Words that Burn off the Fog

Hi there, I’m Jodi. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Who am I? (Well, here’s the short version):

~ A woman, newly awakened to the worldwide oppression of women and girls, finding her voice 

~ A wife & stay-at-home mom

~ Lover of books, words, and caffeine – Give me a book (or a good blog!) and a cup of coffee and all is right with the world.

~ Terrified writer and blogger – I’m compelled to write and just tired of getting in my own way with all the self-doubt, so here we go with this blog thing.

Why do I write this blog?

Something was awakened in me about 3 years ago.

The comfortable, suburban fog of my life as a privileged stay-at-home mom living in the United States with all life’s modern conveniences and freedoms was lifted as I began to understand more clearly the plight of women and girls worldwide.

Issues – like human trafficking, modern-day slavery, child brides, lack of basic care, education, and even death due to the lack of regard for females, simply because of their gender – snatched my attention and there’s been no turning back since.  Believe it or not, it all started with just words on a page…

Books, like Half the Sky, Half the Church, The Good News About Injustice, The Slave Next Door, have burnt off that self-centered, comfortable fog. These words, these stories of women and girls have stayed with me. These words changed me forever – not just to open my mouth to tell others or to simply type some words on a page, but to find meaningful, practical ways to act right where I am from my seemingly small sphere of influence.

It’s my hope, desire, and newfound mission to bring awareness, to inspire others to act, to help others shed their indifference, ambivalence, or simply the misguided notion that no one can really make a difference. I want to challenge that and be challenged in return.

One voice…One life…To make a difference for someone, even just one other person…right where I am.  Here, now, today.

And, so, that’s me…

Who are you? Tell me in your comments.

I’d love to hear from you.

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Unsettled

Human trafficking.  I am taken aback by the sound of these two words, which don’t belong together in the same sentence.  Drugs are trafficked, but, surely not people, right?  I can hardly fathom that this term is attached to a very real, very dark practice happening every day all over the world.  Human trafficking is the transport and sale of human beings who are forced to work for others.  This ugly crime is the world’s fastest growing criminal industry, generating about $32 billion per year.1  Trafficking victims are often kidnapped or lured under false pretenses, abused, and imprisoned with little or no pay for their work.  Human trafficking is essentially modern-day slavery.  Until recently, I thought slavery ended in 1865 with the passing of the 13th amendment, but nothing could be further from the truth.  I was astounded to discover that there are approximately 12-27 million slaves in the world today,which means more slaves exist today than at any other time in recorded history.  People are enslaved in various industries including agriculture, domestic servitude, factories, and the sex industry.  The U.S. State Department estimates 600,000-800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year3.  The majority of trafficking victims are used primarily for sexual exploitation (also known as sex trafficking).  80% of sex-trafficking victims are female, and about 50% of those females are under-age girls4.

America – The Land of the Free?

At this point you might be thinking this happens only in remote, third world countries but not in America, the “land of the free.”  Sadly and shockingly, human trafficking does occur right here in the United States.  Approximately, 14,500-17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. annually.5   However, trafficking doesn’t just occur across international borders.  Many U.S. sex trafficking victims are American citizens – often underage, runaway girls lured into prostitution within 48 hours of being on the streets.  An estimated 100,000-300,000 children are forced into prostitution or pornography in the U.S. each year6.  Nowhere in the country seems to be immune.  According to the Polaris Project, human trafficking cases have been reported in all 50 states. It happens in large metropolitan areas and small towns.  Within the last 5 months, I’ve seen two reports of sex-trafficking right here in the Boston area: the first involving a 15 year old girl who was kidnapped from an MBTA stop then forced into prostitution at local motels for 10 days, the second involving women trafficked from southeast Asia and forced/coerced to work at brothels in Cambridge, Allston, and Boston.  Look within the pages of your local paper or Google “trafficking” in your area, and you’re likely to find similar stories.

What can I do?

The facts and statistics are overwhelming. What am I, a stay-at-home mom, to do? I’m just trying to win the daily battles against the never-ending laundry pile, temper tantrums, and sibling rivalry.  My plate feels pretty full most days, but as I’m confronted with this brutal reality of human trafficking right here in my very own community, my perspective on life has changed.  I’m unsettled and restless in my daily routine.  This horrific injustice has gripped my heart and will not let go.  As a woman, a mother, and a follower of Christ, I am not ok with women and young children becoming victims of sexual slavery.  I am compelled to do something. Right now, a new safehouse called Amirah House is being prepared to provide restorative, whole-person care for human trafficking survivors in the greater Boston area. I am so inspired by Amirah’s mission that I quickly jumped at the chance to volunteer as an event planner, grant writer and guest blogger for this wonderful organization.  Amirah is scheduled to open its doors this fall. To find out how you can help, visit www.amirahboston.org or email info@amirahboston.org.

Making a difference really is easier than you might think.  Here are some easy, practical steps to fight human trafficking:

  • Learn moreabout slavery/trafficking through these great organizations:
  • Use your voice– it’s louder and more influential than you think!
    • Tell family & friends.  So many people simply do not know.
    • Use Facebook or Twitter to speak out & keep those in your circle of influence informed.
    • Take 5 minutes (literally that’s it!) to email/call your elected government officials. Ask state/local officials to make anti-trafficking laws a priority. Urge Congress to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. For more info go to: www.ijm.org/justice-campaigns/tvpra
  • Give of your time and/or resources
    • Contact Amirah House. Maybe you have a skill-set they could use: marketing, event-planning, public speaking, etc. Donate MBTA transit cards, old cell phones, frequent flyer miles. There are many ways to help!
    • Not in Boston? Find a local safehouse or program supporting at-risk youth who are vulnerable to domestic sex trafficking.
    • Donate money/ hold a garage sale & donate the profits to an anti-trafficking organization or safehouse dedicated to the rescue & restoration of trafficking survivors.

No matter how busy my life seems, it cannot continue “business as usual.” I’m unsettled by what I now know:  unsettled from my comfortable existence in which I chose to block out all the injustices of the world, unsettled from my passive attitude that such problems are for other people to solve, unsettled into action.

Now that you know, what will you do?

 

  1. International Labor Office, A Global Alliance Against Forced Labor, Global Report Under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work
  2. Free the Slaves, “Top 10 Facts About Modern Slavery,” http://www.freetheslaves.net
  3. U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, 2008.
  4. U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, 2007.
  5. U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report, 2004.
  6. ECPAT International, http://www.ecpat.net