sextrafficking

The impossible choice

The headlines alone are enough to make you weep.

Isis in Libya: Families forced to marry girls as young as 12 to fighters for protection as clinics see growing number of miscarriages and STDs

ISIS Sex Slave Price: 1- to 9-Y-O Christian, Yazidi Girls Sold for $172

UN official on life under ISIS: ‘Girls are being stripped naked, examined in slave bazaars’ (and don’t forget the “young woman who was married over 20 times, forced to undergo surgery to restore her virginity at the end of each coerced union”)

ISIS impregnates 9-year-old girl

ISIS seizes key Iraqi city: What happens now? Group uses bulldozers, suicide bombers to take city

Isis seizes Palmyra – live updates: Militants behead men as ancient city falls to terror group

When I read Ann Voskamp’s compelling blog post about her recent trip to Iraq, I was stricken to the heart by her words and photographs. They turned away my eyes from my self-centeredness and forced me to look into the eyes of my suffering sisters and brothers.

I am struggling to find words of my own, but Ann puts it so well. Her flexible use of grammar, instead of annoying me, seems to embody the floundering, grasping-at-straws efforts to put into type the horrific realities of so many people. REAL people, who live and breathe and hope and hurt.

ISIS

I am so thankful for Ann’s responsible blogging, which doesn’t just break your heart and leave you in paralyzed mourning, but presents a story of hope, reminding us that WE CAN fight against the darkness.

We aren’t where we are, to just peripherally care about the people on the margins as some superfluous gesture or token nicety. The exact reason why you are where you are — is to risk everything for those being oppressed out there.

You are where you are — to help others where they are. The reason your hands are where they are in this world — is to give other people in this world a hand.

Because God forbid, you don’t get a roof over your head, food on your table and the safety of no bullets shattering your windows because you deserve more — you only get all that so that you get to serve more.

God forbid, you don’t get to live a comfortable life because you’re better — you only get your life so you get to make someone else’s life better with a bit of comfort.

God forbidyou don’t want to climb a ladder up to the American dream, when you could throw a lifeline down to people living your worst nightmare.This is your possible choice.

I trust Ann’s endorsement and vetting of the Preemptive Love Coalition. They are dedicated to providing funds where needed most, which is currently the people of Ramadi (reference Lynne Hybel’s blog post). There is also a second campaign to provide funds for helping these women to start their own businesses. And I love their commitment to finding solutions “for Iraqis, led by Iraqis.”

Please don’t just hear it from me. Read Ann’s posts for yourself.

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Sex trafficking awareness: #aCourageousOne and #NaNoDrawMo

This week, my friend Bronwyn posted a series of blogs at bronlea.com to help raise awareness about the realities of sex slavery and sex trafficking worldwide and in our own cities. She asked for action: a donation of one dollar toward those who fight against human trafficking, praying for one minute, or sharing one post on social media. I ended up dedicating part of my NaNoDrawMo efforts – and today’s “comic” post – toward this. Below are the drawings I did as well as links to the related posts on Bronwyn’s blog. PLEASE click through and read them.

For all of these drawings, I used the warm greys from my new Chartpak marker set, along with some of the light blue shades for accents. I also used a grey Tombow brush pen for lettering and ink, along with a black liner pen as necessary.

A Courageous One - Fact

I know, I know. You want to stop reading already because the topic is too hard, too unfathomable, too desperate. But will you stay with me? Because there are kids right under our noses who are desperate for someone to find them and bring them to safety. They are scared and hurting and so very courageous. . . .” Read more at “A Courageous One (bronlea.com).”

A Courageous One - Liz

Liz Williamson, a survivor of sex trafficking, lent her words to Bronwyn’s post, “Liz’s Story (bronlea.com).” (This was the first piece I made because that line about sleeping with sneakers on made my breath catch in my throat.)

A Courageous One - Prostitute

It’s time for linguistic reform. Thinking of prostitutes generally as women who are choosing a particular line of work is no longer accurate. Bronwyn writes at “Prostitute: It may not mean what you think it means (bronlea.com)” that “the alarming truth of the sex trade today is that a vast majority of those who exchange sex for money in our day and age are not choosing to do so. . . . They are, to all extents and purposes, sex SLAVES: sold for another’s profit.”

A Courageous One - Psalm

“There are 29.8 million slaves in the world today. 60,000 of those are in the USA. Reflecting on this led my friend, Liz Below, to write a Psalm for the 29 Million.” I’m most proud of the reflection in the eyes in this piece – it’s one of those subtle details that is easy to overlook.

A Courageous One - Good Men

Finally, Bronwyn challenges men to speak up. “If you stay silent, you may have protected your own character in that situation, but your silence is interpreted as indifference. . . . The sex trafficking industry relies on secrecy to thrive, and when we fail to say something, we allow it to keep its secrets.” Read her “Letter to Men (bronlea.com).”

Finally, in Bronwyn’s words:

This #ACourageousOne project is to raise awareness, money and hope about the reality of sex trafficking right around us. There are tens of thousands of invisible women and children – courageous ones – in need of rescue and restoration.

We can help. This week, support a courageous one by giving #ACourageousOne of your own:

  • Donate ONE DOLLAR to fight sex trafficking (here, here, or here, if you need a suggestion.)
  • Pray for ONE MINUTE for God to rescue victims, and give courage to women and men to speak and act as we ought. (Here is a Psalm to meditate on, as a suggestion)
  • Share ONE POST on social media to raise awareness about this issue. This is happening in our communities, so if we speak up within our communities, someone directly involved is going to hear.

Thank you for supporting the thousands of courageous ones with your Courageous One. We can make a difference!