Saturday, November 27, 2010

Shine like justice

My mother's generation invented the "product party."

Freshwater pearl and bead necklace from WAR International
What started with Tupperware became a phenomenon in the last half of the twentieth century, and it's still going strong today. My kitchen, filled as it is with Pampered Chef products, is a testimony to the appeal of the product party.

But earlier this year, I went to a different kind of product party, put on by Women at Risk International.

(The organization is headquartered in my area, but they do have an online store. It's a great place to find holiday gifts that are beautiful, affordable, and beneficial. And you don't even need to brave the mall.)

At the party I attended, most of the items for sale were accessories — jewelry, scarves, purses, etc. — made by women rescued from slavery.

Slavery? In the 21st century?

I know. It doesn't seem to make sense.

But a quick Google search on the word "trafficking" turned up these quotes:

"Today, there are more slaves in the world than we have ever had in history," said Dr. Amy Branam during a recent presentation... about human trafficking in the United States. "It happens everywhere in the world." Many people are shocked to learn that not only does slavery still exist today, but it is considered the fastest growing criminal industry in the world.
(source: Human Trafficking Search)
"Estimates have placed human trafficking and illicit migration as a $28 billion enterprise, steadily catching up with drug and arms trafficking."
(source: Interpol)
"Human trade, slave markets, the buying and selling of people — these are words and phrases that, to many people, echo a brutal and distant time in our past. But to the countless women, men, and children trafficked every year, these words coldly define the horror of their lives. Trafficking is a global phenomenon where victims are sexually exploited, forced into labor and subjected to abuse."
(source: Amnesty International)
At the event I attended, Women at Risk's founder spoke on her organization's efforts to combat the evil of human trafficking by offering women shelter, safety, and job skill training.

And she told us that human trafficking isn't limited to other countries — it happens in the United States. In the suburbs. In nice Christian families.

A few days later, a story about the arrest of a Minnesota man who prostituted his wife via Craigslist appeared on Christianity Today's website.*

Maybe reading a story like that brings the issue home, especially for parents of young daughters. But even if slavery didn't exist in the U.S., it should be an issue of concern to Christians worldwide, just as it was in earlier centuries.

Shining like justice is a big part of our call.


*(Note: In the months since that story posted, Craigslist shut down its "Adult Services" section.)

The post's title is borrowed from the Cake song Short Skirt, Long Jacket.



  1. So neat to see that word about WAR is spreading... as is the war against trafficking. Education is the antidote to ignorance!

  2. Thanks, Gina! I agree... though I always hope education also spurs action.


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