End It!

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Over the past few days, you’ve probably seen a bunch of red X’s on the Internet and on people’s hands in your circles. And you’ve also probably seen a lot of posts on social media talking about ending “It.” What is “It”? What do we want to end?

In case you don’t know what they’re all about, they are part of the End It Movement, and the “It” is the tragic practice of slavery that plagues our world today more than it has ever plagued our world in history. It needs to stop and we are a part of the solution (whether we know or think it, or not). Ending it starts with knowing about it, which is why I want to share with you a post that I published last year about how Abolition begins with Awareness (with a few updates and minor changes). I invite you to read it . . . and then do something with excellence to bring about the end of slavery!

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In anything, we can’t meaningfully fight against an injustice unless we are aware that it exists. Then, after awareness, we need to educate ourselves on the tragedy and care about ridding the Earth of it. Once we care about fighting against it, we are ruined in a beautiful way because we absolutely have to do something to fight against the injustice. The horrible injustice known as human trafficking is no different.

If you aren’t aware of the slavery and human trafficking our world today and aren’t already fighting against the tragedies in some meaningful way, I hope that you take some time to acquaint yourself with the epidemic that plagues tens of millions of babies, children, and adults on Earth today more than it ever has in our Earth’s history. (The video below and these statistics (bit.ly/Vsfjk4) provide a bit of education in this area, though it is very difficult to get accurate figures given the nature of the crimes.) Then, I hope that you are brought to care about eradicating the world of the tragedy on your way to helping the fight against it. (At the end of this post are few great organizations with which you can get involved if you want to fight against trafficking, both on the prevention and intervention sides.)

My story involves simply becoming aware of human trafficking by reading a book discussing the practice, “Good News About Injustice,” by Gary Haugen, when I was comfortable practicing law in a firm in Sacramento. That book got me to care and I was forced to do something about it.

So I started looking into how I could fight against it with my legal skills and Haugen’s organization, International Justice Mission, seemed to be a natural fit. That wasn’t to be, but in the process I researched human trafficking and found that orphans are commonly the victims of the epidemic because they don’t have anyone to advocate for them. That caused me to look into the prevention side of the fight against human trafficking – that is, how to prevent the orphans and other children from being forced or tricked into the terrible industry.

There is a whole lot more to the story, but the short of it is that my quest for a fit for an organization fighting to prevent orphans and at-risk children from the ills of trafficking led me to Providence World (providenceworld.com). How is Providence fighting human trafficking? By working to inspire and equip others to raise orphans and at-risk children in families, with high-level education, medical care, nutrition, spiritual formation, and everything else they need, so that they can become societal leaders rather than being susceptible to traffickers.  We have taken the lessons we’ve learned, along with lessons learned from other collaborating organizations, and have written a collaborative, 15-author book, In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence: My Kids, Your Kids, Our Kids (release date in April), on what best practices and excellence in orphan care communities looks like all around the world (as well as how everyone can be involved in loving orphans and at-risk communities well). We hope that through excellent orphan care, less children will be trafficked and there therefore will be less need for intervention in the future.

So how can you get involved beyond awareness? If you care about fighting against trafficking on the prevention side, get involved with orphan and at-risk care with Providence or another great orphan care organization such as New Hope Uganda, Lifesong for Orphans, Hope International, World Orphans, The Hands and Feet Project, Show Hope, Arrow Ministries, Casa Viva, America World Adoption Association, Child Hope International, Heartline Ministries, Bethany Christian Services, Faith to Action Initiative, Village of Hope Uganda, Buckner International, Vision Trust, Help One Now, Cherish Uganda, Asia’s Hope, to name a few of my friends and collaborators working with excellence (definitely not an exhaustive list).  Also, the Christian Alliance for Orphans website is a great place to start if you have never looked into orphan care and want to see the landscape of quality orphan care (christianalliancefororphans.org).

However, the reality is that there is still a HUGE need for intervention today.  There is a huge need for people to uncover the trafficking operations, rescue and provide aftercare for trafficking victims, and prosecute the offenders.  There also is a huge need to fund and pray for such operations.  Every one of you can do at least one of those things. If you feel led to fight on the intervention side, there are some great organizations on the front lines of the war on trafficking that would love to have you join their army.  Ones that I respect very much are the aforementioned International Justice Mission, The Not-for-Sale Campaign, Run for Courage, and Courage House.

If you haven’t already, start today to do something with excellence to End It! I’d love for you to leave a comment on how you’re working or plan to work to end slavery in our world today!

  • April Shaffer

    Phil. All Souls Fellowship founding members. The Shaffers. We went to Romania in 2013 as a family to care for orphans and are changed. Caleb is 16 in May. Lindsay is 13, 14 in August. We were captivated and will return in 2014 for 10 days or so. I would love to reconnect with you and Becca to see how God is using you and investigate this heart pull we have. Shafferapril1@gmail.com or april.shaffer@pnc.com. Many thanks. April. Hugs to Becca an amazing woman.

    • phildarke

      April, while I appreciate the frame of reference, there was no need to clarify who you are. Of course I remember you and Rodney – we will never forget our All Souls family. I would love to talk with you about the journey God is taking you on – so exciting to hear about you being captured with what is so core to our Father’s heart. Also, you should pick up a copy of the collaborative book project that I just published with 14 other authors, In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence (http://amzn.to/1jr3Xr0). It is full of the why, what, and how of loving orphans with excellence, as God loves them.

      And, you are correct, Becca is an amazing woman – I definitely will give her hugs for you. : )