My friends, today I come with a brutal, cheerless introduction to my message. God has aligned my heart to the cause of freedom, and the spreading of this cause. Many of us went to Passion 2013, and were awakened to a very brutal, horrifying truth in this world. I was awakened last year, in Passion 2012, though I was so stunned I pushed it from memory, fearful of its truth. Many of you know already what I’m talking about, but don't know the severity of this issue. The disgusting truth I speak of is modern-day slavery. Let me throw up some statistics, though I’ll ask you not to think of them later.
27 million: a ballpark estimate, which I am convinced is higher. All over the world, these people are oppressed – silenced, their bodies becoming someone's profit, their hands becoming someone else's factory, working twelve-to-fourteen hours a day, with no breaks, every day with no respite in sight.
80% women – half of which are children – are oppressed in the sex trafficking of this world.
$32 Billion – that's the number of a black market whose revenue is greater than Google's.
But these statistics don't really effect you. Numbers can be ignored. There are stories, though; several people have been rescued, their voices raising to call out other instances of this horror. I'm sorry, but this is the only way to really vocalize this:
Children are being raped. Little girls, fifty percent of which are younger than any of you in this room, are being sold for sex. There were women who were saved recently from a brothel dungeon – a dark, damp clay basement, where they only left to be raped and thrown back in – these were thirty girls. There are entire families bonded by heredity, working in a brick factory, for their entire lives. A woman who went to France for work was sent over the border and told she would give sex to men for someone else's profit. For her entire life. Yes, this gets very, very disturbing.
I don't need a Bible verse to tell you and I that this is wrong: its very nature is disgusting, depraved and debasing of the very basic nature of humanity. But here's an imperative God gave to a man named Isaiah. In chapter 61 of this book, it is spoken: (speak)
Don't you see? It's not just freedom; these people who were enslaved will rise up, take control of their countries under God's banner, and rebuild. India, Nepal, the United States of America... that last on hit me hard – there're slaves in America? Indeed, friends. Atlanta is a hub of sex trafficking – an estimated 17 thousand people are trafficked through America annually, and only thirteen other American cities beat us out for the top hub. We may actually be higher on that list – the numbers aren't available on the web.
This is on our soil, this ain't an isolated thing over in India because India is a horrible place. In Kentucky, a month ago (change this to however long ago Dec 21 is), a man was arrested for enslaving three young girls. These girls had tattoos on their necks and left breasts, put on by himself, that has his name. They were ordered to call him “daddy”. The neck tattoo was placed here, and was meant to control the girls: tell them that no matter where they went, they would be his. On their backs was a full back tattoo depicting this man's twisted creed, binding these girls to servitude in him – as if his vile ink could make them his. This man was imprisoned with three life sentences, though I’d give him more.
So how do we respond? The cause of freedom is fivefold: Awake, Prevent, Rescue, and Restore.
On the awakening front, I’m standing before you. America is still quite quiet to this atrocity, and we've got a mission to awaken them. And America's the land of the free. Engage in Slavery Footprint, which will tell you how many slaves you have working for you, based on the products you wear, use, and eat. I have 34 slaves working for me. After that, it gives you many options for engaging in ending it, and awakening other people.
The Polaris Project has a slavery hotline, which right now, I’m going to ask every single one of you to pull out your phones and put this number in: 1-888-3737-888.
From that point comes prevention – that many organization are already doing: the A21 Campaign and Not For Sale in Thailand, Free the Slaves in Ghana, World Relief in Cambodia, Stella's Voice in Moldova. America, being the land of the free, can prevent without the need for organizations, but that slavery hotline will mean that I may have just saved you guys from slavery. Share this with your friends, and we can lay a mat of prevention, stopping slavery from taking root in an more victims.
Onto Rescue: International Justice Mission is all over the world bringing freedom to everyone. Thursday, January 3, 2013, 61 people were freed in India. Other organizations that do the same are Tiny hands International, Bombay Teen Challenge, Out of Darkness, and Free the Slaves.
Recovery's another issue, and one that I can help you help immediately. There's a petition online to pass a Safe Harbor law in Georgia, allowing for girls who are arrested in brothel raids in Georgia to be sent to recovery centers, rather than the juvenile detention centers they would go to. Right now, minors and women in brothels in Georgia are simply criminals, not given a voice. They are tried and incarcerated. This law would allow for leniency: if slavery is implied in the crime, the women will be given recovery. In America, this means Wellspring Living's houses, where women can readjust to the world free from slavery. Warm Blankets Orphan Care, Ratanak Care, She is Safe, Love146, Hagar International, 10/40 Connections, and the A21 Campaign all offer the same protection.
I can go on for hours about each of these campaigns; these are only nineteen of hundreds. They all need your funding. But all of these campaigns have stressed awareness over funding, for they know that it's more important that we know. As Gary Haugen said, “Awareness is action”
But I have one more step in the Cause of Freedom. Prayer. We can't do this without God. Judah Smith made a comment at Passion 2013, talking about shark week. One show featured the behavior of sharks: they tossed out rubber seal mimics into the sea, several clustered together, the other all alone. And they waited. After a long while, a great white came clean out of the water with the lone seal mimic in its mouth. I can't do this alone, which is why I’m here. I'm asking for your help. More importantly, I’m asking for God's help. Together, we are a force for good. Let's pray.