Look Around and Be Alert

“Look around and be alert!” Putting an end to human trafficking for the sake of survivors, victims and those at-risk

by Emily Ralph, associate director of communication

8-days-movie-reviewThe friend sitting next to me was a sex trafficking survivor. We were at a screening of 8 Days, a movie about children who are kidnapped, sold, or tricked into a life of prostitution.

“How was that for you?” I asked her when the film was over.

Not as bad as she expected, she told me, until the one part at the end when the woman arrested on prostitution charges left the police station. She had almost seemed to wilt. “I can’t do this anymore,” she had said as she collapsed into the police officer who escorted her.

My friend looked at me with tears in her eyes. “That was me. I never wanted to do this, but I didn’t know how to get out.” It’s been a tenuous three months, but slowly this survivor is building a new life.

In the women’s room, it wasn’t hard to overhear the conversation happening between two stalls. “I know that was intense,” a mom said to her 14-year-old daughter, “but I wanted you to see that there are real consequences. People are watching. You can’t always have your face buried in your phone as you walk. You need to look around and be alert.”

I wanted to weep that we live in a broken society where we have to teach our children how not to be raped or kidnapped.

The film director’s sister was a trafficking survivor in South Africa. He thought, when he came to the U.S., he could leave that behind … until he discovered that five of the top ten cities where trafficking takes place around the world are in the U.S. The highest ranked U.S. city is Atlanta, Georgia.

We live there.

The corridor between Washington, D.C. and New York City, with its teeming interstate system, is a hotbed for human trafficking.

We live there, too.

Only one percent of the millions of children forced into sex trafficking every year are ever rescued.

A few crusaders can’t end modern-day slavery. But a few thousand, a few million Jesus-followers with eyes, ears, mouths, flashlights shining into the dark places … together, we’ve got this.

For the survivors, the victims, the at-risk—together, by the power of the Spirit among us, we’ve got this.

We have to.

For more information about bringing a showing of 8 Days into your community, contact Emily: eralph@franconiaconference.org.