Last week I had the privilege of speaking at the National Chosen Advocates Association Summit on Human Trafficking in Denver, Colorado. The CAA has a vision to
build the first comprehensive medical Research Human Trafficking Healing Center that will specialize in treating the medical, psychological, and spiritual conditions of men, women and children that have been victimized by human trafficking.”
I was looking forward to meeting several big names in the human trafficking fight at this event. Survivors, Jerome Elam and Theresa Flores, shared their powerful stories. After having done an interview with Jerome by phone it was lovely to meet him in person. Former FBI Agent, Greg Bristol and Sergent Daniel Steele of the Denver Police Department both spoke about this fight from a law enforcement perspective.
The conference took place on Friday, September 11th. In memory of all of those who lost their lives in 2001, they opened the conference with a moment of silence followed by the singing of our national anthem. It was very powerful. My job was to open the conference by defining human trafficking and share what the average person could do about it.
Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly sure where to begin. I was still caught in the moment of remembering those whose lives were profoundly impacted on that same day 14 years earlier. Then it hit me.
I can ask anyone listening where they were on September 11th, and without me stating it, they would know exactly what year I was referring to without question.
The same could be said of you. The very thought of September 11th would bring about certain emotions and memories automatically. Hasn’t it?
I was standing on a stage at a local Christian school as the speaker for their elementary chapel service. My topic for the day was the omnipresence of God, not an easy topic to convey to elementary school students. After all, it’s difficult for adults to grasp the meaning of omnipresence,
present everywhere at the same time.”
When I walked outside of the school, parents were standing in the parking lot crying. They tried to convey to me what was happening. I drove to a friend’s house who lived close to the school and sat with her as we watched the towers crumble.
Dust and debris were everywhere. People were running out – filthy, dirty, and in some cases bleeding and wounded. We all saw the pictures, frozen in time, etched into our very minds.
But there were others, they were running too, but the difference is, they weren’t running out. They were running in…
- into the danger
- into the chaos
- into the darkness
They were the brave men and women of the fire department, law enforcement, medical personnel, and some average citizens. They knew the cost was high. They knew there was great danger tied to their actions.
They knew they may lose their very lives, but they couldn’t turn away, as if it hadn’t happened.
There were people, trapped, frightened, and possibly alone. People, who thought no one knew where they were and even if they did, that no one would come after them, no one would care enough to risk to save them.
Today, 14 years later, we face another national horror in epic proportions. It’s claiming lives as quickly as a ticket taker at the movie theater. It’s called human trafficking. Men, women, and children are disappearing from life as they knew it. They are taken from parents, brothers, sisters, and friends.
They may be dirty, they may be wounded, they may be bleeding. They may feel alone, abandoned, forgotten. What would you do if you could help them? Would you? Would you look the other way and walk by, or would you choose to run into the darkness? Would you be the key?
Symbols and phrases are often used to identify organizations. We wanted whatever we chose at Rescuing Hope to have depth and meaning to it. Keys are used to unlock things: doors, windows, and boxes, but also potential, hopes and dreams. When something is said to be key in a situation, it means it is important, critical, necessary.
In the fight against sex trafficking, people – those in the fight full time and volunteers – are the key to releasing the captives, helping them see they have value and worth, helping them go from victim to survivor to thriver. People are the key to funding the work, spreading the word, and ending this heinous crime once and for all.
So how can you be the key? For a list of opportunities, you can go here. Find the organization that lines up with your interests and get plugged into the fight. We would love for you to partner with Rescuing Hope. You’re not only wanted, but you’re needed.
In the words of one of my favorite historical abolitionists, William Wilberforce,
You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.”
Choose to Be the Key!