not my daughter

People are valuable. We tell people that all the time. “Stop putting yourself down,” we say. “You can have your best life,” we say. “You can do this,” we say.

I look at our son. I look at our daughter. I love them. I send them texts: “I love you” “I’m cheering madly for you.” I do everything I know how to let them know that they have value. I want them to understand that it’s not because of what they can do, but because of their very existence. They are created ‘in the image of God.’

And then I read that other people believe that children are valuable. In fact, they are now more valuable than guns. They still are in second place to drugs. However, they may catch up. So the 1.2 million children sold for sex around the world each year do have financial value, even if they only cost $300 when they are purchased.

We sort of chuckle when we hear jokes  about “the world’s oldest profession.” Until we think about the average age of those “professionals”: 11. So sixth-graders can be learning about economics in school, or they can be economics.

My friend Janet is in Africa teaching people in villages about their own value, about the lies that people will tell parents about the “school” in the other country, about the “jobs” that will be available, about how safe their sons and daughters will be. Janet never planned to work in refuge camps and villages this way, but God has her doing it because, God cares about oppression.

My friend Diana is writing and teaching and traveling and tweeting. She is doing everything she can to help people understand how to stay out of trafficking.

And I’m not sure about writing about sex trafficking at all. I mean, it’s not the kind of thing I write about. But if I am about helping people find out that God made them with value, that God loves them, if I am about helping people emotionally understand the truth of God’s work, then part of it is helping us emotionally understand the need. And there is a need, especially if you are one of the 100,000 kids being trafficked in America right now.

“I’m glad it’s not my daughter,” we think.

And that’s a comfort, how?

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Today is National Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery Awareness Day.  Diana has a list of things to do. Go there.

12 responses to “not my daughter

  1. Here I sit, in my suburban American home, thinking that all is good – because my family is with me – they are active and stay out of trouble. My sons, and my daughter – all is good, because they are safe in their beds right now…
    “I’m glad it’s not my daughter”…

    You’re dead on right, what kind of comfort should this bring? Just because the girl in my life, my 11 year old is safe right now – that should not bring comfort – knowing there are others out there suffering unspeakable crimes against them.

    I sit here, and normally this thought never even crosses my mind. Today, you’ve put that thought there – that’s good. It’s good, because we are all one, we are brothers and sisters in Christ… and one suffering is all suffering…

  2. Thank you, Jon, for shaking us up — and doing it with your usual (and abundant) grace, wit, and gentleness. You are a great writer, and I appreciate your blogging about this difficult subject. Great job.

    Diana Scimone
    President
    Born to Fly International, Inc.
    Stopping child trafficking…setting kids free to soar
    http://www.born2fly.org
    http://www.dianascimone.com (blog)

  3. Pingback: It keeps coming up… « Winnowing

  4. Powerful post, Jon. It’s so easy to want to forget that this is going on.

  5. Jon, thank you for this post. Thank you for making us think (again). Thank you for bringing real matters of life to the forefront of our consciousness. These are the things that we should be taking action on and eradicating as individuals, as a people, and as a world.

    It may not be my daughter, but somewhere out there a sister in our humanity is in need…

  6. Lance, thanks. The one part suffering means the whole body suffers reminder
    was very important to me in thkning back through this.

  7. Thank you, Diana, for taking steps and inviting us, graciously, to care.

  8. Rick, thanks for coming by. And for your concern.

  9. Thank you for writing about such a difficult topic. You have reminded us that while keeping our own children safe is important, we must not forget the ones who are not safe.

  10. I am glad its not my daughter(s), but the thought that usually runs through my head is “I can’t imagine this happening to my daughter(s).”

    The thought of one of my daughters first being treated as an economic transaction and then forced to engage in the things these children do and see makes me sick.

    I’m glad my daughters are not faced with this reality but that fact makes me think of all the kids that do, it certainly doesn’t bring comfort.

    Thanks for making us think (even if it is a bit uncomfortable).

  11. thanks Chris – and thanks for the work you have done on behalf of kids and
    youth.