I used to dread our family nighttime routine. With three children, eleven years old and younger, I found I would usually run out of steam a solid two hours before the intense regimen of brushing teeth, going potty, singing songs, reading books, drinking water, praying, and finally shutting off the light. Just as my gas tank hit empty, my kids seemed to fill up their tank when I wasn’t looking.
Aren’t they experts at finding ways to prolong the process of getting in bed for the night? Jumping on beds, dancing, tickling, and wrestling are the usual suspects. After the fifth “I love you too”, is said to each kiddo, my husband and I high-five and celebrate our success like we just finished the L.A. Marathon or closed a multi-million dollar business deal.
Joking aside, I’ve learned to love what our family nights have turned into. It has become my joy and pleasure to reiterate to my children just how fond of them I am and how lucky I am to be their mom.
It is these experiences with my kids that moved me to action when I heard that, “Every 30 seconds, somewhere in the world, a child is trafficked. More than a million children are trafficked every year…” (http://www.tearfund.org) After being hit with the reality of sex trafficking and child exploitation, simply “doing nothing” wasn’t an option. We didn’t really know what we could do. Every night as we tucked our kids into bed, we burned with the question, “If our kids deserve to feel safe and loved before bed, shouldn’t all children?”
Our initial response was to educate ourselves. The savagery of child exploitation and sexual perversion we read about cut straight to our heart. What these children were going through sounded more like a horror movie instead of a reality. A horror movie that is being played in every nation of the world including the United States.
In an effort to further understand the scope of this problem and find ways to combat it, my husband and I traveled to Pattaya, Thailand. This city is known as the “sex tourism capital of the world.” Men from all over the world fly to Pattaya to rape little girls and boys with seemingly no risk. We took a deep breath and began our walk down the infamous Walking Street, which is about a one mile stretch that consists of “100 beer bars, more than 30 go-go bars, massage parlors…” (http://www.pattaya.net) We marveled at the sight of Thai police, standing at the entrance and exit of the Walking Street, doing absolutely nothing as prepubescent young girls stood in front of bars and brothels beckoning customers to come in.
My skin was crawling. I wanted to grab as many kids as I could and make a run for it! Yet, I knew we may have been some of the only people walking the street that night that was having a hard time with what was going on. Where were the parents, the friends, or the caretakers of these children?
Proverbs 31:8 implores us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. There are millions of people in the world who can’t speak for themselves because either no one will listen, they live in fear, or their culture and/or religion condition them to believe slavery is the only form of life they deserve.
Many have asked me, as I once asked of myself, “What can I do?” The first step is education. Education leads to empowerment. Start by visiting slaverynomore.org and research the organizations they are in connection with. After you educate yourself, give time for prayer. The information that you will be processing can sometimes be hard to bear. Be sensitive to the Lord’s voice and seek to understand His heart not only for those enslaved, but for the pimps and Johns too. From this place of surrender, ask God what He desires you to do in response to modern-day slavery. We are not powerless! We can be used to see the captives set free and receive the honor and dignity that is theirs by birthright just by refusing to stay silent.
Redefined by Grace,
Christina Andriese- Born and raised in Southern California, Christina Andriese currently lives in Murrieta, CA with her husband of 10 years, Ian, and their three incredible children – Aria, Ethan and Luke.
Christina loves to take in any and every opportunity to connect with people’s hearts and to encourage them to become the best version of themselves. Her dream is to see the church awaken to her full potential – to see humanity walk in freedom – ignited by hope, empowered to dream, and equipped to operate out of the resurrection power that Jesus provides!
When she isn’t homeschooling, being a chauffeur, ministering or working, Christina enjoys napping, going to the beach and reading.