Eric Eckert’s “Four ways to battle human trafficking” offered a needed spotlight on a real problem.
He rightly says, “Human trafficking is no respecter of race, gender, class or religion.” To that we could add sexual orientation and gender identity. Studies show up to 40 percent of youth experiencing homelessness are LGBTQ. Although most stories about trafficking spotlight females at risk, males also are vulnerable.
He also states that runaways and throwaways—a sad but accurate term for children and youth whose families have put them out of the home—are at a higher risk for human trafficking. We don’t know exactly how many “throwaway” kids are from Christian parents who regard same-sex orientation or transgender experience a sin that deserves being expelled from the family, but we know this is a reality.
I personally know many kids who were kicked out of their homes who made their way into the inner city of Dallas as they navigate homelessness. No human being should be a “throwaway,” most especially our children and youth.
As a former Texas Baptist church planter and, before that, worship and youth minister, I know Christians disagree on faithful responses to human sexuality issues. I hope we can all agree no child deserves to be homeless.
At Outlast Youth, we are working to increase awareness of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness, with the mission of reducing and preventing such homelessness in the surrounding Dallas area by 2020. We are happy to help churches, organizations and individuals raise awareness.
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Ashes and lent
As a convert to Catholicism, I get your interest and struggle in observing Lent, especially with the idea of giving something up.
It might be helpful for you to know it is becoming popular, and in some places common, to add something instead of giving something up. You could add a regular time of service to a local charity or to someone you know—a widow or sick neighbor—or add daily spiritual activity to your life.
My son added weekly service to a food pantry two years ago and hasn’t stopped helping.