Two weeks ago, I joined the rest of the summer staff at DaySpring at a meeting about human trafficking in the Tulsa area. The presentation consisted of definitions of trafficking, lots of overwhelming statistics, information and anecdotes about how people get caught up in trafficking. We were intimately familiar with every part of the information given in the presentation. None of it surprised us. After all, we work with it every day at the domestic violence shelter.
But some things did shock me.
Iwas shocked by how naive the general public is concerning trafficking. I know even with increasing awareness, not everyone is familiar with the issue. But the sheer lack of understanding behind some of the questions—“Are adults trafficked too?” “Is trafficking a brand-new thing?”—blew my mind.
I was shocked by how jaded some police officers are, especially after 29 years on the job, and especially after seeing the same teenage girl return to a pimp, even after being rescued three times before, or when a pimp slips away to another city. But it was almost painful to hear the despondency in the officer’s voice as he spoke. When one woman asked how they could help, the officer was struggling not to tell her that there was nothing she could do. He even said he disliked making these presentations because of how futile it was. He sounded hopeless.
I wanted to stand up and tell everyone that there is hope. Even when it seems like police officers and attorneys aren’t able to make a difference, even when statistics tell us that things aren’t getting better, even when our prayers seem to change nothing, there is hope.
Six women were baptized
I know this because I was there at DaySpring when a woman who has been abused and hurt in so many ways committed her life to Jesus as her Savior, and when six women were baptized and filled with so much joy for Christ.
At DaySpring, we are there when these women come to us asking for prayer for the struggles in their lives, when they approach us with genuine questions about the Bible, and when they share their favorite passage of Scripture and how it has impacted them. And we are there when they encourage us as fellow sisters in Christ and express how thankful they are for us and for DaySpring, and the changes living at the shelter as brought in their life.
Serving at DaySpring, I’ve been there when women have gotten back on their feet—whatever it takes—and find their own place where they can live with their children. They are free from their abuser with a new life ahead of them.
I wanted to tell that officer it is so important that he be there telling about what he does, because everyone needs to know that trafficking is real today. We cannot allow it to remain in the shadows any longer, because that is how it thrives. And even if one person in that room will be able to help with the knowledge they have been given, then it is worth it. The prayers uttered by the people in that room matter, and they are worth it.
Hope in Christ
Yes, there always will be people suffering in this lifetime. There will be women returning to their abuser. I know the reality of trafficking and how many lives it changes forever or utterly destroys. I’ve seen that too.
But I believe in a God who has power over it all. I know God can bring about change in any life, no matter how devastated. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes. I know that because of Christ, there is hope. There is always hope in his unfailing love.
Alyssa Dean, a student at the University of Texas at Arlington, serves with Go Now Missions at a domestic violence shelter for women and children near Tulsa, Okla.