In the Sexual Slavery conversation, we can not neglect to talk about the Restoration of survivors. Unfortunately, restoration work is the least supported step in the rescue process here in the States and certainly the rest of the world.
The reality is that for a US survivor it takes on average three years to find healing from their trauma. If we consider all the Sexual Slavery Factors, there are so many elements to the survivors healing. The need for restoration homes, a safe place for a survivor to find healing is high.
"There are an estimated 313,000 new victims of sex trafficking in the US annually,
and under 550 beds in the US to house survivors when they are rescued."
-The Justice Reform
We are extremely under resourced right now for the survivors needs. This is true not only in the States but also the rest of the world. I believe with all that I am that the only way for people to find complete healing is through the POWER and LOVE of Jesus Christ. I also believe that we ALL have a crucial role to play in this restoration story.
You may be asking "what can I do? What could I possibly have to offer a trauma survivor?" The truth is, you do have something very unique to offer- yourself.
YOU may be called to pray for the rescue and restoration of survivors, YOU may be called to give away time, items, or blessing gifts to benefit survivors, YOU may be called to financially partner with organization or missionaries working directly with survivors, YOU may be called to go yourself and pave the way for healing for the survivor.
Don't limit what God could do through you! I would encourage you to take some time to ponder what role you are being called to play in someone restoration story.
You probably know that trafficking happens all around out world but do you know why? Do you know the factors that keep this multi-billion industry going? Do you know who is being targeted and taken advantage of.
The image above is a great starting place to begin to understand the cycle of abuse and control traffickers aim to hold over survivors. This image is from the Polaris Project, a US National organization that founded the national hotline for trafficking.
The pattern you can find in most every story of sexual slavery is this:
Vulnerability- poverty, orphaned, neglected, lack of resources, disability, unstable homes environment, youth, abuse etc.
Deception/Debt- promised a job, college course, sent away falsely, sold unknowingly etc. Traffickers will tell victims they "owe" large amounts of money and that they need to "work" to pay it off. However, the victims never sees this money and debt always increases.
Isolation- Isolation is key to keeping a victim in the control of a trafficker. The trafficking aspect of sex trafficking refers to the victim being transported but this is not only for trafficker to sell but rather to have the victim break ties with any family or friends or aspects of their previous life. The trafficker works to make the victim feel isolated and unwanted as if they had nowhere else to go.
Made more Vulnerable- Victims have their documentation taken away, they can contract diseases, often are malnourished, live in poor conditions, and are physically abused. The trafficker will continue to keep their victim cut off and in need of them.
This cycle is a dangerous trap to anyone vulnerable. Traffickers actively work to keep their victims vulnerable in these ways and more.
Pray for children in vulnerable situations. Pray for their protection (Psalms 91:1-5). Pray for children in unsafe homes that they would find rest, safety, and be covered by heavenly care.
Pray for people in sexual slavery in our world today. Pray that where there is darkness God’s light would shine, and by His Spirit be with the men, women and children in this vulnerable situation.
Take a prayer walk in a different neighborhood than your own and pray for each home you see. Pray for the families, children, and home life. Pray for healthy connections, pray that any danger to children would be exposed to safe people, and pray for safe and loving environments.
Pray for law enforcement, social workers, clinical professionals, and government workers who are interacting with vulnerable people. Pray they would have wisdom in their work. Pray they would approach each vulnerable person with sensitivity and care. Pray they would have clarity of mind about how to handle the new challenges that COVID-19 has presented.
Pray for those who have been neglected and are forgotten. Pray for the elderly person that lives alone that they would find connection. Pray for young adults who live alone without community. Pray for the courage to reach out for help and divine connections to be made.
Often times as an American when we think of trafficking we get images of Liam Neeson busting through bolted doors and beating up armed foreigners in order to save his daughter. However, in the States this is not usually the case. More often than not a girl who is being trafficked in the States is being exploited by a trusted boyfriend, family member, or friend. There is a relationship of some kind where the trafficker will "groom" his or her victim.
Rebecca Bender, a survivor of trafficking and founder of Rebecca Bender Ministries. Rebecca herself was trafficked by a notorious pimp who she believed to be her loving boyfriend. She was lured to Las Vegas where she began forced prostitution for six years. Now, Rebecca works with survivors and organization world wide to being understanding to this restoration work.
I have heard her speak and I have heard her story in full. The home she was in was raided by the FBI and soon she found hope and restoration in Jesus Christ. She is a living testimony of God rescuing and restoring a broken, beaten, traumatized, abused, and neglected person. When I heard her story I was overcome with hope that if she can be rescued and thrive in her life so can others! This is Rebecca's belief as well and is why she has a restoration program for women rescued from trafficking.
If you want to learn more about working with survivors of trafficking in the States, you can follow the link below for all her resources including a book she wrote, Roadmap to Redemption.
Thank you for being here, it matters. Together we can see an end to sexual slavery in our lifetime!
Rebecca Bender Resources
Did you know that January is the official Anti-Trafficking Month and Prevention. Last year President Trump made a proclamation on January 2nd 2020 that it would be a day of awareness and prevention.
For this January I will be focusing my social media on bringing awareness by providing quick facts about sexual slavery and trafficking specifically as this is the field in which I will be working. There are many horrors that the words "human trafficking" encompasses, but I will just be focusing on sexual exploitation.
My biggest encouragement to you is to not turn away but this month lean in. Lean in to learning, listening, understanding, praying, and making yourself aware of the daily reality for people in our world.
One of the first moments I decided to do something to fight trafficking is when I heard someone say they "could not handle" knowing that terrible was happening. If we all have this attitude we are forsaking our sisters and brothers in a horrific darkness and leaving them for dead.
Let's journey together in leaning in. You can do this! I do not claim to be any expert at all but I have to know some things in my time working in this field that I would like to share.
Subscribe to my newsletter on the right hand side of this page to enter in a conversation about a Survivor Story. I will have a series of email going out only in January that provide discussion on this very topic.
My name is Marissa Deraya; Global Worker with Project Rescue serving women and children of Spain.
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