Saturday, June 29, 2013
TEENS AND TRAFFICKING
Where do teenagers learn about Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking, Labor and Industrial Trafficking, Debt Bondage, Internet Safety and Pornography on a sunny weekend in June?
At a Baptist Church in Bixby, OK!
This weekend was New Beginnings Baptist Church annual leadership weekend and all subjects pertaining to Human Trafficking were tackled. WOW! What an outstanding, organized plan that accomplished the goal of helping teenagers become aware of the dark world of modern day slavery.
Youth/Family Pastor Jeff Berg spearheaded this event which required a time commitment from the teens from Friday 1 p.m. to Sunday afternoon 5 p.m. The teens experienced being "trafficked" Friday night with a sweat shop, seedy motel, immigration headaches, and all the dangers involved in a world very different from their own. Rooms of the church were decorated as such and each one spent some time in one area or another all night long. They got a "taste" of being held against their will through force, fraud, and coercion. Some were led away from their friends only to return with signs hung around their neck declaring they had been "beaten" or "raped!" A few endured the frustration of working in terrible conditions at a mindless job for hours, their only light a single bulb hanging from the ceiling. Some had to try to "sleep" in horrible conditions created without A/C, a concrete floor, no pillow and a humming noise that wouldn't let up. A couple of boys had their money and identification "stolen" making it very difficult to successfully complete the complicated "immigration" procedure.Some officials they had to face didn't speak English, some required a bribe. The list of "planned frustrations" went on and on!
Jeff and his team of volunteers very carefully led them all through the simulation without causing undue anxiety or trauma. They finally got to sleep (for real) at 3:30 a.m. The plan was brilliant!
He invited me and my friend Wanda Satrom of Christians Against Trafficking to participate in a day long Saturday seminar for the teenagers. We presented Human Trafficking 101 and helped them navigate a research project about all things pertaining to HT on computers. We brought with us a HT survivor to tell her story, the founder and President of the Demand project to talk about Internet Safety and a representative from CrossLane Counseling to speak to the boys about Pornography. Wanda and I spent a separate time with the girls talking about BOYS, addictions, sexual purity, etc. We encouraged the girls to embrace and enjoy the love, forgiveness, power and protection that only Jesus can give them, rather than to look to a boyfriend to fill the longings of their hearts. (Much time was spent discussing appropriate clothing choices, alcohol, avoiding dangerous situations and the need to pray for each other and the boys of their group.)
It was a long full Saturday! When we left at 5 pm the activities were still in process. A movie dealing International HT was next on the agenda followed by a recap of the activities thus far in preparation to teach the ADULT members of the church all they learned at Sunday services.
These teens are so very fortunate to have a pastor and a church help them navigate the dangerous waters of the modern world filled with technology, predators, recruiters, and peer pressure. They don't run from uncomfortable subjects but offer solutions. Yay for them! What a very LOVING thing to do!
May their kind increase!!!