Global human trafficking statistics are disturbing. Estimates suggest that over 40 million people fall victim to this heinous crime worldwide.
Among these victims, children make up a shocking percentage of those trafficked yearly for sexual exploitation. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 1.2 million children are subjected to child sex trafficking annually. The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UNGIFT) provides some statistics. They reveal that up to 20 percent of sex trafficking victims are minors. Furthermore, 80 percent of these victims are girls.
The issue is a global problem affecting all countries and regions worldwide. But the problem is more prevalent in developing countries, where child sex trafficking is often interwoven into the fabric of certain cultures as families even sell children into marriage to secure their family’s financial situation. Likewise, in many cultures, poverty, lack of access to education, and gender-based discrimination create an environment where people are vulnerable to exploitation.
Another pressing concern is the rising demand for child pornography, which reveals an underlying spiritual factor at play — a deep moral corruption that fills our society. It minimizes the severity of the injustice against vulnerable children who have little or no agency over their lives. Such attitude breeds disregard, as wicked people take advantage of innocent victims, leaving them without any hope for rescue and deliverance.
A new movie starring Jim Caviezel will be released this Independence Day weekend: “Sound of Freedom.” Caviezel is a popular Hollywood actor who has starred in films like the 2004 box office hit “The Passion of Christ,” as well as “Person of Interest,” and “Deja Vu.” He is also known for his strong Christian faith and for becoming an advocate for several charitable causes, including ending human trafficking.
I previewed the movie before my interview with Caviezel, and the story moved me deeply.
“Sound of Freedom” is based on true events. It tells the story of Tim Ballard, a former special agent for the Department of Homeland Security, who goes undercover to break down child sex trafficking organizations in Latin America.
With the increase in human trafficking globally, especially at the southern border of the United States, the movie highlights the severity of the problem. It also serves as a resource to bring awareness to a reality not widely known.
During our interview, Caviezel shared his hope that the public response to the message will echo through the hallways of the Congress and Senate and raise awareness about the realities and combating modern-day slavery. He also hopes it will foster the rise of passionate ambassadors in the secular and faith-based arenas to support organizations working toward ending human trafficking.
From a spiritual standpoint, human trafficking or slavery of any kind is abhorrent to God, who created every living soul to live in freedom. The prophet Isaiah proclaimed God’s heart in the matter, words that Jesus validated in the Gospels:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoner (…).”
To think that millions of innocent children live in such conditions today is hard to grasp. But this is the horrible truth; we cannot claim to love God and yet, ignore this wickedness. We cannot simply stand aside or let our minds become numb to the issue.
Instead, we ought to loudly condemn this atrocity. We should undertake tangible solutions involving intercessory prayer and social advocacy. We can also lobby our government officials for policy change and support organizations focused on child sex trafficking prevention and victim assistance programs.
Several organizations are fighting human trafficking, and in particular child sex trafficking, both in America and abroad. We can certainly support them financially or by volunteering. But this Independence Day weekend, you can help the message make headlines by watching “Sound of Freedom.” Purchase a ticket and pay it forward. Let’s speak up and help set captives free! Visit www.angel.com.
For Patricia’s interview with Jim Caviezel, search God-Sized Stories with Patricia Holbrook on all podcast platforms and YouTube.
Patricia Holbrook is a columnist, author, podcaster and international speaker. Visit her new website: www.PatriciaHolbrook.com. For speaking engagements and comments, email patricia@PatriciaHolbrook.com.