Last weekend, Glenn and I made a whirlwind trip to Atlanta in order to receive training from StreetGrace on a very heartbreaking topic. It is one that has become a conversation not only in Christian circles but in our world. The topic was on what is now being referred to as DMST (Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking). I used to hear this term and think that it was something that happened somewhere else and there was not a whole lot we could do....until now. It may hit closer to home than I ever could imagine because I think we know a young lady in Atlanta who may be involved in this horrific crime. So we went....for her and for other young people like her and for those who may be at risk.
Here was a statistic that knocked the breath out of me:
DMST is a part of Human Trafficking which is estimated to generate $32-$39 billion annually.
Ok.....remember that number: $32-$39 Billion a year.
Now here is some perspective:
That is MORE than the yearly net income of McDonalds, Google and Walmart COMBINED.
One of the takeaways for me was the fact that although people are working towards rescuing these girls and women, there needs to be a HUGE emphasis on prevention so that more are not added to that number. That is where programs like The Dream Campaign come in.
It happens to kids in the inner-city as well as the gated communities. No socio-economic class is free from risk.
So, what can we do?
Well first, pray. Pray for those innocent precious children who are victims of this crime. And pray for those who have been rescued and are facing a life time of healing and therapy.
Second, educate yourself on the topic. This is a "hidden" crime that is happening right under our nose. Atlanta is one of the top cities in the nation where this is happening, connected by an interstate system to the other major cities. Savannah sits on the map between many of them. It's here in our city as well. It could quite possibly be in your neighborhood.
Third, if you have children, know what they are doing. So many of the victims are being LURED by people who they meet online or in the mall and other public places. Know who your child is talking to and hanging out with. It IS your right and responsibility as a parent to stay informed.
Fourth, consider investing in the life of another youth as a mentor. There are many children/youth who get lured into this because someone pays attention to them. Someone offers to love and take care of them. Someone makes them promises that become something very twisted. Someone offers to fill a void which often has to do with the lack of an involved parent.
Above all, NEVER believe that this is something that is CHOSEN by the victim. It can be tempting to say, "they knew better than to go there and do that this and that." While poor choices may have landed them in a situation to be prone to this...no one chooses the outcome.
I hate to lay such a heavy topic on you, but you can't be effective towards ending something if you don't know about it.
So, what will you do? You can't unlearn it.
If you are interested in investing in the life of an at-risk youth, please visit our website to learn more about us and volunteer opportunities.
If you would like to receive more information about future training on this topic, please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to support our ministry financially as we proactively work to engage students on prevention, give them the tools to navigate this issue and provide them with mentors who will be positive and consistent, click here: Donate.
This is a war against our children and we need to be prepared to fight it. It's happening....in some of our own backyards.
Becoming Battle Ready,