Human trafficking is real…

Yesterday, Ryan and I attended the first official meeting of the first ever Human Trafficking Task Force in Baton Rouge. for those of you who don’t know it human trafficking is modern day slavery. The majority of the slaves are used for money making in the sex industry while others are forced to do manual labor against their will. There were several incidents of forced labor reported after Katrina. Louisiana ranks in the top 10 for trafficking in the United States. That is not a statistic we are proud of.

We have been involved with Trafficking Hope for over a year now but we are finally diving in deeper to make a difference. When you think of the big scope of things it seems a bit overwhelming. Five years ago I never would have questioned whether or not the girl doing my nails was here working against her will. It never would have occurred to me that the 14-year-old who is posting near nude photos of herself on MySpace or Craig’s List was actually being pimped out by her boyfriend. I would have sat in judgment of a woman who took part in pornography not knowing that she was forced into it. I would have thought, “Can’t she just leave?”

But it really isn’t that simple.

For those who are smuggled into the country they may fear criminal prosecution or deportation. Who knows what their captors have told them.

Domestic slaves usually stay because they were trapped into it by spouses, boyfriends, or even their parents. Some have signed away their life in the midst of a drug induced state by giving away power of attorney. It has been reported by others that they were drugged, forced to have sex, and it was filmed. They captors then hold the video for blackmail.

The truth is we don’t know all the “tricks of the trade”. We are learning as we go.

In the meeting there were law enforcement officials, teachers, ER nurses, social workers, people who hide women in safe houses, attorneys, politicians, and even FBI agents. Among them were a few handfuls of everyday citizens just wanting to do their part. Ryan does what he can as far as his skills and talents are concerned and me? I am a voice for the victims. I can speak, write, and pray on their behalf. I can inform others of the reality that is modern day slavery. It is not prejudiced. It knows no race, gender, age, or religion and it affects everyone.

While the numbers are uncertain, what is known is that human trafficking is the second most lucrative crime in the world. That is pretty vast.

I want to do my part by making the problem known. Would you simply take a moment to read a bit about the horrors that are human trafficking? It could very well save a life; maybe even someone you know and love.

You can find facts and figures here: Polaris Project. Read the national report on the sale of minors here: Shared Hope. Find out more about commercialized sex here: The Defenders. And on this blog you will find lots of up to date news about human trafficking and some may even be close to where you live: The Anti-Slavery Project.

If you have any questions just leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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  1. Hi Amy,

    Thank YOU so much for getting involved and making a difference.

    I understand this ache firsthand. My story includes being put in a scary situation and so much more that happened, like trafficking but we were let go. I’m finally ready to start sharing in order to help others see how evil and real trafficking is.

    I’d appreciate your prayers for me to step out boldly and speak up for those without a voice. I can’t stand this. These are precious, priceless boys and girls.

    I hope to use my photography to help fund rescue efforts through Children’s Hope Chest, Lord willing.

  2. Thank you for being a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. This is a serious issue that cannot be swept under the rug. Real lives are at stake. Much to pray about.

  3. Thanks for spreading awareness. Check out the A 21 Campaign too. They are doing amazing work.

  4. I have just learned about this too in the last couple of months after a presentation at our church, and plan to go to more informative meetings on this. Here is who we heard from:

  5. Yes, Amanda F. is really involved in this when we lived there. She would share with us all the stories and info. I really think BR is so big on the list because of I-10!

    Anyways- Fabulous ministry to be apart of and it needs such a voice, yours will be a good one!

  6. Amy, I tend to forget how close you live to me. I am in Denham Springs. You know–the new Baton Rouge.

    I am astounded by this. Yes, I knew it was a problem. But not of this magnitude. Recently, my family and I have been overwhelmed by the current condition and circumstances of a loved one. Drugs, in and out of jail and God knows what it is attached to her scenario. We are currently praying and seeking out help for the substance abuse. But the stories she tells me paint an awful picture. After reading this post, I have to wonder about some of the young women crossing her path over the past year and the possibility of far more complex situation.

    Please join us in prayer for our loved one. And thank you so much for this post. For raising awareness of such a horrific situation.

    Many thanks!
    Rena Gunther

  7. I was confronted by this not too long ago and it shocked me that the source was so much closer to home than I thought it might be. This is such a need, one that goes beyond what I can imagine. I’ve been praying and will continue. Thanks for tackling this, Amy.

  8. Thank you for posting about this. It is a very uncomfortable subject that we would rather not have to hear about but really need to. Recently in the town I live in a mother sold her precious 6 year old little girl to a man for sex. He ended up taking the little girl’s life. This break’s my heart! Life just seems to hold no value for many people anymore. This man had passed through the food line at my friend’s church many times with his mother. They hand out food to the needy once a week. This problem is closer to all of us than we may think. Praying!

  9. Wow – did not plan to begin my workday in tears. Just overwhelmed at how easy it is to hide in our ‘comfortable little world’. As I read this, I quickly think of each nail tech in the salon I go to – feeling comfortable that they are indeed okay. Crying out to God to protect my sweet grandchildren, especially as one is entering the age of dating. But AMY – so convicted by your statement: “I would have sat in judgement” – Oh God, please forgive us. I now want to leave my office and go to the closest city and give each prostitute a hug. I must find comfort that PRAYING today is enough because we have a Mighty God who loves each one of these victims as much as He loves you and I – as much as He loves His own Son.

    Thank you for sharing and making us aware!!!

  10. This has been a burden on my heart for well over a year – and the more I learn, the more I ache for the young women (and young men) caught in this. So often the VICTIM is hurt not just by the people forcing her into slavery, or using her for their own pleasure – but also by laws and law enforcement – mostly out of ignorance. Praying with you – thanks for sharing this – for writing it – for getting involved!

  11. I am praying. For what and against what I have no idea. This is one of those things that I do not want anyone to talk about. But as with many of these things God needs me to hear it. So please tell us more and exhort us to help.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Amy, Lisa Shaw. Lisa Shaw said: RT @AmyGBayliss: Human trafficking is real… #humantrafficking #batonrouge #sexindustry #slaves #taskforce […]

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