On Saturday I went to the Civilian First Responder Conference hosted by Women at Risk International. The entire conferences was about 1 of the 14 risk issues women face around the world that WAR works with. That issue is human trafficking. They discussed what trafficking is, how to identify it and what you can do about it. Now, I’ve heard all these stories and Becky the founder does not hold back. She includes all the graphic details because that is what trafficking is.
The hardest part was hearing the story of Rhoda Kershaw. She is a survivor who was trafficked by the Japanese Mafia. She is a singer & has been gifted with a beautiful voice. Her story is on her website. It was so hard listening to her even though I”ve heard this story a million times at the store. She began to tear up while speaking and it honestly broke my heart. I just wanted to run up on stage and wrap my arms around her.
What I love about WAR is the fact that they are a Christian based group, but Becky is so open and makes sure that they help anyone who needs it no matter race, religion, or sexual orientation. Even during her speech she was talking about how the women are judged or thought of as less therefore the poor treatment of women is very accepted in many countries, so people just turn a blind eye. Then she opened it up to the crowd, asking for another group who is mistreated and people turn a blind eye to crimes that affect them. People said children & elderly, which she agreed to, but the she yelled homosexuals! She said this is a group that is beaten, abused, violated and people turn a blind eye! She told the crowd it doesn’t matter your opinion of their lifestyle, NO ONE deserves to be treated like that because we are all God’s creatures and deserved to be loved and respected. Statements like this are why, even as a non-Christian, I support WAR because they act like how Christians should. Instead of being judgmental or cruel, they say it doesn’t matter! We will love you, we will help you and we will take care of you if you need it no matter what. She even made it clear that they don’t “beat the survivors over the head with the Bible”, that they have religious services, but none are forced, anyone who needs help is more than welcome to stay at the safe houses and will not be judged.
She then talked about sex, which shocked me! I rarely hear such a devoted Christian speak so freely and openly about sex. I know it is possible, my parents have always been very open about sex because they want my sister and I to be able to come to them about anything & never ever feel uncomfortable. She told the group, don’t treat sex as something bad. She said, sex is wonderful, sex is beautiful, God created sex! Teach your children sexuality is not a bad thing, that it is a beautiful thing and that there are bad people in this world who make it something dirty and unclean and evil. Be open with your children so they feel comfortable to come to you and talk to you. Your home should be a safe place where your kids can come talk to you about anything and everything, be involved in their life, know their friends, their friend’s parents. Being an involved parents is one of the greatest preventative tactics to keep your children from being trafficked.
95 people (including me) showed up, men and women, even some high school students. I felt this wave of inspiration, hope, amazement. I love seeing others get involved and fight for something. It makes me feel so much less alone, like my single action WILL help because I know for sure that there are 94 other people out there doing the same thing! So I’m not a single voice anymore. Hearing Rhoda speak ignites a fire within anyone, her tears like gasoline, fueling this burning passion I have to keep women (and men) like her safe, to keep my family safe and to keep me safe.
For any information on Human Trafficking or Sexual/Physical abuse, you can always ask me questions. I have resources for those just becoming interested, to explain how you can help and more. You could always go to Women at Risk’s website which is linked above.