A Call for Fierce, Faith-filled Intercession & Compassion
Exposing, Extracting & Eliminating Human Trafficking & the Sexual Exploitation of Children
Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy. Free them from the hand of the wicked. Imagine a family purchasing a new mini-van, and the terms of payment was not the normal monthly payments by check, but payment was made by the giving of their daughter to the lender for his perverted pleasure. Or, what about a ten year old forced into prostitution -- then, found standing in front of a judge charged with the crime. (Fortunately, in Georgia new laws are in place to protect these young victims, but that was not always the case and is not the case in every state.)
Consider the young runaways who, in their confusion, pain, and naivety, are picked up by pimps parading as someone who cares. Or, consider the children in our communities who are without "Gatekeepers" (people that provide what many of us would call "normal" boundaries of protection and care) who are lured away into a life of terror, abuse, and danger beyond words. Then, we cannot forget the children brought in from other cities, states and nations to meet the demand that lurks underneath the radar for the majority of our citizenry.
These children come from every socio-economic class, from near and far-away, and they are in our city being exploited in every imaginable - and unimaginable way. These are the exploited -- the poor, the afflicted, the needy.
Who are the exploiters -- the wicked? They are the predators who are willing to take advantage of a young child to satisfy their perverted lusts. They are professionals, from near and far. In a statistical study in metro-Atlanta reveals that 42% of those who contacted a "call service" and were made aware that their "appointment" would be with an under-age girl, came from outside the Perimeter (I-285) of metro-Atlanta -- suburbia. Others fly in from another city and are picked up at the airport, taken to a hotel, and return home on a flight later in the day -- home in time for dinner.
This is an incredibly serious and tragic situation -- and it is in our backyard. According to an articledated February 27, 2012, "The FBI named Atlanta one of the 14 cities with the highest number of child prostitutes - a shameful statistic that intensified attention on the human trafficking problem overall. Atlanta is a prime spot for trafficking; travel is easy and the area's diversity allows human trafficking victims to disappear."
You are probably appalled, shocked, and thoroughly disgusted at this point. I certainly am. But this is not about shock-value or simply painting a bleak picture of our city.
THIS IS A WAKE-UP CALL TO AWARENESS TO BIRTH FERVENT INTERCESSION AND COMPASSION!
INTERCESSION: We are joining in with numerous ministries and advocacy groups across metro-Atlanta to focus our intercession and fasting on this issue for the next 40-days (Feb 27-April 7) - Fast for Freedom. Imagine what God can do as believers join together in faith to break the back of this evil in our city and rescue the afflicted out of the hands of the wicked. If one puts a thousand to flight and two puts ten-thousand, what about thousands in agreement with the Lord in Jesus' name? All things are possible if we will pray and believe.
Pray for the rescue of the children caught in the web of exploitation - protection, intervention, rescue, recovery, and restoration of hope.
Pray for prevention and protection of children who are most at risk of being swept into the web of those would oppress, abuse, and destroy
Pray for the exposure of the pimps and predators so they might be effectively brought to justice and led into rehabilitation to be productive citizens
Pray for families affected by the ills of these issues - healing, restoration, recovery, hope, love, strength, etc.
Pray for the legal system, from law enforcement agencies, law-makers, lawyers, judges, court systems, and legislative bodies to develop, execute and enforce laws that protect the victims and justly deal with those who are the violators, oppressors, and abusers.
Pray for the Church to grow in awareness, understanding, and ministry surrounding the issues of human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children in our city
Pray for the advocacy groups and ministries involved in specifically addressing these issues, pray for wisdom, strategies, resources of time, talent & treasure, protection, understanding and right connections to be even more effective in their work.
COMPASSION: Secondly, during this season of prayer, ask the Lord how He would have you, the congregation or ministry you are affiliated with, or even your family, to become involved in expressions of compassion and service. There are numerous advocacy groups and ministries across metro-Atlanta that offer training and opportunities to be involved. One key advocacy group associated with the Fulton County Juvenile Court, is "youthSpark" (Juvenile Justice Fund - A Future Not a Past). We hosted their executive director, Sharon Joseph, last night for a powerfully informative meeting, and highly respect the work they are doing. You will also want to be aware of StreetGrace, Out of Darkness, Wellspring Living, the Atlanta Dream Center, Tapestri, and the Georgia Care Connection, to name but a few of the excellent organizations operating in the metro area.