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Terrify No More

August 7, 2006

O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted;
You will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear
To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed,
So that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.
-Psalm 10:17-18

I just read the most shocking, disgusting book, and I’m glad I did.

Elisabeth was a smart seventeen-year-old Christian girl in Southeast Asia. She was looking for a job to help support her family and go to school. Her mother’s cousin told her about a good opportunity in a neighboring country (it’s not uncommon to go work in another country and send back money). She thought she was going to work in the food-services industry. Instead, she was tricked and trapped into being sold to a brothel. Not fully understanding the language and being in a strange country, there was no way out. Kept under lock and key, Elisabeth’s virginity was sold to the highest bidder for $240. And it was even against the law of the country she was being held in.

Elisabeth clung to her Bible and the truths of Scripture during this horrible time of abuse. Finally, with the help of International Justice Mission (IJM) investigators, Elisabeth was able to escape from the brothel. Her story is just one of many. Her story is happening today, to many girls as young as five years old, who are sold into sexual slavery all over the world. Although this problem may seem far away, many of the perpetrators are Westerners–Americans–who at home are seemingly “upstanding” professionals but who engage in child sex tourism or forced prostitution in other countries as well as the U.S.

Terrify No More by Gary Haugen and Gregg Hunter is a gripping book that brings to light some of the darkest abuse and evil in the world. The book centers on a large sting operation in the famous area of Svay Pak. It can be a little distracting, because the the story shifts between the major story and some side stories, but it grabs your attention like a Tom Clancey novel and doesn’t let go until the end. Unfortunately, it’s not a novel.

I first heard about International Justice Mission from an interview with Sara Groves. Then my friend Bethany, from Grace Community Church, told me about listening to Gary Haugen’s testimony and how it impacted her. I decided to check out the book from my local library.

Gary Haugen is the President of IJM and is a former UN war-crimes investigator, who while in Rawanda, cleaning out mass graves, started wondering why there weren’t any organizations to stop such tragedies before they get so out of control. There were many non-profits who were there in the aftermass, giving health care, food, and clothing, but that wasn’t what people needed when they were being killed by their neighbors. So was born IJM.

IJM is a Christian organization that works with other countries to provide support in upholding laws that have been broken. I was impressed with IJM’s holistic mission. It is to “1. Free the victims; 2. Prosecute the perpetrators; 3.) Secure places of safe aftercare for victims; and 4.) Transform communities so the injustice isn’t acceptable or worth the risk any longer.” Made up of investigators, lawyers, and former police staff, they seek to uphold laws already in place and use the legal system to provide freedom and justice to victims.

What can we do? We can learn about the issues, U.S. laws that deal with predators, and also give to these ministries and support them financially. We can also pray. I became a IJM prayer partner and will continue to be aware and support IJM and other organizations who also help women of sexual slavery like Shared Hope International. But perhaps Elisabeth can tell us how to pray best:

“I want people to pray for the victims of trafficking. But also pray for the traffickers. Pray that they would change their ways. Pray that the victims would not the believe the lies of the traffickers. Pray for the families of the victims, and pray for the Christian victims, that they don’t lose their hope in God.

It’s grace from God that people have come to help me. It’s from the prayers that God has sent people to help me. I would tell people to keep praying for me . . . Pray that God will use me, and that I can serve him.”

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 8, 2006 9:09 am

    Wow. How sad. I have seen and read some stuff about human trafficking. It is just awful so many are so young. What a great organization. Thanks for the info and the book recommendation.

  2. August 8, 2006 2:14 pm

    I’m glad you wrote about IJM! Sara Groves was here a couple weeks ago and showed us the video she and her husband produced. I’ve been doing more research on human trafficking. I’m so glad organizations like IJM are doing something about it.

  3. August 8, 2006 8:53 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Danielle. I had heard about this issue, but haven’t thought about it in awhile …

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