4.19.2013

Why I'm not on the "front lines" anymore

It all started in grade nine for me when I watched a sex slavery video in Cambodia. Girls that were
exactly my age, rapped over and over again with no hope of a way out. I started reading about injustices that were more than my mind could comprehend and I spent hours reading about them truly believing ignorance is not bliss but just adding to the problem.



I realized I wanted to become a global citizen and get involved "in the movement" whatever that meant....


then after realizing so many of my peers didn't know what was going on I started a Free the Children group at my high school desperate for people to learn about what was going on- hoping they wouldn't sit back but stand up against injustice. My plans of being a business major turned south when I realized that these causes were what I was most passionate about and I knew in grade twelve I wanted this to be my vocation.

Fast forward to university in a peace and conflict studies degree I wrestled with not doing enough. I needed to know if I could handle seeing poverty in my face and if this demanding, emotionally and draining task was really what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I knew that I needed to go by myself to figure this all out and I knew that in order to test my stamina I needed to go for more than 8 months.

This led me to live in South Africa for 11 months and a month of solid training and transition. I spent this year fighting for justice on the front lines and wrestling my way through the tough questions that never seem to provide an answer. With all the tears, chaos and pressure I thrived in this
environment. I stood up for justice and Lord willing empowered the kids I lived with. I got to teach refugees who came from all over Africa and learn about what was actually going on- so much more than I could ever experience from a news paper article.

Since being home my passion and conviction grows stronger every day to seek justice and love people as human beings who are precious and valued. However, one can 'look into my life' (including me) and see no progress since Africa and not a lot more than a university student getting married. The question that runs through my mind so often is "are you even doing anything anymore?" - this question has haunted me on more than one occasion as I've wrestled with what my purpose is in this season of my life when it comes to fighting for justice.

After seven months of trying to figure it out I think I have enough of an answer to try to put this into words.
It starts with thoughts in my mind like:
- if there wasn't such a demand for paid sex than would we need to traffic so many women to meet this demand?- basic economics of supply and demand (for my simple brain) 
-sex traffickers and pimps prey on vulnerable girls and woman who are struggling financially and emotionally (most have had a history of violence and sexual abuse)
- if women knew their worth- if they knew that they were loved and valuable would they let a man treat her this way- would they still sell their bodies?

I've watched countless hours of documentaries of woman saying that they aren't worth anything. They don't have value in this world so they let guys walk over them, sell them and even if they get out of the industry they usually go back in. I've watched pimps and sex traffickers say how easy it is to get a girl into the industry who has no dignity vs. a woman who knows her rights and her value. 



One documentary I watched asked the pimps how they specifically got women to believe the pimp loved them and wanted a relationship. Their answer: gifts. That was all it took for these pimps to secure girls to be in a "relationship" with them eventually have them prostitute themselves and sleep with other men- all it took was gifts. Is it really that simple? (no, but follow me here) One pimp said on camera- "they just want someone to take care of them, and we can easily do that (laughing)"

I'll never forget the rage I felt burning inside of me when I watched these pimps laugh and joke about how easy it was to control and make money off of these girls.

So how does this all fit together?

My passion is still the same. Human trafficking. But it's taken a slightly different course this past year.

I don't want gifts to be enough for a young woman to believe a man loves her. I don't want it to be that simple to get girls into the sex trade. 

I believe that if there was a generation of women who knew their worth, knew they were loved, valued and cherished that it wouldn't be that simple. That these women would catch the red flags more easily because they wouldn't be so desperate to be loved, to have their 'boyfriend' provide finances etc. I know this is a complicated issue (trust me) but I have clarity that what I'm passionate about is prevention work- preventing women to get to a stage where gifts aren't enough to win them over.

My heart's passion and desire is to help myself and other ladies realize that they are worth so much. You don't give into a pimp overnight but a long process of feeling dehumanized and worthless- I want to do something/somehow to prevent these women from ever getting to that point.

Although I still want to travel the world and raid sex brothels to rescue the millions of women trapped in slavery- I believe for this season of time my calling is to equip and encourage others to love themselves and value themselves as precious human beings and children of Christ who longs for them to see their worth.




So am I planning to live in Africa for another eleven months right now- nope...but I am planning on sipping tea and hanging out with beautiful woman as we discover our value and worth. 







With conviction,
Maddie

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