When someone brings up the topic of sex trafficking, what images come to your mind? Crowded streets in a foreign country where girls dance in windows? A western man with an arm slung around a young Thai girl in a dark street many miles from home? Eastern European women in short skirts and high heels offering their bodies to tourists in Amsterdam?
It is easy for our minds to roam the world, imagining the problem darkening the streets of unfamiliar nations far from home. We say a prayer or write a check, hoping the impact reaches the other side of the world, miles and miles from where we drive to work, take family vacations, or drop off our kids for soccer practice.
But the problem isn’t just “over there.” It’s right here, in our own back yards. American children are not immune to the threat of pimps and traffickers, and there are children being trafficked in our states, in our communities, right in our own back yards.
We are blessed to have a government who refuses to turn a blind eye on this evil. In a week-long, cross-country sweep, the FBI recently rescued 168 children, as young as 11 years old, and arrested 281 pimps who have used American minors for their own pleasure and gain (Connor).
Each of those 168 children has a unique name, face, and story, and they were rescued from a hell on earth, right here in our country. Praise God for the hard work of the American FBI– for their willingness to go into the darkness, bring children out into the light, and expose the pimps responsible for their slavery.
Unfortunately, not all countries are blessed with governments willing and able to stand up against the crimes of sex traffickers.
In the 2014 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, the U.S. State Department ranked Thailand a Tier 3 country, “the ranking for countries that do not meet the minimum standards of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and are not making significant efforts to do so (Maresca).”
In a country where the government cannot or will not step up and rescue their children from sex trafficking, there is an even greater need for the church to rise up and “to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound (Isaiah 61:1b, ESV).”
CODE Missionary Matthew Murray partners with Lighthouse in Action (LIA) in Chiang Mai, Thailand to do just that. Where the FBI was able to use American laws against prostitution to arrest pimps and free victims, Matthew and LIA reach out to those enslaved around them, offering relationship, love, and hope in Jesus Christ. It is our desire that those enslaved will see that hope, reach out to grasp it, and leave their chains behind forever.
Join us in praising God for the 168 children freed here in America and in believing that God will anoint and empower Matthew and LIA to free many more in Chiang Mai, Thailand!
Click here to support our BeLoved campaign as CODE Ministries continues fighting to set captives free. We are honored to have you stand by our side in this fight for freedom.
Connor, Tracy. “FBI Rescues 168 of ‘America’s Children’ From Sex Traffickers – NBC News.” NBC News. N.p., 23 June 2014. Web. 26 June 2014. <http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/fbi-rescues-168-americas-children-sex-traffickers-n138616>.
Maresca, Thomas. “Thailand Slammed for Human Trafficking in U.S. State Dept. Report.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 20 June 2014. Web. 26 June 2014. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/thomasmaresca/2014/06/20/thailand-slammed-for-human-trafficking-in-u-s-state-dept-report/>.