God's Children Are Not For Sale

God's Children Are Not For Sale

9 minute read

by Tom Berry

"Child trafficking will surpass the drug trade soon.  Do you know why?  You can sell a bag of cocaine once.  A 5-year-old, you can sell them 5-10x a day, for 10 years straight." 

This is a quote by Tim Ballard, who built Operation Underground Railroad, a non-profit to rescue children from sex trafficking.  I began with this quote today to get your attention because, believe it or not, many people have very little understanding of how prolific this evil is in our world today. 

If you have not seen the The Sound of Freedom in the theaters, this week is a good week to show your support and get educated.  I was introduced to the wickedness of trafficking for sex 3 years ago.  I truly cannot fathom there being anything more evil than the trafficking of children.  It brings me to tears at times when I am talking to God about it.  At first, I was in disbelief that there was such an appetite for this abomination.  The more I learned, the more it has been on my heart to help.  This evil should be on the hearts of the media, our government, and the church.  It's not a focus for them.  In fact, you won't hear about The Sound of Freedom in the mainstream media very much.  We (the Jesus followers) are going to change that mindset and push back.  We are going to apply pressure on those in power to bring this to light.  The great folks at Angel Studios  are bringing you stories like The Sound of Freedom that amplify light.  

It's not just children that are being trafficked.  It's women in our very own communities trapped in the sex trade.  Here in Tampa, Karen & I have a group of friends that started a non-profit called Created.  This ministry is dedicated to reaching exploited women and walk alongside them, advocate for them and empower them to speak for themselves.  We have asked a few of them to share their experiences and thoughts here:

Conversation with Executive Director Lurlene Diaz :

How did God call you into this role? I personally became aware of the impact of Human Trafficking and the trauma it causes 27 years ago when a 14-year-old attending our after school program was being sold by her parents. At the time, this horrific crime was called child abuse and services for survivors were unheard of. We were granted custody of the young lady and did our best to support her through the healing process. Today, I am honored to be part of an organization that promotes and supports the healing and restoration of survivors of Human Trafficking. 

Please share with us a few words from the women you serve. This morning I sat down with the women from one of our homes. All the women were born American citizens, were trafficked locally, and were between the ages of 30-57. I asked them what they wanted the community to know about Human Trafficking. This is what they shared: some of the women were trafficked by family members/husbands. They were recruited as teens living on the street, by drug dealers, from jail or from on-line/dating web sites. They said "beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing." The men who trafficked them all claimed to care about them and were “helping” them. Addiction is often the precursor to being trafficked. The dealer and/or trafficker will give them whatever they want to gain control over them.

What do you want our readers to know about Created and other organizations like yours? Human Trafficking is the exploitation of vulnerabilities. Traffickers prey on people who have economic hardships, a recent relocation, come from unstable or abusive homes, or have a history of addition or mental illness. Many stays with or return to their trafficker because they provide security and meet their basic needs. If a victim of Human Trafficking suffers from addiction, they will do whatever is necessary to support their addiction. Most see no way out unless there is some type of intervention.  Created Women brings restoration to women who have been sexually exploited or sex trafficked. Created is a non-profit, non-denominational Christian organization committed to the restoration of vulnerable women involved in the sex industry to an understand of their value, beauty, and destiny in Christ. 

Lauren Cooper :

Please tell us about the work you offer to the women that have made it through the recovery program of Created?  I work with trafficked victims at Created’s social enterprise, Created Cuisine. In our daily tasks they are problem solvers, creators, and process developers working together to deliver our product with excellence. In many cases, we witness leadership skills emerge as they take ownership of our success. Working alongside these women, it is easy to forget they have traumatic pasts they are striving to overcome as their trust in their Savior grows. Watching them build confidence through faith and meaningful work is one of my greatest joys. They inspire me.

Rev. Kathy Conner :

How has volunteering with Created changed you? Meeting women in strip clubs and brothels on Friday nights in the darkest places of our city changed the trajectory of my heart.  I know I am on holy ground every time I go because Jesus is already there.  I can’t thank God enough for the privilege of joining the Created team to help reach, love and rescue women who have no idea that they are cherished and treasured by Jesus and by us!   

How awesome are these 3 amazing women!  Paul tells us in Romans 8:37  that we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  We are conquerors, not in our own strength, but in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  We are conquerors with faith and gratitude like Isaiah.  Isaiah heard God's voice asking "Who will go?"  Isaiah responded, "Here I am, Send me."  He responded immediately without any idea where he would be going or what the task entailed.  He jumped at the chance to serve God just like the 3 women above.

For me, one of the first things that comes to my mind after hearing these stories is justice.  God's passion for justice and his compassion for those who suffer injustice is quite clear in the bible.

Isaiah 61:8

I, the Lordlove justice!  But I hate robbery and injustice.  My people, I solemnly promise to reward you with an eternal agreement.

Psalm 11:7 

For the Lord is righteous, he loves justicethe upright will see his face.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4  

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Actively seeking justice on behalf of the weak and victims of oppression is one of God’s highest priorities and commands.  We want justice to prevail by holding the perpetrators accountable in courts of law.  

So, what can you do to help end the abhorrance of trafficking?

1.  Pray

This is a short prayer that comes with our wood PrayerBowls that promote a21

Here is a prayer guide a21 put out of few years ago.  This prayer guide shares some great bible verses to pray for specific aspects of trafficking.  A21PrayerGuide

2.  Find an organization to support. 

At this time PrayerBowls is aligned with 3 charities, which all involve children.  Children in poverty, children that have been abused & neglected, and children who have been trafficked.

In this blog, we share with you numerous non-profits that focus on human trafficking.  Each of these organizations has a page that shares all the ways you can help.  One of our favorites is the Tim Tebow Foundation.  Tim & his wife, Demi work very hard to rescue women and children from the sex trade.  Here, Tim shares a story of a young woman who was sold by her own mother, but is now thriving knowing that God's love was, is, and will always be for her.

3.  Share & Help Educate

We hope that you share this with you friends & family.  This audience here is predominately women.  Women are the people who are out promoting/educating these nonprofits and giving care to the women & children who have been rescued.  We simply cannot help rescue and heal those trafficked without strong women.

We want you to share this with your fathers, your brothers, your teen boys and the men in your life.  These heinous sex crimes are committed by men.  Men need to step up and help disrupt this demand.  One organization of men, the Sentinel Foundation  operations team focuses on targeting elusive child traffickers that use highly skilled methods to find and exploit their victims.  The Epik Project  has been actively disrupting the online demand by making contact with the source since 2013. 

4.  Know the Signs & Report

Shared Hope has a great page sharing the warning signs and hotlines to report.

5.  Donate

We know that you donate your time and money too many organizations.  We all have a passion for giving, whether that is to our family, our church or the community we live in.  

A few years ago, a sweet woman from Illinois had to miss her 60th birthday trip to FL.  She asked her friends to donate to a charity for her birthday.  She called and spoke with Karen and I to let us know that she had chosen a local Tampa charity Mary Lee's House to support.  Her friends were very generous and MLH raised roughly $10,000.  This money had an incredible impact on Tampa children and families. 

Too close, there are two quotes I'd like to share with you from the Sound of Freedom movie.  The character Vampiro was asked why he got into the fight to save the children.  He replied, "When God tells you what to do, you cannot hesitate."  Tim Ballard was asked the same question.  He replied, "Because God's children are not for sale."  

« Back to Blog