In February, I spent some time in Costa Rica with a friend working with Face of Justice (FOJ). FOJ is a non-profit organization that defends, empowers, shelters and loves the women and men who are working in prostitution in Central America. They also provide refuge to the children who’ve been sexually exploited. What I learned while I was there is that most of the girls that are saved are being rescued from their own family. Their families are the ones selling them or are allowing them to be sold. Did you know that the average number of times a child is sold a day is 18-20? And once they are trafficked, the average life expectancy is 7 years? The average age of trafficked children is 12-14 years old. I keep thinking that the more I say that, the less gut-wrenching it’ll be…. it’s not.
Sometimes I want to talk about the trip, sometimes I don’t. This blog is a start, and in the future I’m sure I’ll share more. I came across an entry in my journal that included me talking about how one night before bed, we could hear one of the girls crying. (We stayed at the safe house; the girls were on the lower level and we were on the main level.) I don’t know why she was crying, it could have been because she didn’t want to go to bed…or it could have been something else. And that “something else” isn’t something I want to talk about.
I laid in bed listening to her cry, hoping that if I felt enough love for her, she would sense it. Our emotions are either love-based, or fear-based. And when you hold onto a love-based emotion, it expands. (I’m serious, try it. The next time you get upset or angry or are feeling anxious-wait 90s before you do anything else, just sit and feel the emotion. And then think of a love-based emotion and let it expand within you. You’ll feel the fear-based emotion leave and the love-based emotion spread-it’s amazing.) I wanted to fill up as much space in the house that I could with love, so I chose to not sit with the anger I had towards the people who have hurt those girls beyond measure. And believe me, there were times that I felt so much hurt and anger I thought I was going to explode. But I wanted to suffocate the fear with love. In that moment, there was nothing else I could do.
It’s not right for any child to experience what these girls have gone though. It’s not right that they can’t count on their families to not sell them. It’s not right that this is happening every single day to MILLIONS of children all around the world. And it’s not right that we aren’t doing more. While I would love to travel the world and one by one save each child that’s involved, I can’t. But what I can do is spread the word on how dire the situation is. So, my request to all of you is to educate yourselves. There are many resources online that you can use to become more familiar with identifying someone who’s being trafficked. Trafficking is not just a problem in other countries, it happens in America, and has no discrimination based on what area of town you live in. Let’s start becoming part of the solution, there are literally millions of lives depending on us.
Face of Justice is an organization close to my heart, if you’d like to donate please use this link:
You can also get involved locally by searching for volunteer groups. If you’re in the Denver area, and would like more information, please let me know!