have $3,000 of my own.
If you have any more questions, see the ‘contact’ page and shoot me an email.