Here’s the bottom line: in every nation of the world, one can see the oppression of children. No matter how one views the wars and the skirmishes, the occupations and the trafficking, the rationed medical care and the failure to administer the Covid vaccine, the stark reality is a picture of child endangerment and physical, sexual and emotional abuses.
The estimated number of children trafficked around the world is 5.5 million. They suffer violence, exploitation and abuse — ending up in forced marriage, prostitution, illegal adoption, labor, drug smuggling, begging and armed recruitment. They are taken from all around the world and sold by human traffickers as slaves. Child trafficking is linked to demand for cheap labor, especially where the working conditions are poor. Children may be forced into many dangerous and/or illegal situations, including slavery, domestic labor, sexual exploitation or prostitution, drug couriering and/or being turned into child soldiers.
And then, we must remember the immigrant children who have been separated from parents or guardians. An NBC News report on June 8, 2021 cites a 22-page progress report submitted to President Joe Biden last week by the task force for reuniting families. The report indicates that 2,127 children are awaiting their reunions. The report also states that 3,913 children separated from their families between July 2017 and January have been identified. The ACLU has said more than 5,400 children were separated at the border. The discrepancy, the DHS official said, is due to thousands of yet-to-be-reviewed files by the task force.
The estimated number of children trafficked around the world is 5.5 million. They suffer violence, exploitation and abuse — ending up in forced marriage, prostitution, illegal adoption, labor, drug smuggling and armed recruitment.
I could give many more statistics, hundreds of them, but we have all learned to hear statistics and simply dismiss them as irrelevant data. And yet, one single number in a spreadsheet of statistical information represents one particular child. A child stolen from her parents. A child exploited and enslaved. A child taken from the arms of protection and forced into danger. There is high lethality in child trafficking. A child loses his or her life forever because it is impossible to return to the life the child once knew.
So I will spare you from any more abysmal statistics. Instead, I want to share with you a portion of passionate, heartbreaking message I read today.
I wish to request that all those receiving this email pray for the children of Palestine living under a brutal Israeli occupation. Hardly a week goes by when 3-4 Palestinian children are summarily shot. Worst yet, Israel has not allowed the COVID vaccines to be administered in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza. If this is not a genocidal act, then what is? And to think that a $3.8 billion dollar aid package was only last week sent to Israel . . . Folks, if this generous give-away of your hard earned tax dollars does not peeve you, then I urge you to start reading the papers and informing yourselves about the many genocidal acts of terror against brown people – Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan. As Christians, we are called upon to stand up for the oppressed.
In Deep Sorrow,
Raouf J. Halaby
What does this tragic situation as expressed by Mr. Halaby have to do with us? Maybe nothing. Probably nothing. But wait! I want to talk more about the inconceivable practice of modern day slavery — child trafficking.
Could my child be kidnapped and trafficked? It doesn’t happen here!
A very common misconception about human trafficking is that it does not happen in the United States. The truth is that the United States is ranked as one of the worst countries globally for human trafficking. It is estimated that 199,000 incidents occur within the United States every year.
Here are the 10 states with the highest rates of human trafficking:
Victims of trafficking frequently do not seek help due to language barriers, fear of their traffickers, or fear of law enforcement. Because human trafficking is considered a hidden crime, we can be diligent in reporting it when we see it happening. But we have to know what to look for. Several key warning signs can help us recognize potential endangerment and notify law enforcement. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has a list of indicators we can use to help identify victims. These indicators include:
- Appearing malnourished
- Appearing injured or having signs of physical abuse
- Avoiding eye contact, social interaction, and law enforcement
- Responding in manners that seem rehearsed or scripted
- Lacking personal identification documents
- Lacking personal possessions
Every day there are things — bad things — that happen. Usually we think they have nothing to do with us, and usually they don’t, not directly at least. But the ministry of the Christ, who walked on this earth and who cared for the most vulnerable and endangered people he encountered, is our example. As Christians, do we follow Christ to the dangerous places? Do we pray for every child in every land, asking God to pay heed their circumstances and protect them from evil?
Prayer is the one thing, perhaps the most important thing, we can do. Mr. Halaby asks this of us: “I wish to request that all those receiving this email pray for the children of Palestine.” Let us start there, with that single request for prayer. And then, may all of us become more aware of the lives of children everywhere and pray that they will be protected from all harm.
Prayer is one thing we can do! Will we?
AWARENESS . . .
If you believe you may have information about a trafficking situation:
Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline toll-free at 1-888-373-7888:
Anti-Trafficking Hotline Advocates are available 24/7 to take reports of potential human trafficking.
Text the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 233733. Message and data rates may apply.
Chat with the National Human Trafficking Hotline via www.humantraffickinghotline.org/chat
Submit a tip online through the anonymous online reporting form below. However, please note that if the situation is urgent or occurred within the last 24 hours we would encourage you to call, text or chat.
The information you provide will be reviewed by the Trafficking Hotline. All reports are confidential and you may remain anonymous. Interpreters are available via phone call only. Learn more about the Hotline’s approach and policies regarding reporting trafficking situations to law enforcement.
Report missing children or child pornography to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678) or through their Cybertipline.
Another good resource is “Not for Sale” at https://www.notforsalecampaign.org/about-us/