daylight is coming

exodusJanuary is Human Trafficking Awareness Month.

Read an article about What it Takes to Rescue a Sex Slave by Matt and Laura Parker, founders of The Exodus Road.

relevantExodus Road has also welcomed the music group Remedy Drive as an official Exodus Road artist.

Hold on – daylight is coming
Daylight is coming to break the dawn
Daylight is coming

 

We can remember those that need daylight to break the dawn.

There are people everywhere that need hope.

 

And everything changes in us.

Freedom.

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In the United States we will be celebrating the 4th of July. Freedom.

My Grandfather often told us the story of his big brother who died in World War II. Clem was a gentle young man who shared candy bars with the family dog Lady. His payed a deep price for my freedom and my children’s freedom. There are many who have done the same.

 

I blog for The Exodus Road. An organizations that provides rescue for global girls trapped in modern-day slavery through sex trafficking. We can’t travel to these places and snatch these girls to freedom ourselves. There are trained people who can. People who often work for free, tirelessly to save innocent lives and we can make a difference.

The search fuels the rescue. And by investing in our teams, you would be putting boots on the ground, sending eyes to search for the enslaved. 

 

Here is the link to learn more. For the Search and Rescue FAQ page click here. To join a search and rescue team you commit to sponsoring $35 a month. This funds one night of search and rescue a month. You can choice which team you join Alpha, Bravo, Charlie or Delta. Being a part of the team, you will receive up-dates, specific ways to encourage volunteers on the field and a welcome packet.

I’m excited to share this opportunity. It is a way to dig deeper into a cause that needs our voices.

Joining a search and rescue team is a tangible way to bring the freedom we ourselves have to girls that are enslaved.

“Tell me how many kids you want to rescue, and if I have the resources, I think our team could make that happen.” – Exodus Road Coalition Partner

 

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Photo Credit: Ellie Van Engen

Anna’s Story Part 2

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Read Anna’s Story Part 1 here. 

Anna’s Story Part 2 of 4

Through Anna’s drooping eyelids, the bus interior faded in and out. Nightmares disturbed her sleep of the bus never stopping and the bus stopping where it should not.

Valentina shook her shoulder one dawn morning. The landscape had turned to a green she had not known before. A flicker of hope warmed her, but faded just as quickly. They continued into a city. In the glow of the rising sun, grew buildings and neon lights flickering off after illuminating the night. The bus stopped on a narrow, un-swept street. Anna stood up, disoriented. Valentina locked their elbows together.

The two girls who had sat in the back of the bus exited first, and took off running. Three large men followed after them. Anna heard the screams, the sounds of heavy dropping onto pavement.

 

“Be still,” whispered Valentina into her ear. Anna was led into a dim building and up a narrow flight of stairs. A middle aged man pushed her toward a closet-sized room. Anna held onto Valentina with both her hands, frantic. The man shoved her so hard she skidded across the cement floor into the wall. Click and she was locked in: no windows, dark.

Anna quit counting the minutes pass. She thought of the smell of warm bread in the morning. Matushka used come home tired, and yet still brushed her long hair and helped braid it away from her face for the ovens. They would be waiting, her brothers and Matushka. They were waiting on her. She thought of the money never arriving. Her heart constricted and she felt warm tears slide down her cheeks.

 

Hours passed before the door clicked open and a three people entered the room. One walked to the center and pulled on a chain. All that time there had been a bare light bulb and she had laid there in darkness. A small sleeping pallet lay in one corner.

She stood up tall. “I want my passport back. I want to go home.”

The woman laughed bitterly. She moved her fingers against her palm indicating money and pointed at Anna. Then, she moved closer and cupped her hands around Anna’s narrow waist, nodding her head in approval. Anna darted for the open slit of the door. The young man to struck her across the face. Rising up she tried again only to be struck back. This went on until she could not summon strength to stand again.

Lying on her stomach, she could hear voices in the hallway through a small gap between the door and the floor. The words spoken tangled into rhythms and sounds she did not understand. Sometimes she could make out names. The people that came to her space were Meka, Analu and Ipo.

 

She lay crumpled on the pallet and whispered the story of the Firebird and the Grey Wolf into the darkness as she did to her brothers each night.

And Prince Ivan lay dead. His brothers took all that he had; the firebird, the horse and Helen. Then the crow brought the water of death and the water of life to the grey wolf. The grey wolf revived Ivan with the water. He regained all he had lost.

 

Days passed where she refused to rise despite their yelling and the kicking of her body. One day they brought a fourth person into the room with them. She lifted her head and folded herself into Valentina’s arms. Valentina whispered into her ear in Russian, “They will kill you. You can’t run with no passport, no money. They will find you anyway because of the debt. Be a good girl, do what they say. Down the hallway, girls share rooms. Maybe we can. These things I know. I will watch over you Anna, I promise. Stop fighting. I worry for you.”

“I want to go home.”

 

Anna wore high heels, a mini-skirt, red lipstick and eyes rimmed heavy with charcoal. A glass window separated her from the ogling eyes. She would not raise her head, they could not make her. The younger man, Ipo came and lifted up her chin. Her eyes grappled for the floor as she strained against his cold fingers. Every night following would pass the same.

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Her tears dried up. The thought of home made her ache and she let it become dim in her mind. Empty was easier, it took all her strength to keep breathing. Sometimes, she wondered why she cared to keep on, death might be better, only she was too scared. She thought of her River Neva frozen to the bottom layer of silt. There was no more water running underneath the frozen layers, alive. No, everything lay solemn and cold. She quit whispering into the dark.

