My mom has always been an inspiration to me, so when she said she emailed me something for An Uncomfortable January, I knew it would be good. And it is. So, here is what makes my mom so very uncomfortable.
Someone once said grandchildren are like a tonic. No matter what’s wrong or how bad you feel, once you get with those little ones everything is okay. I’ve found that’s true. I love being with my grand-kids. Making cookies. Blowing bubbles. Playing games. Their laughter is music to my soul.
That’s how it should be when you’re a grandmother, right? I thought so. But then my peaceful, happy little grandmother world was blown apart. Friday night I attended a meeting of UnBound, an organization that fights human trafficking. Human trafficking is slavery. Sex slavery is one form of human trafficking. Many of them are children the age of my granddaughter. My beautiful, innocent granddaughter.
As I was getting ready Saturday morning my mind wandered to the things I had heard the night before. I realized as I was putting on my mascara that in Asia it was night time. Little girls were in dank, dark rooms being abused. Their bodies torn and bleeding. Their cries unanswered. It was then I discovered my mascara was not waterproof. Older girls have given up hope of ever leading a normal life. The brothel is their home. Their bodies are often racked with disease and their dreams of the future destroyed.
Trafficking is not something that just happens “over there”. It’s right here in Texas. Houston, San Antonio and Dallas are major cities for trafficking. UnBound has volunteers helping to fight trafficking. Women search the internet at night to find girls who are being “offered” locally. They gather information and turn it over to the authorities. Lawyers offer their assistance regarding legal matters. Other people pray. Many are involved in getting the word out about trafficking and what signs to look for. Although only a year old, UnBound has been able to participate in the rescue of 2 girls, one who had been moved to the border and was hours away from being taken to a brothel in Mexico.
There are approximately 27,000,000 slaves in the world today. For a visual, imagine an ariel view of the stadium packed with people during the Super Bowl. If you were to put all the victims of human trafficking in Super Bowl stadiums, you would fill 386 stadiums. Human trafficking is a $32 billion a year business. A business. Organized. Intentional. Destroying lives.
So what’s a grandmother to do? I don’t have a law degree. I don’t think I could handle searching the internet. But I can pray. I can educate others. I can keep my eyes open for signs that someone is being trafficked. The very words “human trafficking” make me uncomfortable. They intrude on my picture perfect idea of being a grandmother. But I don’t think I’ll ever look at my granddaughter again without thinking of other little girls, other peoples’ granddaughters, who are exploited. Desperately wanting to be rescued. Wanting a chance at a normal life. Unable to do it on their own. They need me. They need us. We cannot turn a blind eye.
There’s a story about a man walking along the ocean. In an unusual set of circumstances, hundreds of starfish had been washed up on the beach. They were dying. The man saw a little boy pick up a starfish, walk to the water and toss it in. Then he repeated it with another starfish, and another. The man chided the little boy, telling him there were hundreds of starfish.He could never save them all and, actually, it didn’t matter. As the boy tossed a starfish back into the water he replied, “I bet it matters to that one.”