Have you ever had a week where one particular topic comes up repeatedly. It’s almost like someone is trying to tell you, “Hey, pay attention!” That happened to me this week. It started on Saturday, was reinforced on Monday, and then again on Tuesday and even on Thursday. What topic was it? Human Trafficking.
Okay, let’s back up six years ago. I was in the process of writing what would become the Dragon Courage series. My husband asked the question, “What would happen if a dragon rider didn’t want to become a rider?” As I mulled over the question, a story formed. As the plot line moved along, a group of people came into it seemingly of their own accord. Slave traders. At the time, I hadn’t heard a thing about modern day slavery. It didn’t seem to even be an issue. However, my heart said it was a story worth pursuing.
This last Saturday, I began preparing for a Facebook party for the release of a book through Gravity Imprint of Booktrope called The Sad Girl. It deals with human trafficking. As I created my resources, I began to mull over the consequences of human trafficking and the reality of it. Sunday rolled around, and I went to church. While there, the song Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) was sung as special music. As the haunting words of the old hymn took on new words from the artists, I began to think of the original writer. He was a human trafficker. His life was drastically changed when he came to know Jesus Christ. After returning to London, he wrote the lyrics to the song, Amazing Grace. As I heard the new rendition, I wondered what a song would sound like from a modern day human trafficker who had been saved by grace.
My chains are gone
I’ve been set free
My God, my Savior has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, amazing grace
Monday came and I participated in the Facebook event. It was a fundraiser for Operation Underground Railroad. As I waited for my turn to present information, I was staggered by the following graphic.
It struck me to the core. I believe people have been created in the image of God. They have intrinsic value because of that. Therefore, to use something created to be loved is just wrong. I sat staring at the computer screen with tears in my eyes.
I continued on my way, feeling the issue, but not knowing what to do about it. Then I saw that Bob Mueller was donating a part of the proceeds of his new book sales to Operation Underground Railroad. I decided I could do that as well. I figured one day would work. I was wrong.
I continued to work my way through the event. I shared how the different characters in book four respond to the human trafficking. Duskya and Kyn become angry. When they witness a slave auction, Duskya’s righteous indignation gets the better of her.
“I’d like to take down the whole system!. Wing, tail, and horns. From the sellers to the traders to the buyers.”
The riders took action. But what could I do? Not much. Another graphic caught my attention.
Did I care enough to do something? I considered it as Monday turned into Tuesday. I was asked if I would keep donating part of the proceeds of The One Who Sees Me to the fundraiser. By then, my heart was softened enough to do something. I said yes.
That evening, I received another punch to my gut. I participated in a Twitter chat with authors Jenna Zark and Joe Yeager. Joe wrote a book Digital Parenting and warns parents of the online dangers to children. The connection came knowing that 76% of transactions for sex with underage girls is conducted over the internet! It made me sick to think about it. I learned that even I should be more careful about my internet friends and what all I share. I came away from the event slightly nervous.
Yesterday as I surfed Facebook, I came upon another graphic. This one with a statistic that turned my stomach and made me angry enough to say something. “The average age of a human trafficking victim is 12 years old.” Pictures flashed through my mind of my students. Precious twelve-year-olds! Then it dawned on me this is the average! That means there are children younger yet! This has to stop! But I felt like the characters in Dragon’s Cure. What could I do?
“No, we have never seen anything like it,” Kyn agreed. “It is awful, but there is nothing we can do. We do not have enough money to buy her, and then what about the next one? What would you do then?”
I decided, I could use my small voice to shout like one of my dragon rider characters, “I won’t have humans treated like this on my watch.” I could give to organizations that help trafficked people, and to those who help keep kids off the streets so they aren’t trafficked. I could also let others know what is going on. You see, if we sit back and don’t say anything, then the world goes on blindly unaware, or ignoring what is happening. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” I choose to not be silent. What about you?
Share how you will speak up in the comments.