Saturday, March 8, 2014

Can we end slavery?

Today Jessi and I got to go to the annual Justice Conference at Vanguard. We've both been fired up about this issue of injustice and excited to expand our opportunities to contribute to the end of slavery. What's happening in our own city? How can we help raise awareness? Hope can we contribute to the end?

Today was only a half day and yet packed full of inspiring, heart wrenching, and moving conversations. One of the sessions was with Stephan from World Relief and it was incredible. Not only is he doing much, well educated in the issue of trafficking and a great speaker but it was great to hear a man speak up so much about caring for, protecting and empowering women. Less than 10% of the room was men but Stephan brought such heart and passion to the topic. I can't even sum it all up well right now but one of the best pieces was the list of 10 things that make this fight against slavery possible. We're not all called to fight in the same way but we can all do our part, even if it is just paying attention around us (more on this to come..). These are quick bullet points from a session packed full of noteworthy items but hopefully they make sense.

So, 10 things that make this fight against slavery possible:
  1. Lament: Let your heart tear apart. Don't be afraid to feel. This all begins with empathy. Enter into suffering & don't lose hope.
  2. Create economic solutions: micro-financing, inner city urban gardens, etc.
  3. Support the creation of John Schools: Education for men who bought sex and got caught. These schools inform them of the reality of this issue and bring change. Talk to local enforcement agencies, mayors, etc. to make sure this is happening in your area.
  4. Shout: Blog, tweet, facebook, share stories. The collective matters. We have the tools to talk and share with the world.
  5. Clean up supply chains. Free children matter more than free markets.
  6. Advocate for legislative change. Politicians, congress, senators. Immigration reform: immigration is ripe with trafficking.
  7. Call forth the creative people in our midst: use your gift & calling to shake up this issue.
  8. Take on pornography. Allow men and the church to come out of hiding. Because we love our sisters and want to release them. If the church can't talk about it, then who can?
  9. Become a foster parent. From an FBI raid on 70 US cities 60% of freed victims were from the foster system. We need parents to love! (Note: churches must support marriages and families to be healthy foster homes, not just promote fostering).
  10. Come together. Collaborate. Partner. This cannot be won alone. 
 I love all of these. I particularly love #1, #4 and #8. We have to be wiling to feel in order to do anything. And then we have to share. So many have no idea slavery still exist and we must bring awareness. And then there's #8. I am so glad he mentioned that. There's such a huge connection between porn and trafficking. The consumption of porn is far too high in the Christian world. We have to be willing to talk about it, to provide a place of freedom and healing and to care enough to stop consumption because people are not items for our use. 

I am stirred up. But also so tired as I write. So, that's it for now. Thoughts welcomed.

Let's end this.

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