Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When She Was Twelve: A Post on Human Trafficking

If you've chosen to help us spread the word through your writing, we invite you to link up below with your post about human trafficking. Thank you so much for joining with us in refusing to look away.
When I was twelve, I knew nothing of the world and its dark corners, nothing of tragedy. When I was twelve, tragedy meant Grandpa's cancer, Coach P.'s heart attack, and a vague notion of malnourished children continents away. When I was twelve, I cried because I bombed my balance beam routine, because I fought with my mother, because we were about to move five hours away from my best friend.

When she was twelve, home was a dark concrete corner of the world, and horror was her status quo. Taken as a child, sold as a slave, she wore the number 146. When she was twelve, tragedy meant being torn from her family, raped repeatedly by strangers, beaten by her captors. She was twelve, and the tragedy was that she wasn't the only one, not the first, not the last. There were and would be millions more.

Love146 History from LOVE146 on Vimeo.

I can't fathom millions. Bombard me with startling and horrific statistics, and I shut down. My first reaction is to look away, to turn it off, to plug my ears and sing la-la-la.

But the story of the girl with the number 146 stays with me. Because I can picture her there, a child for sale. I imagine her staring back through the glass, the life not yet gone from her eyes. The millions are a faceless blur, but this girl, this girl I can see.

When I consider the grave and overwhelming issue of human trafficking, how modern day slavery stretches across nearly every corner of the world, including my own, it is tempting to throw up hands, to stockpile despair, to hide my eyes. But when I picture her face, I can't look away.

Today is national Human Trafficking Awareness Day.  Will you join me in the refusal to look away?
From the towering mountains of tragic stories, we mine tiny stories of hope. Of lives restored, of captives freed, of returning home.

You can help to multiply these stories of hope by partnering with Love146 in their efforts to end child slavery and exploitation through prevention and aftercare. Whether you choose to give directly, to run for their lives and raise funds, or simply to spread the word and raise awareness, even the smallest of steps can be turned into high hopes in the battle against human trafficking.

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