Book Three in The Imperfect Series, IMPERFECT BONDS, is due to release on July 30, 2016. Light, funny, and a little bit sad, it also touches on the edgy topic of Human Trafficking.
July 30th is also “World Day Against Trafficking in Persons“ (#wdatip), as declared by the United Nations.
Human trafficking. Slavery. Bondage. Servitude. Enslavement. Oppression. Loss of everything you know, everything you have, and everything you are. Whatever we call it, Human Trafficking represents identity theft in the worst, most heinous way possible, much to mankind’s everlasting shame.
I am reminded of the story in the Bible of when the Israelites were taken into bondage by the Babylonians, specifically the tales of four teens, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. I find it interesting that Daniel, who was given the Babylonian name, Belteshazzar, kept his “Daniel” identity all through history, while his three friends are better known by their Babylonian names—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
Thousands of Jews were taken captive and transported far from their homeland in Judah. These affluent boys were reduced to no more than slaves with no civil rights and no say in anything that might affect their lives. They had to adapt to a new culture and learn a new language if they wanted to survive.
Slavery continues in our world today, but without respect for life. In fact, this juggernaut industry profits more than $32 billion annually, and affects between 20-30 million victims – children and adults, male and female. (Authorities believe these numbers are low with most of the criminal activities hidden.)
Take a walk with me for a moment. Exercise your imagination:
Imagine you’re a young woman working on a deadline. The project runs late and you leave your office well after everyone else. The walk to the parking garage seems longer in the semi-lit darkness. Every shadow is sinister, every sound amplified. You hurry your steps, knowing there is safety inside the locked doors of your car.
Imagine as you approach the driver’s side, a van comes around the corner. Nothing special about it. Just another work vehicle with scuff marks and a few dings. And yet, fear zips through your body. Do you turn around and race back to the building? Or hurry to unlock your car?
Imagine in the moment of hesitation as the van picks up speed. It draws near. Panic grips you when the sliding door flies open. A man jumps out and rushes toward you. You scream and turn to run … but it’s too late.
Imagine rough hands grab you. A nasty rag is crammed in your mouth. You’re lifted and tossed bodily inside the van. The man scrambles in behind you and slams the door. Darkness envelops you as the vehicle speeds away. The panic becomes gut-wrenching terror.
Imagine having all your possessions taken away — purse, money, jewelry, phone, clothes, even your name.
Imagine being tossed into a cold, dark cell with only a blanket on the floor. You’re dressed in the thinnest of rags with no one to hear your cries for help.
Imagine being ridiculed for your tears, beaten for your screams. You soon learn not to complain, but to beg instead for the meanest comfort — a toilet, food, water, or perhaps a simple scrap of information.
Imagine being told you’ll never see your family, home, friends, or anything familiar again. That your life as you know it is gone forever. That now, you’re a commodity.
Imagine being forced to do terrible, shameful, demeaning things because that’s what your captor demands, and your performance determines if you’ll receive another beating or whether you get to eat or drink. Or possibly even live to see another day.
Imagine you’re forced to take addicting drugs that leave you fuzzy, delirious, incapable of clear thought or logical decisions, unable to control your body movements or speech. You can’t fight or deny your captor anything.
Imagine losing all hope.
This is but a single scenario that a victim of Human Trafficking might face. Everyday children are snatched from shopping malls and playgrounds while under the watchful eyes of parents. Young men are abducted from bars and nightclubs. Young women are lured away with promises of … whatever. Boys and girls are snatched from schools, sporting events, skating rinks, right off the street. And the list goes on.
Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones from falling prey to these monsters. Educate your children. Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s Website: Human Trafficking 101 http://ow.ly/wW7O302Ayip
Support The Blue Campaign https://www.dhs.gov/blue-campaign