Just a few days ago, the news media was abuzz about an FBI sting that rescued 105 kids who were enslaved in sex trafficking.
Some of these children were rescued right here in our Chicago-land backyard; two children and numerous sex trafficking-related arrests occurred in Arlington Heights and Naperville, making it painfully obvious that this isn’t just a problem in other countries or in big metropolises like Chicago, but rather it’s also an epidemic spilling over into comfortable suburban landscapes.
Our iTAP (Immanuels’ Trafficking Awareness and Prevention team of Lake County) team members have been becoming keenly aware of this modern-day slavery since the formation of their Immanuel Church Unleashed team just last fall.
“This effects everybody,” said iTAP team member Erika Mathews. “It effects every single part of our society, and it’s important everyone is aware of it; we need to be aware so we can prevent it and protect children.”
Before families and individuals can learn how to protect innocent children from being caught up in sex trafficking, they first must understand the vastness of a problem that’s more deeply rooted and widespread than what most think.
“Just last month, a salon was shut down in Grayslake for [sex trafficking],” iTAP leader Kate Brask said. “In Waukegan, there’s a huge issue with sex trafficking. You can drive down certain roads and see it for yourself; it’s happening.”
“At this point, we can’t advocate for people because many don’t even know there are victims to advocate for,” Erika said.
So that’s exactly what the iTAP teams has set out to do at its 27-hour sit-in Saturday, August 10 from noon until Sunday, August 11 at 3 p.m. on the Immanuel grounds.
Team members are encouraging attendance so people can learn more about this epidemic, take a stand against it and even learn how to protect their own families.
“This is a great opportunity to learn as much or as little as you want to know about how to protect you and your family, ” Erika said. “At the sit-in, there will be a self-guided tour. You can get away from the information if it’s too much for you at any point during the tour.”
The sit-in will also feature open prayer in the field behind the Immanuel Church building as well as a demonstration along the street in an effort to raise awareness about local human trafficking. The sit-in will end with a chance to hear from the director of Ann’s House, a home for rescued commercially sexually exploted minor girls in the Chicago area, after the second service on Sunday, August 12.
“We are the beginning of a very long battle,” Erika said.
The team members said they had great hopes that simple awareness of this travesty would begin to break people’s hearts the way God’s heart breaks for those who are being victimized and abused.
“Church is a great place to start because the church draws on what the Bible says about God’s heart for justice and those who are lost and hurting,” Kate said.
When: Saturday, August 10, noon – Sunday, August 11, 2013 at 3 p.m.
Where: Immanuel Church, Gurnee, Illinois
Details: Arrive any time for as short or as long as you desire. Adult supervision for younger children will be provided.