It’s a horrible topic (nearly unthinkable), but the fact is that human slavery still exists. In fact, there are more slaves today in the world than there have been at any other point in history. The number is estimated to exceed 28 million, and roughly half of those are children.
You might think that this atrocity only occurs on the other side of the world, but an estimated 14,500 to 17,500 adults and children are trafficked into the United States every year. Major port cities take on the brunt of this horrific industry, and Houston is no exception. In fact, Houston is the number one trafficking hub in the nation.
Evil Among Us
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, human trafficking is the buying and selling of a person for forced labor, commonly leading to sexual exploitation. It is an evil that doesn’t discriminate based upon age, gender, race, or religion and can rob the life of anyone. Victims are literally bought and sold as sex objects to be abused by multiple men and women each day. Neighborhoods, nail salons and massage parlors are often fronts for brothels that can be found even in the nicest suburbs.
According to freeourcity.org, there are “approximately 200 active brothels in Houston” and “Houston is home to more strip clubs and illicit spas than Las Vegas.”
Chilling, isn’t it? But the bottom line is, Christians are among the greatest enemies of human traffickers because we care so deeply and feel compelled to take action. A host of organizations and volunteers are fighting against human trafficking in and around our cities. Victims are being rescued. Lives are being changed. Awareness is a key factor in diminishing and hopefully eradicating human trafficking. Once healed from the abuse, many former victims are able to once again have normal lives.
You Can Help… On a Bicycle!
Mark your calendar for the first annual MS150 Recommended Bike Ride on November 15. Starting at Simonton Community Church in Simonton, JUST RIDE For A Just Cause will kick off with breakfast at 7:30. The ride has something for everyone – a comfort or challenge level including a scenic ride for the less experienced, to routes ranging from 11 to 73 miles.
The ride begins at 8:30 a.m. Lunch is provided for all participants with refreshments at breakpoints every 10 – 15 miles and mechanical and medical support at rest stops. Police will provide escorts through major intersections. SAG vehicles and Ride Marshall support also is included. The course closes at 3:00 p.m.
Proceeds from Just Ride help support Redeemed Ministries and Restore Her, two non-profits that provide direct aftercare support for victims of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the greater Houston area. Many in the community have already donated their time and energy into making this event possible, including ten churches and fifteen private businesses. Pictured is the Just Ride for a Just Cause Planning Team: Top Row, L-R: Cathy Sturm, Lution Hill, Cheryl Aronson. Bottom Row, L-R: Aaron Pichon, John Crowe, Dave Marstiller.