I had heard about Bokenkamp, a children’s facility, in my home town for years. I knew it was there, but assumed it was like a huge foster home.
When you assume, you’re usually wrong.
A friend hosts Chick Time and they make monthly visits to Bokenkamp. Deciding I should step out and go, I dug in for more information. This is what I learned:
Bokenkamp hosts children from ages 10-18 mostly from Central and South America who made the dangerous trek to the United States, escaping deplorable conditions. These children were rescued in the process. They bring nothing; some arrive barefoot, hungry and thirsty with only the clothes they have on. Some have family in the United States, while others have been sent by their own families in hopes they will escape civil war, the drug trade and poverty. Some travel thousands of miles alone, while most pay large sums of money to human traffickers to cross the border and find jobs.
Right here in my home town, just miles from my house, is a shelter for these young kids that have been trafficked. My heart pounded and I knew my daughter and I needed to go. Standing outside the shelter I hoped my soul could take what I would experience and see on the inside.
Seeing their faces everything changes.
You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know. — William Wilberforce”
I’ve heard the stats and maybe you have too — 27 million modern day slaves, every 60 seconds a child is sold for sex, and that human trafficking is the 3rd largest global industry. Those are sickening stats!
But walking into that room and seeing 30 young girls broke my heart. It was real! Seeing their bandages, I realized these weren’t just stats – they were young girls between 10-18. They had families. They had stories. All the sudden human trafficking had a face, a realness I wasn’t prepared to meet.
We spent a few hours there. I held back tears the whole time. I watched my daughter from across the room. She has a burden for human trafficking already at the age of 19. Read her account of the day here. Luckily they gave me permission to take in my camera and I got to live behind my lens. Of course, to protect the girls no faces could be photographed and they searched my camera afterwards.
When you know you can’t sit idle any longer.
After crying our eyes out all the way home, I knew surely there was something more I could do. That’s when I found The Exodus Road. The Exodus Road is a coalition of covert investigators who are committed to fight human trafficking. Yes, people, secret investigators who fight human trafficking. A team of 15 undercover agents who have had 622 victim rescues and 349 legal prosecutions. Good guys to the rescue!
WOW! Not only can I love and serve those young kids who have already been rescued, but I can support the good guys who are trying to prevent and prosecute.
I encourage you to be a voice in this generation. Let’s reverse the stats. Let’s get involved. Let’s make a difference.
What can you do?
give financially to fund rescues
pray for an undercover investigator
Oh please tell me, you’ll help be a voice for those who have none!
Have you come face to face with human trafficking? Your thoughts.