My Facebook status box asked, “What’s on your mind?” I had planned my day very differently and thinking or writing about child exploitation was not on my list.
But then I received an email from ‘Innocents at Risk‘ sharing the good news that 245 perverts and exploiters of children had been arrested. Great good news for a change. But so many are still missing and being exploited. I’d rather not know this. I’d rather think about something else. I’d rather turn away, but that won’t make this problem go away. The picture above from the ‘Innocents at Risk’ website reveals the horrid reality. Nobody wants to see a child hurt, but it is the turning away that allows it to continue. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people!”
Please don’t turn away because this is painful. You can help in so many way! “The sexual abuse of young children, often at the hands of people they trust, is a particular wrong,” said ICE Director John Morton in the ICE report. These exploited children have had their innocence stolen. I’m reminded of a stanza in Courtni Webbs poem about victimization and innocence. Courtni was suspended from school from writing a poem that included these lines.
They want to hold me back
I run but they attack
My innocence I want back
I used to smile
Awareness and prevention are paramount. It’s impossible to totally restore these children to wholeness and innocence. Many exploited children will turn to drugs, exploiting other children, or end up in jail or the morgue. Storing up the hatred for their perpetrators (and the silent by-standers) for a lifetime of victimization can cause these kids to act out. You have probably noticed kids that seem a “bit off” and probably ignored it. You might be their savior. Keep your eyes and your heart open to hurting children.
So, what’s on your mind today? Today and everyday we have a choice of what to think about, care about, and pray about. DID YOU KNOW THAT BABIES AS YOUNG AS 3 ARE BEING EXPLOITED FOR THE SEX TRADE? These atrocities are happening in our own back yard, in our own country. Your daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, cousins, sisters, brothers, neighbors, church members, and students are potentially at risk. Trafficking is a 32 billion dollar industry and no group, gender, or class is immune.
110 victims were just rescued in 19 of our United States. Victims were as young as 3, with 35 were under the age of nine! Both young boys and girls are victims. Please don’t ignore this! Unfortunately, we tend to LIKE catchy sound bites, but ignore the serious issues unless they affect us personally. Please people pray for the children, especially those exploited or about to be exploited. If another mothers babies are unsafe, it’s my issue too. Everyone CAN do something, even if it is to educate others and PRAY! Please LIKE if you’re going to PRAY, COMMENT, OR SHARE. Those are ACTIONS.
Don’t just look out for the weird-do or the stranger. People you know could be exploiting children right under your nose. NCMEC CEO John Ryan. “They could be your neighbors’ children, your child’s classmate, or even your own child. We thank Director Morton and everyone at ICE for their strong commitment to rescuing the most vulnerable of victims.” You can read the entire article at the ICE website but here is an excerpt.
“HSI and partner law enforcement agencies arrested 245 individuals during the operation, which took place Nov. 1 to Dec. 7. Of the 123 victims, 110 were identified in 19 U.S. states. Of the 123 victims identified during Operation Sunflower: five were under the age of 3, nine were ages 4 to 6; 21 were ages 7 to 9; 11 were ages 10 to 12; 38 were ages 13 to 15; and 15 were ages 16 to 17. Twenty-four of the victims identified are now adults who were victimized as children. Seventy were female and 53 were male.”
Check out ICE’s facebook page to keep abreast of what they are doing and how you can help. They regularly post pictures of the innocent and those who are perpetrators. Also the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. offers training on how you can help.