“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, NIV 1984).
Upset and angry after countless arguments and violence at home, she ran away late that night, slipping out quietly with her high school backpack and some spare change. No set destination, just getting out of the house, away from home. Within 48 hours on the streets, she was picked up by a passing motorist. At that point, lost, hungry, tired and scared, she welcomed the lift from the stranger who seemed sympathetic to her plight and condition. Little did she know that within weeks, she would be forced to work for him in his bar, first as a waitress serving drinks and later as a sex trafficked teen servicing clients in a back room, paying off her “debts” to the guy who had offered her a ride on a lonely inner city street. She was caught in the web of human trafficking; she was a victim of deception, coercion, physical and psychological abuse.
In the same city, a small group of women with a deep passion and commitment to see the oppressed set free, to see righteousness and justice triumph over the oppressors, were praying before heading out that night to do street outreach. They had gone to K Street many times before, hoping to identify minors who were soliciting on the Washington, D.C. streets. Hoping to be a light in their darkness, they spotted this teen girl and invited her into dialog. They told her who they were and then inquired about her. They offered to pray with her, for her, there on the street. They affirmed her self-worth, assured her of God’s passion to see her rescued from the fowler’s snare and restored to fullness. They told her that God ached for her, He saw her pain and suffering, He was angry at the evil done to her and He came to set the captive free. They told her about a safe house and shelters, free social services and places to find help. This would be the first of several encounters before the teen would try to break free of her oppressor. It would require from her much courage. From the group of women who met with her, it would require a hunger and thirst after righteousness; it would require being salt persistently rubbed into the meat of human depravity to keep the spoiler from taking the victory over this teen girl. It would require being light in a very dark place.
Where are you in the battle against human trafficking? Do you know that it likely happens in your own city and not just in some faraway place on the other side of the globe? Are you mourning and grieving over this evil of human trafficking? Are you doing something besides just condemning this evil? Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem, over its sins and lost-ness. Are you weeping for those who have fallen into the trap of the wicked person who lurks in secret in order to seize his prey (Psalm 10)? What are you doing to prevent human trafficking, to protect and restore its victims? Your God is the God who rises, redeems, remakes and rejoices over one sinner who is found. Most often, when God “saves those who are crushed in spirit,” He does it through you.
Pray: O, Lord, forgive me for complacency or judgment about those caught in human trafficking. Create in me a hunger, a deep passion and a persistent commitment to prevent, protect and restore those who are trafficked.
Dr. Clydette Powell