It was such a horrible thing to think about … people abducting tourists and selling them as slaves.
I felt terrible for those individuals who were faceless to me ¬– I would even pray for them in the moment – but then I would quickly move on. When I first heard of human trafficking it seemed like a rare occurrence that only happened overseas in some foreign land … As if it only happened to people who didn’t plan well, or made bad decisions or trusted the wrong stranger.
But in this moment in 2018, I have come to learn that human trafficking is happening in the Carthage, Missouri area. I don’t know anyone who has been taken – yet – but this knowledge has changed the way I live.
It’s a sad, new world when you feel uneasy letting your 7-year-old son ride his bike through your neighborhood “only four houses down so that I can see you!” Or always scoping out the people looking at your 5-year-old daughter in Walmart as you wonder, “are they targeting her?”
This is the kind of mindset that will drive any parent into madness, but there is a difference between living in awareness and living in fear.
The first step for me has been awareness, and that has only come with testimonies I’ve heard from people I know experiencing situations that would make your blood curdle. From unknown vehicles driving slowly past daycares and through neighborhoods, to people on cell phones in local stores (not buying anything) following and watching individuals – this is really happening.
The police can’t be everywhere in every moment, so here’s what we can do as citizens and Christians …
• Live aware of your surroundings.
• Try not to be alone if you’re out late.
• Communicate with loved ones where you are and your plans on when you’ll be home.
• Learn some self-defense – God-willing you’ll never need it but it’s something to help you not live in fear. Some people carry mace or some form of weaponry but understand this decision comes with responsibility and the knowledge of what you’re capable of doing.
• Walk by faith – this is the most important one.
If you’re scared that’s good ¬– no one in their right mind wouldn’t be for the sake of their children, but realize the fact that God loves our children more than we do. Rest assured in the peace our Heavenly Father brings, and live in faith, wisdom and awareness.
Rebecca Haines is a contributor to The Carthage Press.