While living in Houston, I became involved in an organization that combats sex-trafficking. Since Houston is sadly a major hub for human trafficking, I really had a heart for everyone involved in this trade. Whether a consumer, a pimp, or one offering services, all are in bondage. It was my desire to help raise awareness to end modern day slavery. Because involvement in this ministry was basically in my backyard, making the decision to leave such a pressing and in-my-face-issue when I traveled to Africa was difficult. I figured that moving from the physical front lines in Houston to a village in South Sudan meant the best way for me to still be involved in the movement to end human trafficking was to pray. However, human trafficking is an issue all across the globe, and the Lord has opened some doors for me during my stay in Uganda.
Living in Uganda for a time has enabled me to research the rates of trafficking here. My findings were that, due to poverty, low employment rates, plus a few other factors, many women, men, and children are being sucked into slavery. Uganda is a big hub for child slavery.
Children are forced to work as cattle herders, miners, beggers on the streets with the money going to their oppressor, workers in bars or restaurants, and prostitutesᵃ. Women are targeted as well. Many times, Ugandan women unable to find work are lured by men whom they have learned to trust (usually a boyfriend, a good friend, or another woman who is caught up in trafficking) into going somewhere internationally in promise of a high paying job. Upon arrival, the promised job is discovered to be a lie, passports are seized, and they are forced into sex slavery.
In fact, it was reported in 2012 that “over 600 Ugandan women were trapped in Malaysia’s sex industry”ᵇ. Uganda is also a destination country for trafficking victims from all across Africa. These victims--women, men and children--may be sold in cattle markets and forced into both domestic and sex slavery within the country. It has also been conjectured that trafficking of children is directly linked to child sacrifice, which is still practiced by witchdoctors in some parts of the country ͨᵈ. All of this breaks my heart.
Being delayed in Kampala has been very trying, but God has been faithful. He has enabled me to actually play a physical role in fighting human trafficking. It is nothing that I have gone looking for, but something that has fallen into my lap.
I have a new friend. I’ll call her Jane. I believe she is being lured in to a situation that will lead to enslavement. I cannot relay much as to maintain privacy, but all signs point to what seems to be a trafficking ploy. I can already see how gracious God has been in protecting Jane. I continue to pray for God’s wisdom on how to handle this delicate situation and for His mighty hand of protection and His intense love to envelop Jane. Will you join me?