Sometimes I’m a whiner. I know you find that hard to believe, but it’s true. And it seems a little incongruous, considering that my standard uniform these days is a a pair of jeans and a Life Is Good t-shirt (one of the perks of working for yourself is you get to set the dress code).
And my life is good. I have part-time work that I love that pays well. I have an incredible husband who loves me and sends me away on trips with my girlfriends (headed to Myrtle Beach tomorrow). I have a beautiful extended family with no family feuds, even over my mom’s estate. (Don’t get me wrong; my brothers can still be annoying, but they can’t help it.) I live in a lovely house in a great neighborhood. I have a relationship with Jesus that brings me joy. It’s a good life.
I should never take it for granted or whine about it because many people do not have a good life. I’ve found myself changing out of the “uniform” t-shirt before serving in food ministries. Those coming might not agree with the sentiment. Today’s paper noted that the Census Bureau has determined that 1 in 7 U.S. residence lives in poverty, 43.6 million people. That’s staggering.
Last evening, I learned about another massive group of people for whom life is not good. I was privileged to attend a screening of the film At the End of Slavery, produced by International Justice Mission. Before the film, we heard some facts, things that boggle the mind. Let me share a few with you:
- The trafficking of human beings is the second-most lucrative crime in the world.
- In the 1700s and 1800s, a total of 11 million people were sold into slavery. Today 27 to 30 million people are enslaved.
- In the 1700s and 1800s, a slave cost the equivalent of $40,000 in today’s money. Now the average cost of a slave is $90, and one can buy children for $40–$50.
- 45,000 to 50,000 people are trafficked into the U.S. each year, and 15,000 to 17,000 of them are children brought in for commercial sexual exploitation.
- 2 children per minute are trafficked into sexual exploitation or slavery.
- Only 46% of enslaved individuals are involved in forced prostitution. Of the rest, 27% are in domestic servitude, 10% in agriculture, and 5% in factories. Many become slaves due to debt bondage.
It’s not a good life. We can make a difference. Become informed. The organizations represented at last evening’s screening can help: LOVE146, North Star Initiative, The Body Shop (which has a petition you can sign), Made By Survivors, and, as mentioned above, International Justice Mission. You can also order “house party” copies of 30-minute film on its website.
Let’s try to make life good for others. And I’ll try to stop whining.