Thursday, May 8, 2014

The value of a life

Genesis 1:26 - 31
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground--everything that has the breath of life in it--I give every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning--the sixth day.

Here are 11 facts about Human Trafficking

1. Globally, the average cost of a slave is $90.
2. Trafficking primarily involves exploitation which comes in many forms, including: forcing victims into prostitution, subjecting victims to slavery or involuntary servitude and compelling victims to commit sex acts for the purpose of creating pornography.
3. According to some estimates, approximately 80% of trafficking involves sexual exploitation, and 19% involves labor exploitation.
4. There are approximately 20 to 30 million slaves in the world today.
5. According to the U.S. State Department, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year. More than 70% are female and half are children.
6. The average age a teen enters the sex trade in the U.S. is 12 to 14-year-old. Many victims are runaway girls who were sexually abused as children.
7. California harbors 3 of the FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas on the nation: Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.
8. The National Human Trafficking Hotline receives more calls from Texas than any other state in the US. 15% of those calls are from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
9. Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year.
10. Human trafficking is the third largest international crime industry (behind illegal drugs and arms trafficking). It reportedly generates a profit of $32 billion every year. Of that number, $15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries.

11. The International Labour Organization estimates that women and girls represent the largest share of forced labor victims with 11.4 million trafficked victims (55%) compared to 9.5 million (45%) men.

Today's post is about Human trafficking and more specifically about the 270+ girls who have been kidnapped from their school in Nigeria and are about to be sold if they have not already been sold. 

Is the life of a woman and girls anywhere in the world worth $90? Is that all we are worth? That is the average cost to buy a slave today, either for labor or sex. Let that sink in. The going rate for a woman or a young girl is $90. That there still is this ideology that women are less than, are subservient, are property and are in need of a man's guidance is why this value exists. It may be 2014 but there still is the patriarchal system that is in every country. Though it may not be as extreme as the Middle East this Patriarchal system is here in the US.  Young girls, American girls are denied an education because a man sees her as a revenue source and sells her daily to men who only see her as a source for getting his needs met. Girls and women are forced to work within home, in salons and spas without pay, again because a man sees them only as a source of revenue.

It is reprehensible that what has happened in Nigeria is allowed to continue. Humanity allows it to continue when inequality between men and women is allowed to continued. I pray that this atrocity that has occurred in Nigeria will wake us up and we will begin to see ALL young girls and women as equals. That the female race will be seen as an image of God just as the male race is. In Genesis 1 we read that God created man (humankind in the Hebrew) in his image. That in God's image he created both male and female. This denotes a state of equality. Both male and female display, exude the image of God. Then towards the end of Genesis 1 we read that God saw all he had created and said that it was good. All of creation is good. That includes females here. If all of creation is good then why do we allow the good that God has created to be demeaned, abused, belittled, ostracized and seen simply as property. To be seen as a means to an end. I cannot, based on Genesis 1, believe that God intended for the world to be this way.

Was in not in the gospels that Jesus first appeared to the women. He entrusted them to proclaim the good news. He entrusted both his male and female disciples to proclaim his resurrection and to go into all the world. When God sees us women as good and Jesus has entrusted us with the good news I will not allow anyone to deny my humanity or that of any woman. As long as Human trafficking exits and the beatings of women occur in the name of God I will not be silent. Please do not be silent. We must work to end the atrocities that befall women all around the world by demanding justice and equality for all. I believe it is possible.  Philippians 4:13

“I believe in the death of injustice, in the life of hope, grace, mercy, and love. I believe in the impossible. I believe there can be healing where there is violence. I believe reconciliation is possible- hearts can be moved, minds can be changed, politics broken. I believe that justice can roll down like a river and we can all taste its sweetness. I believe in the impossible. I believe we can treat people- all people- with dignity; we can recognize their humanity; recognize the divine within. I believe we can do more. Create more jobs. Build more homes. Turn food deserts into promise land harvests. Subvert racial and gender hierarchies. Consider others more important than ourselves. Slay preferences that lead to exclusion. Set captives free. Welcome the stranger. I believe in impossible things. I believe in death because I believe in life. I believe in the death of -isms. I believe in the life of love. I believe humanity can change because I believe in the impossible.”    - Austin Channing Brown with The Impossible