Close Your Eyes
“He thinks if he closes his eyes, I can’t see him.” My friend smiled at her son with the penetrating love of a mother.
I giggled as her son continued to peek above his fingers, then down again. He was invisible, he was unstoppable; he had also been caught red-handed doing something he wasn’t supposed to, so his shenanigans were not play so much as necessary.
Later that day, I thought back on that moment. It’s a funny belief of many children: close my eyes, I will become invisible. I realized I also know many adults who do the same thing. Close your eyes, and the current problem doesn’t exist.
For many adults, the problem is sex trafficking. Sexual exploitation is the highest revenue stream in the world, topped only by drug cartels. Once you learn about the issue, you cannot erase it from your mind or heart. It’s ugly. It’s hard. It’s disturbing, wrong, unjust, evil. Absolutely nothing about it is good, pretty, easy. So close your eyes, and what you heard will cease to exist.
Or open your eyes, and let yourself see. Let yourself see the injustice, the deep pain of the girls involved in something they desperately want to be freed from. See the agony of the families whose daughter has been snatched away, the families who realize they’ve sent their baby girl into something horrific, and the daughters who believe they must do this to support their family.
Open your eyes and let yourself feel. Let yourself feel the cries of the girls as they’re beaten into submission. Feel the hope draining from their hearts as their captors demonize them. Feel the infuriating mess of a justice system that takes years to prosecute traffickers.
And then, open your eyes and let yourself be. Let yourself be present in this battle. Be a voice for the ones who have none. Be an advocate for justice. Let yourself be moved to action by the statistics, and let the statistics be numbers that become names. Let yourself be one who stands for one. For even one, the fight is worth it.
Let yourself be. Let yourself feel. Let yourself see. The topic of sex trafficking is wretchedly uncomfortable. But I hope it makes you squirm; I hope it inconveniences you. I hope it inconveniences you as much as it inconveniences the sweet girls trapped in it, and I hope you are compelled to action. Trafficking is not going away on its own. There are many ways to help, just please – don’t close your eyes.