My passion and vision for preventing the trafficking of children comes from a deep place, my own story of child abuse.
Barry Rodriguez, Director of World Next Door, wrote a series about desperate poverty and human trafficking in Cambodia. He said, “It’s normal for impoverished parents to sell or rent their kids for sexual purposes.”
It wrecked me to hear about a 6-year-old victim of sex trafficking.
Barry met with girls who had been trafficked. He also wrote about their families—parents who have to choose between watching their kids starve or selling/renting one daughter to be used for sex. Parents may earn up to a year’s worth of money ($500)—enough to feed the entire family.
These parents were not evil or callous. They simply felt utterly trapped by extreme poverty, and they made a choice for their family’s survival.
I felt empathy for the parents and deep sadness for the girls.
Barry invited readers to donate and partner with the Center for Global Impact. While my heart was stirred, I was overextended in ministry. Other than a donation, I didn’t think I had the margin to do more.
Later, I felt God prompting me toward further involvement with CGI. He opened my eyes to see sex trafficking as He does. I made a decision to let my heart break, to see as God sees. No matter the cost in money, time, or heartache, I would join God’s mission in Cambodia by partnering with the Center for Global Impact.
For me, it was about saying, “YES,” to God because I knew he was with me. My fears and insecurities prevented me from stepping out of my comfort zone. However, God gave me strength and courage to do what I couldn’t do without Him.
While I saw my experience as an abuse survivor as a weakness—through Christ, it has been a strength. God reminds us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.”
My compassion for these girls came from my own experience. My counseling training helped when I heard their stories. I could be a voice and an advocate for them, because my life story, gifts and skills fit God’s mission in Cambodia. As I shared God’s redemptive work in my life and the hope of Christ, I knew that Jesus bears their pain and shame. He will redeem it all.
It has been true in my own life. He has given me beauty for ashes, and I know He will do the same for these precious girls. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to love them with the love of Christ.
While it hurt to hear their stories, I feel closer to God. By engaging in His mission in Cambodia, I know my life will never be the same.
God has a plan for your life. You belong to God. How is God calling you to care for the poor, for the marginalized and for those who face injustice?
My hope is that you will say “YES” to God when he prompts you to use your gifts, skills and voice to engage in His mission.
by Tasha Simons