How much did your most expensive textbook this semester cost? Try not to cringe too much as you think of the number. Mine was $176.52. Now, I’m sure there are a few bargain hunters out there who were sure to snag all of their textbooks for less than that amount. If that’s the case for you, keep that number in mind.
How much would it cost to buy you? Yes, you read that right. If you were to be sold, this very second, to another human, how much would you cost? You’re probably thinking, “Wait, Krista, people are not bought and sold.” I would respond, “People are bought and sold, it’s called slavery.” Many of you would then respond, “Slavery doesn’t happen anymore.” If you currently believe that, I need to inform you of a harsh reality: slavery is happening this very second. There are currently an estimated 27 million slaves on Earth, more than any other time in history, and many of these slaves are used for sexual purposes. And, the going rate to buy a girl is $60.
That’s right, a textbook costs 3x more than you do. Does that bother you? If not, it should.
If I asked you to picture where sex slavery is happening, where would you picture? Thailand? India? Eastern Europe? Did you picture the United States or your hometown? Sex trade is occurring at such a rapid rate in the United States that the Washington Times has called it an endemic. Even worse, we live right next to one of the largest sex trading hubs in the country. Oklahoma is one of the top states for sex slavery and is often referred to as the “Sex Export Hub.” On Oklahoma’s four major highways, a high number of truck stops and proximity to Mexico make it an ideal place for slaves to be imported, stored and then exported to every place in the country, such as northwest Arkansas.
As I learned more about sex slavery, I immediately thought, “I can’t do anything.” Here I am a poor, busy college student, what on earth could I do? The more I thought about this, the more God worked in my heart. Over the past few months I have been unable to stop thinking about the little girls that are being sold. I worked at a daycare this summer and the thought that those girls could be violated continually (one girl is raped on average 10 times a day) sickened me. It made me so uncomfortable that I ignored it for a while. Like many Christians, I don’t like to think about things that make me uncomfortable. However, how many Christians choose to remain comfortable? When these girls cry out for help, I don’t think God tells them “Sorry, I can’t help you.” Instead, I think he is calling people, such as you and me, to stand up and fight to protect them. But we are telling him we are not interested because we want to remain comfortable.
I got to a point in the first week of the semester where I couldn’t sit still any longer. I was so angered and sickened that girls could be being violated like this in my town, in my state, that I was okay with being uncomfortable if it meant I could help protect them. So, that is what I will be doing this semester and the rest of my time here at JBU: fighting to protect these girls.
My friend Joel Rindel and I are in the process of starting a new ministry on campus, SASS (Students Against Sex Slavery). The purpose of our group will be partnering with local organizations PATH (Persons Against Trafficking of Humans) in Little Rock and OATH (Oklahomans Against Trafficking of Humans) to help bring an end to this disgusting practice in our area.
We are still in the process of figuring out how exactly we will be helping these groups on campus; there will be more information to follow soon. Until then, if you have any questions or would like to join our email list, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will also be a meeting tonight, Thursday in Walker Student Center room 223 at 9 p.m. The meeting’s purpose is to inform students about what our partnership with Persons Against Trafficking of Humans will look like, as well as what we will be doing this semester.