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  • Writer's pictureGrace Episcopal Church

Some Thoughts on the Film, “Sound of Freedom” and the end of human trafficking

By Deacon Mary

Some of you have seen the movie, “Sound of Freedom,” and probably most have heard of the movie. Anything that brings human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children to the forefront of peoples’ minds is invaluable in the fight to end this evil. The work of Operation Underground Railroad, the group founded by the movie’s protagonist, was my first glimpse into this world that I had never even imagined could exist.

Kidnapping and enslavement by strangers is an unthinkable horror that recent research has found in 3% - 10% of cases of child sex trafficking. Focusing on “stranger danger,” ignores the most frequently used scheme of traffickers. Shockingly, a very large majority of children are trafficked by people they know – family, friends and neighbors. Many children are groomed by people they encounter through social media. While rescues like those in the movie, and others less dramatic, are essential, prevention is key to ending all human trafficking.

While addressing human trafficking, especially child sex trafficking, can appear an overwhelming struggle, there are many people who are actively engaged in prevention efforts. This work isn’t necessarily glamorous, and you may not at first recognize it as the frontline of the fight.

If you have been moved to become active in the fight to end human trafficking, there are things you can do that address the underlying causes.

· Become a mentor to a young person with a program like Boys & Girls Club of Marion, Traffickers often target young people who are going through a difficult time or who lack strong support systems. As a mentor, you can be involved in new and positive experiences in that person’s life during a formative time.

· Learn how human traffickers often target and recruit youth and who to turn to for help in potentially dangerous situations.

God has called up an army to end human trafficking. It is us – His Church. This is God’s work that His children be free, and we are invited to join Him. Everyone who strives to protect and lift up the vulnerable is part of this army, everyone who works, everyone who gives, everyone who prays.

I recently had the opportunity to meet with Councilwoman Kristen Dreyer who expressed an eagerness to be involved in ending trafficking here in Ocala/Marion County by working to address the underlying causes that make people vulnerable to traffickers. This January for Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, the Marion County Human Trafficking Task Force will sponsor a number of events that will not only continue to raise awareness but will focus strongly on a call to action. Do not listen to the voice that tells you are powerless and have nothing to bring to the fight. Everything you do to better the life of a child or a vulnerable adult is important. As Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

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