January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Human trafficking is right here in our own backyard. In an article by Kent Faulk at al.com, Rep. Jack Williams, R-Vestavia, who is the chairman of the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force, shared some alarming facts about this epidemic, as well as some encouraging steps being taken to help rescue more victims.
- More than 27 million people worldwide are victims of sex and labor trafficking. According to statistics on The Wellhouse site 80% are women and 50% are children.
- A 17-year old girl from Birmingham was trafficked (bought and sold) in 4 states since she was 12 years old. A Georgia man was charged with sexual trafficking in January 2013 in that case.
- Interstate 20 from Texas to South Carolina is the “Sex Trafficking Superhighway” as traffickers use it to move their victims.
- The Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force, has created a website, www.enditalabama.org, which includes facts, warning signs of someone who may be exploited, and where to go for help.
- Rep. Williams plans to introduce legislation in the Spring session that will prevent teenage trafficking victims from being charged with prostitution.
- The Wellhouse is a Christian ministry founded in 2010 here in Birmingham by Tajuan McCarty that works to rescue victims of sexual trafficking. They received 1,400 direct service and crisis related calls in 2014.
Isaiah 61:1, 7 – “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners;…..Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, and instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, everlasting joy will be theirs.”
Lord Jesus, You are our Rescuer and Redeemer. You performed the ultimate prisoner exchange when You gave Your life to ransom us from Satan. Not only do You redeem, but You also restore us. You take us from being enemies and children of wrath and make us beloved children of God seated with You in the heavenly places. (Eph. 2:1-6) Hallelujah!
My words seem inadequate to pray for such a devastating and overwhelmingly huge issue as this. Thank You for Your Word that guides and gives us words to pray. Lord Jesus, we pray that every captive being used in the sexual trafficking industry would be set free. John 8:36 says if You set us free, we will be free indeed, and so we pray that the victims of human trafficking would experience freedom in You, as well as in their circumstances. We pray for practical, emotional, mental, physical and spiritual liberty for every man, woman and child currently enslaved in this horrific industry. Bind up the deep, deep wounds in their spirits as only You can, Jesus.
Set them free from shame, Lord. Let them experience Your favor and blessing. We pray that the metro-Birmingham area would not be known as a hub or thoroughfare for this business, but that instead it would become known as the place of rescue and safety for victims. We pray that You would continue to make us aware of the problem, and show us how to help. Transform the negative stereotypes we tend to have, and let us see the situation and the victims through Your eyes of grace and mercy. We pray that Your truth and light would prevail against the lies and the darkness which have allowed this industry to become as large as it is.
We pray for Rep. Jack Williams and the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force. Give them wisdom and discernment as they make policies to bring awareness and rescue to the victims in our own state and cities. We also pray for ministries such as The WellHouse who are providing rescue, redemption and provision to the victims. We pray that You would provide all the resources they need to continue the work that they do. We pray that the directors and leadership team would keep their eyes on You, because You are the only Way, Truth and Life for those lost in the darkness of the sex industry.
Jesus, this part is harder for me to pray, because my flesh wants to despise the pimps and traffickers. Yet, they, too, are caught up and enslaved in this lifestyle. It’s not what You created them to do, and they cannot find what they are looking for through their choices. We pray for salvation to come upon these men and women who are the perpetuators of these crimes and slavery. They are afflicted by sin in ways that are hard to fathom. We pray that You would bring Your good news even to them. If the traffickers get set free through the Gospel, it would prevent new victims. Thank You, Jesus, that nothing and no one is too bad for Your grace to cover.
To You, who are our Light and Salvation, we pray all this and more. Amen.
Mission Birmingham, which is the ministry through which this blog was initiated, and The WellHouse partnered together toward the end of 2014 with Picture Birmingham to create a calendar. It includes beautiful photos from around the Birmingham area, along with Scripture-based prayer prompts to help us pray for our cities. The proceeds from the calendar sales go to The WellHouse and Mission Birmingham. Right now, the calendars are on sale for just $12 while supplies last. Visit Picture Birmingham if you would like to order one.