I have a love-hate relationship with exercise. I really want to be healthy and fit, but I also really love naps, chocolate, cookies, and Scooby Doo gummies. In reality, the exercise would actually help with my love for sleep and sweets, but I digress.
It’s hard for us to take that first step into the sneakers and that next step out the door or onto the treadmill. I need more motivation than just becoming a woman who can rock some skinny jeans. Obviously, being healthy and losing weight are motivating reasons. But what if we could run for something that mattered even more than the size of our jeans? What if, with each step we took, we were helping put an end to worldwide injustice?
Slavery Still Exists
Slavery is a $32 billion per year industry with 27 million victims worldwide. When unveiling the U.S. annual report on human trafficking in 2012, Hilary Clinton commented, “Those victims of modern slavery are women and men, girls and boys, and their stories remind us of the kind of inhumane treatment we are capable of as human beings.” There are more slaves right now than in any other time in human history totaling 27 million people. That’s the population of Georgia and Florida combined! It’s a staggering, overwhelming number of people. It’s almost unfathomable to consider combating such a desperate need.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing. – Attributed to Edmund Burke
Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia has done an incredible job of not only shining a light on an injustice that too many are unaware of, but also of calling to action the group of people who appear, on first glance, to be the least qualified group to help: poor, college students. At the Passion Conference in January 2012, college students donated over $3 million of their own money to end this injustice. They weren’t told beforehand that they would be asked to do this. They merely gave from their own wallets and hearts. In doing such a sacrificial act, these students made a statement that was heard around the world. There are many organizations that partnered with Louie Giglio, lead pastor of Passion City Church and head of the passion conferences, including Love 146. Fighting in Asia, Europe, and the United States, Love146 is part of this movement to finally put an end to slavery worldwide and bring freedom to the captives.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” ―Elie Wiesel
Love146 began in 2002, while on a trip to Southeast Asia to determine how soon-to-be co-founders Rob Morris, Lamont Hiebert, Desirea Rodgers, and Caroline Hahm could fight the trafficking of children. Rob Morris participated in an undercover investigation of a brothel suspected of selling children for sex. Rob recounts:
We found ourselves standing shoulder to shoulder with predators in a small room, looking at little girls through a pane of glass. All of the girls wore red dresses with a number pinned to their dress for identification… They sat, blankly watching cartoons on TV. They were vacant, shells of what a child should be. There was no light in their eyes, no life left. Their light had been taken from them. These children…raped each night… seven, ten, fifteen times every night. They were so young. Thirteen, eleven… it was hard to tell. Sorrow covered their faces with nothingness. Except one girl. One girl who wouldn’t watch the cartoons. Her number was 146. She was looking beyond the glass. She was staring out at us with a piercing gaze. There was still fight left in her eyes. There was still life left in this girl… Because we went in as part of an ongoing, undercover investigation on this particular brothel, we were unable to immediately respond. Evidence had to be collected in order to bring about a raid and eventually justice on those running the brothel. It is an immensely difficult problem when an immediate response cannot address an emergency. Some time later, there was a raid on this brothel and children were rescued. But the girl who wore #146 was no longer there. We do not know what happened to her, but we will never forget her. She changed the course of all of our lives.
It’s overwhelming and it’s gut wrenching. But it doesn’t end here. There are men and women who are standing up and saying enough is enough. Love146 is one of many organizations that are putting every effort into freeing the captives and bringing their captors to justice.
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” ―Mother Teresa
Tread on Trafficking
Now that you’re all fired up and ready to join the fight against slavery, here is where you can help. You don’t have to leave town, spend tons of money, or even leave your house. All you have to do is get your heart rate up! You can register online at Love146 Tread on Trafficking. All you have to do is ask sponsors to support you as you exercise, be it running, swimming, biking, or working out—either for miles covered or hours spent. Send emails and spread the word with your personal fundraising page you’ll receive once you’ve registered. A hundred percent of the proceeds go to Love146 and their fight to end human slavery.
If you’re already a part of the Love146 Tread on Trafficking movement, let us know! Share your story of how it has impacted your life. Send us your story!
For more information on human trafficking and how to get involved with organizations fighting against it, check out the resources below.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” –Martin Luther King, Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches