I'm afraid this post is rather heavy today. I feel so blessed to live how I do - very removed from much of the brokenness and suffering in the world, but it's good for me to reflect on what others may be going through. To get out of myself for a moment.
A couple of weeks ago, a good friend attended a prayer conference hosted by International Justice Mission (IJM) . She was kind enough to share some of the stories and prayers with us at small group. Since that discussion, the weight of the evil going on in the world has constantly filled my thoughts.
International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local governments to ensure victim rescue, to prosecute perpetrators and to strengthen the community and civic factors that promote functioning public justice systems. IJM's justice professionals work in their communities in 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to secure tangible and sustainable protection of national laws through local court systems.
Sadly, the city I live in and love dearly is one of the most intense human trafficking regions in the country. According to the Department of Justice, one out of five trafficked persons pass through Houston. Roughly 300,000 girls are bought and sold in the US annually (can you even believe it?!), and Texas accounts for 25% of that business. It's just so sickening to think about. Read more facts here .
IJM makes a stand against oppression in response to God's call for justice: Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow - Isaiah 1:17. These words keep circling through my mind; especially thinking about the way that Houston feeds this problem.
Just last week, IJM announced that they had freed more than 500 from slavery in their largest operation ever in India! I am so grateful for the persistence of the IJM staff who have given so many people new life this week!
I'm not really sure where we go from here. I just know for me that learning about this sort of thing really helps me keep everything in perspective. I feel very blessed to daily enjoy human rights, to have hope, liberty, and dignity. My prayer is to never take this for granted and to continually cry out for freedom for the oppressed.