I’ve been reading a book called, “In Our Backyard: A Christian Perspective on Human Trafficking in the United States” by Nita Belles. This book intrigued me by the title. I was so glad I read this. If you are thinking that you want to get involved with trafficked victims, I think this is well worth the read. There are several things that I really appreciated about this book.
One of the things I cannot get past in teaching people is how the predators prey on their victims. One of the things that really struck me was the following two excerpts from the book.
Pimps and traffickers know how to sniff out and exploit vulnerability, and not just the kind that comes from living in situations of poverty, neglect, and abuse. They know that in many cases being a typical teenager can make any young girl vulnerable.
Think about that for a minute. How many of us say, “they are just a typical girl”? I know I’ve heard that from more than one parent Christian or otherwise. That is a dangerous statement to make. That could be the exact thing a predator is looking for. I think that we need to start realizing that living in the right home or neighborhood does not make any one of the children less of a target. Even using that educational card “School of Choice” does not guarantee a full-proof option of keeping your child from a predator.
Cougars, like most predatory wild animals, can spot vulnerability. If the cougar sees a small human, a child, it is likely to attack because it knows that it can win the fight. An adult who curls up in a ball upon coming into visual contact with a cougar is likely to be attacked because he or she has become small and defenseless.
The same principle holds true with traffickers/pimps. They aren’t guided by any sense of morality or right and wrong, only by the feeling that they can overpower certain targets. Of course, when it comes to young children, they don’t even have to fight to claim their prize.
It can become a fine line between paranoia and letting girls be girls, but when I look back at the things my mother did that I used to get so upset at…. I thank God for that protection. I have no doubt that because of her “rules” and nosiness, that it saved my life from traffickers. I have no doubts whatsoever that I could very easily been trafficked after I read so many stories from survivors. So I cannot stress enough learning how to protect your child. Predators even train whom they call “bottom bitches” to recruit in the schools. This is probably what makes it most scary as schools that were once safe places to learn have now become a predators hunting ground.
But what makes everything more vital for BRANCH, is realizing that when victims are captured, they need a safe place. They need a place where they are going to feel love, find structure, and know that there truly is someone who cares to walk them through all the milestones in their life that had previously been missed. Nita Belles writes,
It’s an extreme uphill battle for the trafficking survivor of any age to move past the horrors of captivity–the months or years of terror, abuse, neglect, pain, subjugation, and humiliation–and live normal, healthy, productive lives. The resulting deep, lasting scars might seem beyond healing. But those of us who approach the work of ending this modern-day horror from a Christian standpoint know we serve a God who is big enough to reach out in love and who has the power to heal not only human trafficking’s victims, but sometimes its perpetrators as well. For often, they, too, have been victimized.
So I want to thank you for being a part of BRANCH and continually praying and supporting us. We want those whose lives we touch to feel those prayers. To know that the homes that are built for them are filled with love and support and protection. Everything we do here at BRANCH is a labor of love by God to provide what they need to overcome all those abuses. It is important we learn as much as we can to provide them plenty of options in their lives to make them the treasures God has designed them to be. So let’s continue to learn all we can to provide the right type of environment for such precious women.