Monday, February 23, 2009

The Bridge to Freedom

In a private conversation that I had with an anti-trafficking activist, I was told about a case where the authorities conducted a raid freeing a number of trafficked children and youth. The media in that country seized upon the event as propaganda to reassure the populace that their leaders are combating trafficking. And the international community took note and applauded what happened.

What happened next wasn't anything to celebrate. Once the hoopla died down, the kids were released from the abandoned building where they were being warehoused and turned out to the streets to fend for their selves.

I did not independently verify this story. But it sounds entirely plausible. Many countries lack the infrastructure for long-term human trafficking solutions, so they offer up whatever plays well in the press and with the international community.

When it comes to combating human trafficking, raids aren't the solution. Prosecuting perpetrators isn't the solution. Building shelters isn't the solution. Educating and counseling victims isn't the solution. And providing employment opportunities for survivors so they can start a new life isn't the solution.

There is no one solution. Think about the Golden Gate Bridge. Which section of road spanning the bridge is most important—the beginning, middle or end? Which supporting tower is most important—the first or second? Which cables would you want to do without? Obviously, you need every part of the bridge, if you want to reach the other side safely.

When it comes to helping children at Rapha House, we won't settle for raids, shelters, justice, counseling, education or employment opportunities. We're escorting young lives to safety. We're helping them to reach the other side. We'll cross the bridge with them and take them all the way to freedom. Whatever it takes. We'll stop at nothing short of that.

At Rapha House, we believe in long-term solutions. And we invite you to join us in building a bridge to freedom.

"…say to the captives, 'Come out,' and to those in darkness, 'Be free!' " (Isaiah 49:9)