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Mercy Creates Freedom. Mercy Creates

My whole perspective about humanity changed after reading Not for Sale by David Batstone. This book was filled with stories of infants, children, and adults who were forced to do sexual or labor acts against their will. Some were coerced into it, emotionally played, promised wealth, and some were sold into these businesses by their own families—parents wanted money more than their own children!

Human Trafficking. Mercy Creates

With each story I read, I kept placing myself, my brother, and my best friend into these roles. There was no hope, dignity, innocence, love, or happiness… How could someone treat another human being—another image bearer of God—this way?

The Profile of Human Trafficking

I originally thought that only children were trafficked as child soldiers in Africa or as prostitutes in Asia, but there was more to “the profile” than I could ever imagine.

It’s refugees who don’t know the language or immigrants on visas who are given jobs in food services (restaurants in low-income areas or foreign foods?), healthcare services (nail salons or massage parlors?), cleaning (maid services?), landscaping, or carnivals.

It’s foster children and orphans who are sold for sexual acts and pornographic videos to settle debts.

In 2018, it’s webcams, snapchats, texting services, and phone lines where minors (especially of the LGTBQ community) are coerced or forced to engage.

Human Trafficking statistics. Mercy Creates

Trafficking doesn’t discriminant against gender, age, or ethnicity. There are reports of babies being prostituted and elderly forced into labor. The only qualification is to be human.

The Facts about Human Trafficking

According to the International Labour Organization, there are roughly 20.9 million victims of global human trafficking—68% are trapped in forced labor, 26% are children, and 55% are women and girls.

And according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, the top 10 states with the highest reported cases of human trafficking are California, Texas, Florida, Ohio, New York, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.

Every state is affected by human trafficking in someway, and it’s happening not only in the rural areas but also in the major cities. This isn’t an “overseas” problem or a problem that strikes impoverished areas. This is our problem, happening in our backyards.

Change and action is needed. Mercy Creates

The 2018 Dirty Dozen lists companies like Amazon, Backpage.com, Rocku, Snapchat, Steam, and Twitter as companies who profit or condone from sexual exploitation.

This is a $150 billion industry run solely on force, lies, and threats in order to obtain pleasure, wealth, and power. Yet we hardly ever hear about it.

There are millions of people involved in human trafficking, and billions of dollars traded through this industry—an industry of vulnerable people who only want to protect their families or have been forced against their will.

My Decision to Fight Human Trafficking

We do not have to live in shame or fear because His mercy is new every morning. His mercies create new freedoms every day to live and treat others with dignity and respect. (Core value of FREEDOM)

  • We create to inspire and to spur others on to positive action. Accepting the truth alone is not sufficient; action must be taken. Without action or change, knowledge alone brings no results.

  • We create to bring awareness to human trafficking. Specifically, to show dignity and respect to every human being as we are all image-bearers of God, the first and most creative Artist. “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:17)

Freedom is a core value of Mercy Creates. Before the financial software was picked, before the products were photographed, before the business license was submitted—this foundation pillar for the business was laid at our dining room table. We were able to give financially to organizations by selling pieces, but I often felt like there was more I could do.

Be faithful. Mercy Creates

When you commit to a truth and make it a priority in your life and business, God takes full advantage of that opportunity to show His power and grace.

Only two months after starting Mercy Creates, I was asked if I’d be interested in hosting the A21 Walk for Freedom in Charlotte, North Carolina. This is the organization’s global initiative to bring awareness to human trafficking and receive funds to sustain the aftercare, legal fees, and sting operations. Jake and I prayed about this undertaking and committed to being the official hosts for the 2017 Walk for Freedom.

It was a long process of acquiring permits, volunteers, signage, and marketing, but on October 14, 2017, a group of 230 men, women, and children walked through Uptown, Charlotte, in a silent walk to bring awareness to human trafficking. There was over $7,000 raised for A21, and it’s by far one of my proudest achievements. 

I’m still beyond humbled and amazed that God has picked me of the millions of people in Charlotte to lead this walk.

During the process of preparing the Walk for Freedom, I met a woman who had been involved in drug trafficking. She was in her early twenties, and in her teenage years, she listened to someone she trusted and was used and abused for smuggling drugs. She was found, rescued, hospitalized, and given aftercare and therapy. She and her mom came to meet me about helping with the Walk for Freedom after receiving care.

As she told me her story, I thought how she was just starting to pull her life back together and get back on her feet— she had no resources to her name, but that wasn’t going to stop her. Her ambition and drive for helping those who were vulnerable was so powerful and inspiring—she was going to do whatever she could with what she had to make sure this didn’t happen to anyone else. She eagerly grabbed stacks of posters and gave them to everyone in the coffee shop that morning.

We traded numbers, and she took more posters from me. I didn’t see her at the Walk for Freedom, but I know she’s doing whatever she can to help those who are vulnerable.

Your Response to Human Trafficking

It’s easier to not care about someone else, and it’s easier to stay in our own world with our coffees and Netflix. It’s easier to live in containment with our familiar friends, our work-play routine, and our own Instagram feed.

It’s easier, but it’s not right.

We don’t need thousands of dollars, superhuman abilities and talents, or the latest technology to fight human trafficking. 

We just need to be faithful in all “small steps” in order to win the war. What are those “small steps”?

  • Spread Awareness. We do have the resources to print posters and hang them in our coffee shops and bookstores. We do have the resources and ability to share on social media. We do have whatever platform God has given us to use a small part for His glory. You can even download a free quote pack here to spread awareness on your social media.

  • Give Financially. This may not be something we can commit to monthly, but any amount helps. I’ve been in fundraising situations where I was just as grateful for $15 as I was for $150. Money is a tool that can be used, regardless of how much is given.

    • There are websites available that will also give a certain percentage of your purchase to a charity you select.

      • Shop & Support (free service) will have merchants contribute up to 20% of your purchase to an organization you select. We support IJM through our purchases at Lowe’s PetSmart, Panera, and Hertz!

      • AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. We also support IJM through all purchases made with Amazon Smile.

      • Volunteer. Some organizations have internships, conferences, and volunteer roles available. An email is all you need to start the conversation.

        • Hi! I’m really passionate about fighting human trafficking, and I want to do whatever I can to help you and your organizations. Is there a way I can volunteer at your office?

        • Stay Educated. Statistics change every year, and tactics to prey on the vulnerable change every year. Follow these anti-human trafficking organizations on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to keep a pulse on the situation.

        • Pray. We often see this as underrated not immediate, but prayer is a powerful tool when disciplined. This will not only help our faith in the situation, but also prove a testimony that God is working in hearts and in the justice system.

Want to start TODAY and spread awareness about human trafficking? Download this FREE quote pack with prompts and start sharing on Facebook or Instagram!

Learn the facts and typology of human trafficking:

https://polarisproject.org/typology

https://endsexualexploitation.org/about/

https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign/indicators-human-trafficking

http://polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/facts

https://humantraffickinghotline.org/states

https://endsexualexploitation.org/dirtydozen-2018/

Get involved with these organizations:

http://a21.org

http://ijm.org

https://theexodusroad.com

https://enditmovement.com

https://www.notforsalecampaign.org

http://polarisproject.org

https://www.destinyrescue.org/us/

https://www.humansforjustice.org

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