The tummy-tug rush of the sky scraper escalators whirls and twirls as I descend into the stomach of the Kalvin Ter metro in Budapest. I always breathe in and wait for the sensual recognition that free surfing the underground brings. I learned it first in Moscow and my mind returns to those turbulent days. For me, the metro is a scent, a feel, a quality of air married to subterranean travel that takes me back.
Lost in my reverie, I almost missed her when she tried to abort her approach.
When you have lived your years and your feet are unfaithful, those stairs threaten to snatch the earth from its firm foundation. I watched her step and hesitate too late. She was on but she was unsteady and then she was summersaulting. A little grandma taking a tumble like Humpty-Dumpty and my mind grasped for words that played a macabre game of Hungarian hide and seek. Screams of ‘help’ but they were silent screams that could only flirt with the trauma unfolding.
A woman behind me ROARED an emergency call in decibels that ricocheted off of the storied ceilings. The young man in front of me stretched his body across the chasm and punched the red emergency STOP button. And we all rushed off of our escalator and ran to help. In the midst of blood, and topsy-turvy bags and fine gray hair, she was okay. Shaken. Bleeding. But, okay.
My language-frustrated, Hungarian-limited, adrenaline-rushed system left me mute and impotent when I needed it, but finding my voice in Hungarian takes a commitment; a time-consuming, mind-bending, heroic effort to make room for learning to speak.
The question becomes, in the midst of all the busy, the important, the enjoyable, is wailing out a help cry that crucial or can someone else do it?
I came across the following little gem this weekend, posted by a fellow worker who lives abroad and works with Syrian refugees.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. -Edmund Burke
Maybe it was her strong voice in a deceivingly petite frame, but I was inspired by my friend (let’s call her Teresza) and her perspective on the girls she helps. Women, whose bodies and souls have been laid out like a menu at a smorgasbord for consumption: produced, packaged, and promoted. SOLD. And, in the midst of it all, there is Teresza, spending her energy and her time on saving a handful of Hungarian girls whose biggest contribution to the economic fabric of the economy is sex.
Will It Make A Difference?
I might be honest enough to say that rescuing a mere 8 to 10 girls per year is a pathetic and paltry number out of the estimated 30 million humans currently illegally and inhumanely enslaved. Even if you lash together the heroic efforts across Hungary, Romania, and Moldova, the number of girls rescued per year is small.
I have a 102-page document for the UN sitting on my desktop called, ‘2012 Global Report on Trafficking In Persons.’ It is full of nightmarish statistics fleshed out in words that create this grotesque dance against the back-drop of my fairytale-world. Statements like: ‘1/4 of all globally trafficked victims are children‘ and ‘domestic abuse‘ and ‘persons trafficked for forced organ donation‘ and ‘sexual exploitation‘. And they dance and they and they dance.
How did we get here? How do we escape? Fix? Heal? Because a report like this says a lot about a desperately diseased world.
I think that we think that this report is about people who do things under sheets and in dark alleys that good folks don’t talk about.
But really, a report like this screams something about the good folks who aren’t talking. You see, we know that these girls are tumbling. We know that they are en-route to a hellish nightmare of addiction and abuse and desperation. This escalator deposits humans into the underbelly of our societies; places so awful that our keyboards don’t have keys and our mouths don’t have syllables to express the silent screams encased there.
And, I know that most of us don’t know what to do.
And, some of us want to do but we don’t know where to begin.
And, all of us are shocked that suddenly illicit sex has hit epidemic proportions.
But, how many of us are talking?
In a world where 30 million individuals are enslaved, those of us with a voice could be shouting so loudly that the traffickers trembled.
But, we don’t shout.
We don’t push the red, emergency STOP button.
And the traffickers just keep sticking girls on the escalators.
Because we haven’t learned the words to make them stop?
Because we don’t have the time to be bothered?
Because doing something, anything; a scream, a STOP button, costs something … and maybe we aren’t sure it will make a difference.
Oh, Mr. Burke, I hope you are wrong, but I fear that you are right.
If we understood that the trafficking of one throw-away girl that nobody wants would infect the sweet child that we carried under our breast, we would wail for help.
If human trafficking was Ebola at our front door … If the sexual exploitation of one girl brought a fever that pulped the insides and oozed out of the pores and threatened to cross borders and infect that baby-child that we wrapped up in a hospital blanket and carried home, we would scream so loud the walls of Hell shook.
If you threatened one of my girls, the TIGER ROAR that came next would loosen. your. bowels, because there is one thing that you don’t mess with in the animal kingdom and that is a mother’s baby.
But, somehow, sexing a 12-year old little girl is okay as long as it isn’t my baby.
And that’s why we don’t roar.
Men paying to rape babies, and farms where prostituted women produce babies for sex and organs like chicken farms produce wings packaged for consumption: It just keeps escalating because selling humans is an extremely profitable business that doesn’t affect me at my core.
The Bride of Christ was meant to be a roaring sanctuary but it is much easier to be good people who proceed quietly to our destination. I wonder what price we pay for staying silent?
We know what is good and what the Lord requires of his Church:
- to do justice
- to love mercy
- to walk humbly with God
Action verbs. DO. LOVE. WALK WITH. WALK HUMBLY.
But, Evil just keeps pumping women into airports and hotels and streets and sometimes it is easier for a man to order a girl or a child than it is to order a pizza.
My God, what do we do?
And I mean that as a prayer because in order for this kind of evil to triumph, there has to be good people doing nothing.
And my prayer is that God will teach us how to ROAR. And my fear is that the kind of WAILING battle cry that puts traffickers on the run only gets tapped when we anguish at our core.
Who are the vulnerable right there in your neighborhood, your school, your family?
Who are the kids with no father?
The mother without an income?
The teenager home alone and vulnerable to pornography?
WHO are the VULNERABLE?
Humpty-Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty-Dumpty had a great fall.
And all of the King’s horses, and
All of the King’s men,
couldn’t put Humpty together again.
It is easier to prevent a girl from being trafficked than to rescue her after she has been sexed and sold.
It is easier to prevent a boy from falling into a sexual addiction than to heal the oozing soul after his cravings have been carved into the flesh.
At the moment, the breeding ground for trafficking victims is so fertile the traffickers fill escalators of women and children on a daily basis.
But, the CHURCH could hit the STOP button.
WE could hit the STOP button before girls and babies and boys and men and women are loaded on the escalators.
Who are the vulnerable among you?
It is really that simple.
Oh, I could create a 10 point check-list on preventing sexual exploitation. They are the most popular blog genre, but a 4 words from Micah is much clearer.
He has shown you.
And, I am taking Him at his Word. You don’t need a blogger or a missionary or a pastor or a friend to tell you how to hit the STOP button. He has shown you. Full stop.
The first 18 days of October have been set aside for Freedom Awareness. Hit #18daysoffreedom and follow the Freedom Initiative to STOP trafficking.