Every January, pro-life marches and events are held across the country. We talk about abortion in our parishes and homes, and we eagerly attend special Masses that are held to pray for the sanctity of all human life. We look at the adorable babies in our midst and, spurred on by a passion for life, decide that we will take a stand for the unborn children. We will speak up for the voiceless, and we will aid their mothers. We allow our hearts to be touched, and we are moved into action.
We absolutely need to continue spreading awareness about abortion and work to help the unborn babies and their families. However, we need to widen our pro-life scope and talk about another tragic reality that is in our midst: Sex trafficking.
I wonder, at times, why we don’t talk about sex trafficking very often.
Our silence is possibly due to discomfort. It is much more fun to hold pictures of cute babies on street corners and encourage people to choose life than it is to talk about the uncomfortable, grim reality of sex trafficking in our nation.
Maybe our silence is due to ignorance. We don’t know about this common form of slavery—what it is, or how to combat it—and so we don’t discuss it.
Or, perhaps we do not discuss sex trafficking because we have not let the issue touch our hearts. We stand at a comfortable distance with our “Choose Life!” posters, having the faint knowledge that sex trafficking exists, but keeping ourselves far from the issue. We think that other people can become knowledgeable about this slavery. Other people can do something to fight it. Other people are called to help the victims…but not us. We may share an article on social media about “5 Ways to Fight Sex Trafficking,” but that’s the extent of our engagement with the topic.
Originally, I thought that—since January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month—I would write an upbeat article about concrete ways that we can fight this industry. Then, I realized that many articles like this exist already. Yet, silence still persists in many of our churches and communities. We know about sex trafficking, but we have not let this knowledge touch our hearts. We have not been moved into action by compassion and a sense of justice.
So, let yourself be moved. Read the stories of sex trafficking victims, and listen as their voices cry out for help—the help that only you can give. Watch documentaries, learn about local anti-trafficking organizations, and open up your heart. Let your heart be touched by the stories you hear, by the plight of thousands of people in our cities and towns. When your heart is touched, you will see that the statistics on trafficking represent adults and children from our communities, people who deserve dignity, respect and love.
St. Teresa of Calcutta is attributed with saying, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.”
Holding this wisdom close, look at your community. Let yourself be touched by the reality of abuse, disrespect, and sex trafficking that affects many people near you. Then, let yourself be moved by compassionate love to do something to help our brothers and sisters in need.
Photo credit: “Human Trafficking” by sammisreachers via Pixabay. CCO Public Domain.