My decision to move to Charlotte, NC from California 11 years ago was fairly abrupt. What many of my friends knew about Charlotte was… nothing. Those who did asked me if it was the home of Nascar. Just 3 weeks from now Charlotte will be front and center in the national spotlight because of its role as host to the Democratic National Convention. All of uptown (we don’t have a downtown but people here like the word “uptown”) will be clogged with thousands of extra people. Unfortunately, this means along with increased legal revenue there will be an increase in the money made from human trafficking.
Human trafficking is the modern day version of slavery. These criminals force their victims into labor and it can be in any industry. The most common forms of enslavement include labor, such as farming or working in a sweatshop, and the sex trade.
It is a $32 billion industry. Traffickers often drive carfuls of women in for big events like the DNC. According to the US Dept. of Health and Human Services there are 15,000-18,000 people drafted into slavery every year in our country and 2 mil. worldwide. It’s absolutely despicable that it happens in far off places, but somehow even more horrific that it happens here at home. This city that has over 700 churches is the 8th most likely state in the United States where human trafficking takes place.
Thankfully, people are becoming more aware, more involved, and more adamant about fighting for the innocent and the exploited. My dear friend Tamara is a producer for Halogen TV. She lives here in Charlotte but has been to those far off places with exploited girls, pimps, and johns. She has also been with the rescued and the rescuers and invites us to join the mission.
Here is her invitation to those in Charlotte…
GO with love
I Spy: Hope
Your Invitation to See, Pray, Do on Friday, Aug 31st
In my head—where visions of my ideal self reside well fed and contented—I am a stellar spy. Actually, I’m one of the best.
In real life, I routinely lose at hide-and-seek.
As difficult as it is to admit, I could likely never pull off being a “leap across rooftops in a short leather skirt and take down national enemies with a kiss” type of spy.
However, I’m learning to be a different kind of spy.
For the past year I’ve been invited to spy out hope in the most unexpected of places: among the sex-trafficked and traded.
I’ve had the opportunity to interview survivors and modern-day abolitionists throughout the US and SE Asia. I have heard gut-wrenching stories that have made me want to scream out in fury. And, I have listened to extraordinary tales of transformation that have struck me speechless.
Young women…and young men…turned into commodities. Some captivated by force; others imprisoned by the hope of love, the need for money or the fear of death. And some of these young women and men have been rescued, liberated and actively helping others.
On this journey I have seen more potent pictures of the Gospel than I’ve ever encountered before.
This August 31st, I invite you to become a spy too. Please join me to hear a couple of short stories of the trafficked in SE Asia and find out what is happening right here in Charlotte. A survivor who was trafficked in the Carolinas will share a bit of her story and the creative and soulful work she is doing to help stem the sex-trade in Charlotte. We will also take time pray for the hundreds, if not thousands, who will be brought in and exploited during the DNC. And, you will find out ways you can make a difference in this fight and not only spy out hope but also spread it.
DATE & TIME: Friday, August 31 // 7:30-9:00pm
LOCALE: Warehouse 242