I attended a presentation of sex trafficking and child trafficking here in our state, last Saturday. And the presentation has not left me. I cannot get all those facts and stories out of my head. I also learned a lot about social media. I clamped down on my presence, even deleting people we call “friends” and deleting photos and stories I had shared about my life. The ways in which people with unholy desires can obtain information about us is truly frightening.
You may well wonder why I would attend something like that. Well, I was invited. It was part of a monthly meeting I attend with the Well Armed Woman, in which we are presented information about a variety of things. And then the second half of the meeting, we shoot. And trust me, after that presentation, it felt good to hang with like-minded women and get some personal instruction on my shooting, and to just aim at a target and bang away at it, until the paper was shredded to bits. I only used 4 magazines. I think if I had pre-loaded more, I would have used them, as well. An hour of target practice left me happy. LOL.
We visited with our oldest son, and while we were there, he showed me how weak my security was on my social media accounts, by going into them and finding all sorts of things. The things he found, I thought I had locked down. I wept at how inept I was, and how much was out there, because of me. That afternoon, I purged more. I attended a meeting Sunday evening and shared with everyone there. We all sat around the table, on our iPads and laptops, deleting information we did not realize we had shared with the world. One part of this that bothered me is how easily we share what we do not want to share, unknowingly. Did you know your current (and any past you have not fixed) profile photos on Facebook are public? Did you know anything public can be downloaded and saved by anyone who sees it? Did you know your photo can then be shared by ANYONE? Anywhere? And that photo can be used to steal your identity? I am now a flower on FB. And I have deleted tags and photos – just animals and plants and scenery from now on. No photos of family, friends, or me. I never knew what was public was truly no longer mine.
One of the things we were told at this presentation, was how easily our children have been influenced by all things electronic. And it has happened in just a short amount of time. I recall having this silly western-town game on our computer, and how ancient that thing was and how slowly it processed things, and how our two-year-old son was mesmerized. He would sit and just shoot things and we would tell him he needed to win prizes. He said he didn’t care about “being a good citizen” or “saving the bank” from robbers and earning points, he just like the shooting part. Luckily, it did not last long. The computer went on the fritz pretty early on and it took years to replace it. And it was big. It required its own desk and stacks of books to operate, and space for the attachments and cords and games, etc. It was not a simple thing back in the day. My son is now in his 30s and has kids of his own. He got them this thing called a “Switch” for Christmas. The controllers are about the size of my key fob for my car – no joke – and the entire console is about the size of my old alarm clock. It connects wirelessly, so cords are not an issue! The speed with which our technology has outpaced our mores is astounding. And I don’t think most parents even think of the evil contained on cell phones (which have more computing power than our old computer that had its own desk) and iPads. They are innocuous tools in today’s technological world. And it scared me. Truly scared me. I cannot get it out of my mind.
The average age of people being subjected to sex trafficking is 13-19. And the majority are girls. Just girls. Not women. Girls. They are behind their screens in their rooms, and the old inhibitions we had about sharing our bodies is broken down. How? They are in their rooms, behind closed doors, who can see? So they take nude photos. And barriers we once had ourselves, and thought we instilled in our kids, are broken down. Just a couple barriers of many we thought we erected. The next step? They share the photos. So now nudity is no big deal. Sex becomes no big deal. Sex in front of people becomes no big deal. And then they get lured into relationships online. Never met in person. It is common for teens to date, fall in love, change their status’, and break up – all online, never having met their “boyfriends” or “girlfriends.” How many friends does your teen have on Facebook? On Instagram? Twitter? SnapChat? 1000s? How many have they met in person, spent time developing a relationship with – in person? Does a teen even know 1000 people???? And then they are lured into meeting them in person. The experts shared that kids who are vulnerable cross all lines – race, economic status, geography, etc. Home schooled, public schooled, private schooled. It does not matter. The men involved do not see these girls as people but as property. And they treat them very, very poorly. It is a horrific way to live and it is so easy to have happen. Most parents just wake up one day and their daughter is gone. Off to be with someone who loves her, and has no rules to live by. Teenage rebellion in its worst form. And they are just girls, but want to be treated like adults; like women. Sad sad sad. And I worry about the world my granddaughters will be living in, where they are thought of as more property than person.
And one of the things I keep thinking is, “Where did we go wrong?” Where is the formation of our children lacking? Why would men even want to traffic in children for sex?? Why is it that our culture is drawn into this underworld of sex and drugs? Where are we failing our children? The single, most dire thing on the internet, according to this presentation, is pornography. It has drawn people in and it has ahold of our country. Not too many people will admit to liking it, but a lot of it has seeped into our lives. There are outfits worn today that would have been considered pornographic just in my youth, and even in my married lifetime. There are words used on TV that would have shut them down just 10 years ago. There are scenes on our TV screens, in our homes, that would have been banned just 5 years ago. We have allowed it by the subtlety of gradual acceptance. “Oh, it’s not that bad. Ha-Ha-Ha.” “Well, no one is naive anymore; it’s ok.” “It won’t hurt; just laugh it off.”
Don’t get me wrong, I know there has been pornography as long as man has been able to produce it. There are scrolls from ancient cultures with pornography on them. We are a fallen people. It is our basest nature. And man consistently falls to their lowest denominator.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it. Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, by their fruit you will recognize them.” Matthew 7: 13-20
Throughout these past few days, this subject has been on my mind. I just cannot shake the fact that we, as a culture, are failing. This is just one, tiny, aspect of how we are failing. Drugs, pornography, violence, abortion (do not even get me started on the new laws in NY), promiscuity – the list goes on and on. We need to do something, or our world will fall. It is on its way now, and the USA is falling, right along with it. I, for one, have resolved to be more in tune with what is going on around me. Less on media, more on personal interaction. Less about using technology and more about doing myself. I can cook on the stove or use my Instapot. Cooking is a far more enjoyable process. Reading a story to our kids is far more enjoyable that plopping them down with an iPad and some games.
So what is the take-away (dontcha hate cliches??) from this? Well, we need to bring God back to our country. We need to hit our knees in prayer 24/7 for our nation, our families, our children. We need to share our love of life and the protection for all life. We need to value our humanity above all else – above the technology we have created/invented. We need to hold our children and love them into adulthood – not parse it out to electronics. These are just some of my observations, from what I see, and what I have been told. Will everyone who reads this decide to do the same? Maybe not. But maybe they will notice the weird traffic at a hotel they are staying at, noting all the men going down a hallway, or perhaps a young girl out on her own. Maybe they will see the remote look in their niece’s face, or the lonely stare of their daughter’s best friend. Maybe they will notice the world around them a little more. We can turn this around. We can. But it is a big job and we cannot do it without one another, and without God. Pray, pay attention, say something, do something – make changes around you to lessen this horrific practice of sex and child trafficking. Make it stop, in the name of God and our love for one another. And may God have mercy on us all.