My Most Huge and Terrible Thing

I haven’t slept well the past couple of nights because I keep thinking about sex trafficking. Not about doing it, of course, but about it as a “thing” in the world.

I’ve been following the trip four other mom bloggers took to S.E. Asia this past week to learn about The Exodus Road, an organization committed to stopping child slavery in the form of sex trafficking. I’ve always felt strongly about sex trafficking, but I feel like these have writers have dropped a bomb in my gut. It’s different seeing someone’s up close and personal experience. I’ve died a little inside while reading their beautifully raw stories, cried with them in sympathy and frustration and anger, and tried to figure out what to do with all of those Big Feelings.

Coincidentally, one of my very best friends just got hired to do grant writing for an organization in San Diego that works to fight child trafficking. Apparently, that area of the country is a trafficking hotbed for several reasons, none of which make any sense to any decent-minded person.

And it happens everywhere. Even right here in “the land of the free.” Human beings—the vast majority of them women and children—are sold, traded, and used for their bodies. Children my girls’ ages. Sold for sex. And I just can’t even. I CAN’T EVEN.

The truth is there are a lot of terrible things to get riled up about in this world. For instance, the fact that there’s enough food to feed everyone on the planet, yet there are still millions of hungry and malnourished people. The fact that 1/3 of the world doesn’t have access to basic sanitation. The fact that the average woman in Africa has to walk 3.7 miles to fetch water. The fact that war is still our go-to solution for solving complicated world problems.

And so, so, so many other Huge and Terrible Things.

All of those things make me sad and angry. All of those things are totally worthy of our attention and action. And I certainly don’t mean to compare any of them or put them into a hierarchy, as each is a unique and complex issue with unique and complex solutions.

But each of us has a certain “thing,” don’t we? One of those things that hits us extra hard for some reason? A thing that awakens a ferociousness in our bellies that forces our attention?

Sex trafficking is that “thing” for me. It’s horrific beyond anything I can justify, no matter how many ways I look at it. And it’s prolific. And it involves so many related issues that are important to me, such as economic justice, the equality of men and women, education and opportunity, and our societal treatment of sex in general. And I can’t just let it be.

I’m still working through what to do with this fierce resolve. And I’ll be sharing more as I figure it out. For now, please check out these bloggers’ stories. I promise it’s worth your time. Here are a few posts to start with:

What I Learned about Sex Trafficking from an Evening with Two Prostitutes  (Kristen Howerton – Rage Against the Minivan)
Some Initial Thoughts from a Travel-Addled Brain (Dooce)
Bright Lights and Brothels (Roo Ciambrello)
A Million Ways to Say it Wrong (Jamie the Very Worst Missionary)

I’m off on vacation now for a week. Sorry to leave on such a serious note. There are very few things in life I can’t find the humor in, and this is one of them. It’s probably good that I’ll be on a spiritual retreat this week. I need a little stewing time.

Don’t go anywhere while I’m gone. 🙂

Photo credit: Evan Courtney

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Annie writes about motherhood and other hilariously beautiful things. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and three children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

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