 

Join the fight against human trafficking at Exodus Road.

Follow the Exodus Road Blog to keep your thoughts in proximity to the need. 

Harvard Student Lea Parker attended Passion 2013. We, God’s people, need to be present.  Read her post here.

Blogger Amy Bosma writes a post here called Break my Heart. 

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Anna’s Story, Part 1

anna's story

A 4-part realistic fiction series for The Exodus Road about human trafficking. 

The journey of Anna: 

He pushed a pile of rubles across the counter toward her.  Anna laid them one-by-one in the palm of her hand, rough from kneading layers of black bread since dawn.

“This is only half of my pay.” She stared down toward the concrete floor. Anna wished for her scarf to hide behind, but she had left it for Petya whose cough had worsened throughout the night.

Mr. Belikor shook his head and perspiration seeped through his linen shirt. The air in the bakery hung thick with the warmth of the ovens. “Your Matushka, came again and borrowed against your salary. The rent was past due.” He drew his eyebrows together attempting to appear stern.

Moisture filled her eyes. He was unbending.

Mrs. Belikor sweep around the counter. “Anna, we can’t. Here take these breads that will help.” The old woman adjusted the flaps of her hat and patted her cheek. “It’s so frozen outside today.”

Leaving the warmth of the little bread shop shocked reality out her every time. The River Neva stood ice-covered and the streets winter drab.  She tucked the bag under her arm and hurried down the walkway. Across the back alley, Anna caught sight of a group of teenagers sharing a few cigarettes. On the edge of the crowd stood Lukiia, Anna had sat beside her before she left school two years ago. Lukiia raised her hand and waved. Anna waved back but kept pace because her brothers would be home from school soon. She turned the corner on the straightaway to their third floor, one-room apartment. A sign on a storefront caused her to pause.

sign

Her father had always called her his impulsive rybka (fish). She wished she could recall the contours of his face, but she only saw him blurry now. She imagined a sweet country house for her Matushka. Her brothers could continue their studies all the way to tertiary school and might have a try at futbol. Her hands moved to crack the door open and she peered into the dim interior of the store front.

 

Anna pressed a cup of warm tea into her Matushka’s hands.

“Bread and eggs again?” Pyotr flopped onto the boy’s mattress in the corner of the room.

“It will make you strong,” encouraged Anna, ruffling his long hair.

Pavel lit the oil-lamp. “When will the switches work again?”

Matushka looked up at Anna, too weary to spin the reality of their situation.

“This is more fun. We will cuddle up tonight and tell stories after Matushka leaves for work. I thought of a new adventure for the Fire Bird and the Gray Wolf.”

Anna smeared bright red over her Matushka’s lips. She smoothed color over her high cheek bones, and the dark marks that permanently resided under her blue eyes. Every evening she left, only to return at dawn, in time for Anna to leave for the bakery. They lay in a row in the moonlight, her brothers. They would never need to know where she went and what she did.

 

Anna touched her hand to the bus window, filled with fingerprints and watermarks. A single suitcase lay on her lap. Passing behind her stood her brother’s and her Matushka, fading into distance. The bus curved around the River Neva. Sometimes beside the ovens, kneading the dough, she had thought about how miraculous it was that life continued and water moved under the layers of the frozen river. She wished the driver had not collected their passports. Without it in her pocket, she felt nameless. Two girls sat together in the very back, their heads pressed together, giggling.

Across from her sat another girl, no older than herself, fifteen. They drove for what seemed hours when the girl moved across the aisle beside her. “I’m Valentina. The International Airport is not so far, should it be? Pulkovo is not so far, in St. Petersburg.”

Anna peered out the frosty windows to the stretching Siberian cold, the rising of mountains. “I am hungry. Do you think we might stop soon?”

Valentina unwrapped a brown parcel and offered her a tea cake. “I stole them,” she whispered. “But, you needn’t worry. I’ve been sleeping beside the railroad tracks. The nighttime is so cold. Perhaps, we need to fly out of another airport.”

Eventually sleep found her and she woke to Valentina pressing up against her slumped form. “Something is very wrong. This is the border to China.” Valentina gathered Anna’s hand into her own.

A middle-aged man entered the bus and spoke to the driver. They watched as the driver handed him the envelope he had placed their passports in, the man held out a wad of paper bills in return. During the exchange Anna’s heart seeped from warm to frozen. Like a breath of condensed air in the cold, everything around her turned to a fog…

 

We need to fight to end human trafficking for all the Anna’s. 

Follow the Exodus Road Blog to keep your thoughts in proximity to the need. 

Last week Harvard Student Lea Parker who attended Passion 2013 talked about filling the void. We, God’s people, need to be present.  Read her post here.  

UNICEF’s End Trafficking Project

#endtrafficking

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. (We’ll have some awesome opportunity’s to be involved through Exodus Road and upcoming guest posts by university students who attended Passion 2013.)

 

Today, Global Team of 200 shares UNICEF’s End Trafficking Project.

 

An estimated 5.5 million children are victims of trafficking, an illegal enterprise that generates an estimated $32 billion in yearly profits.

Did you know? Human trafficking cases have been reported in every state in the United States. Rates are particularly high in California, Texas, Florida, and New York.

 

BELIEVE in ZERO exploited children. I don’t think our minds can truly understand what these children endure. We have a responsibility to get involved and speak for those that can’t speak for themselves.

Watch the new documentary film Not My Life 

not my life