Help Me Bring Healing to Victims of Human Trafficking!
Today, as you are reading this very sentence, there is someone being tricked, kidnapped, abducted, or given away by family, somewhere in the world. The reality is that these people may never see their family again, or lead a ‘normal’ life, or see the most basic of dreams they’d hoped for come true.
These people are victims of the modern-day slave trade, otherwise known as ‘Human Trafficking.’
I first had my eyes opened to human trafficking in November of 2008, while I was on a photo/video assignment abroad with ‘Life Without Limbs.’ The men, women and children I met left an indelible impression on me. Some were freed from their captors and receiving much needed rehabilitation; others were still being forced into labor, usually the sex trade, and yet others I never actually met: I just observed them in the bustling, filthy streets of Mumbai’s infamous Red Light District.
I stood a few feet away from two girls, not more than 11 years old, being forced to work the streets as prostitutes.
I met a wonderful woman who was still in captivity, being forced to work long hours sexually entertaining scores of men each day, waiting to be freed. Yet, each day she held a Bible study for other victims in her cramped, dirty 9×9 foot brothel room. Like the 40,000 other prostitutes in the Mumbai Red Light District, she has a 70% chance of contracting HIV.
I saw little children at a shelter run by Bombay Teen Challenge, singing, being fed and clothed, being taught educational basics, and being loved…and the tears that would stream down their faces as they prayed for their mothers, their situations, and the hope they held for a different life.
And I saw an infant, not yet able to walk. She was crawling through mud, puddles of urine, and trash after midnight with no apparent adult caring for her. An illegitimate daughter of a prostitute who could not escape, could not care for her own family, and has little hope for a future.
Last year I decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail to bring awareness and raise funds for the victims of human trafficking. (My blog from that trip is located HERE)
This coming Fall I will be embarking on another effort to raise funds and awareness, as I will be riding a recumbent bike made of bamboo from California to New York, a journey of over 5,000 miles. It will be the first attempt ever made at riding the length of the United States on a recumbent bicycle constructed of wood. Along the way I will stop at a few locations to give a presentation regarding human trafficking, the victims, and what we can all do to help.
Please subscribe to my blog, follow along, tell your friends and family, and become involved by donating financially or with much needed gear. Your help might mean the difference in another person’s life.
Please, become a voice for those without a voice, the help for the helpless, and a champion for those that need rescuing. Donate today, and follow along on a ride that will help others find freedom and healing.
To donate, simply use PayPal, and use this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dug “Rawhide” Shelby