Creating modern-day abolitionists. That’s one of the taglines of the Richmond Justice Initiative (RJI). While a much deeper topic than what I usually write about here, I watched a film clip about their work in our church service today and it was really thought-provoking. My son, who happened to be sitting next to us in the service today, asked innocently how can there still be slavery? A good question and also a complicated one to try to explain without getting too deep with an eight-year-old.
This is one of several headlines I’ve seen recently calling attention to the serious issue of human trafficking, which seems to largely be tied to the sex trade and often starting in the pre-teen and teen years. What was surprising to me was that this isn’t just an issue rampant oversees in some eastern european country, it often happens in the United States.
According to RJI, here are a few scary stats:
- 27 million people are estimated to be enslaved in the world today
- The average age of entry into forced prostitution in the U.S. is 12-14 years old
- 100,000 U.S. children are trafficked within our borders each year
The RJI has launched the Prevention Project which is aimed at:
Educating young people on the lures of trafficking, and invest in character and leadership development; so we not only prevent sex trafficking from occurring, but create and equip leaders to bring a lasting change for our communities and beyond.
As a person, but especially as a parent, this is really troubling. I thought it would be a worthwhile effort to highlight. Here’s a video clip that provides some encouraging news on the particular efforts of RJI locally in Richmond, but a national organization committed to similar causes is the International Justice Mission, and you can find a link below to their website and other resources.