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It is so easy for us to go about our daily life oblivious to the hurt and pain and bondage of others around us. But human trafficking, exploitation, and abuse are happening to people in our own cities and neighborhoods. In this episode, my guest, Brenda Harkins, and I talk about this troublesome issue, and how victims can find hope and healing.
Brenda shares more about ways to help victims of human trafficking and signs to look for in this post: 3 Ways to Help Victims of Human Trafficking
Watch on YouTube:
Quotables from the Episode:
- So many of us have no idea that trafficking happens right here in the United States, and in our own cities.
- There are over 300,000 trafficked victims in the United States. California is the most trafficked state, and Texas is second. Within Texas, Houston is the most trafficked city, and Dallas/Ft. Worth is the second most trafficked city in Texas.
- Once it gets on your radar, you begin noticing girls/women with a more controlling adult who won’t let them speak for themselves, and they avert their eyes.
- As parents, we need to be having discussions with our children to help safeguard them. We must talk about it. We must explain the dangers of social media, and trusting strangers…even those who seem extremely interested and friendly. People pose as people they are not. They need to know never to give personal information out online.
- People are sent into schools to befriend those who may not have friends, and then they will groom them until the children believe they are truly their friend, but their real intentions are otherwise. We must talk to our children about the reality of this, and we must be involved enough to know our children’s friends and their families.
- We all have an Egypt, a wilderness, and a promised land.
- With Egypt we think of the slavery of the Israelites, but it was a place that saved their lives because during a famine it was a place they could get food. Often, in our lives, what starts out as a safe place, can become a place where we are trapped or in bondage (like addictions, or unhealthy relationships).
- The Israelites left Egypt and were about to enter a place of freedom, when they stepped into the wilderness which was unfamiliar to them. Sometimes the unfamiliar can seem worse than what we know because we don’t know what to expect. The wilderness experience is where we can come alongside and tell others that we are with them and they do not have to walk their journey alone, as they walk toward their Promised Land.
- Too often, we become comfortable in our discomfort because it’s what we know, and we fear the unknown because we don’t know how to navigate that. But we don’t have to know how to navigate that if we are trusting our heavenly Father.
- There is often a relationship between being trafficked, exploited, or abused, and those who never knew the love of their earthly parents.
- The enemy manipulates people into believing that others can be trusted who will violate that trust.
- People in abusive situations don’t always recognize that they are being abused, frequently because it’s all we know. Or we downplay our own situation thinking it isn’t as bad as someone else. But the truth is, what hurt you, hurt you…regardless of what anyone else is going through. Once we become aware of it, we need to take care of our pain.
- If we grow up with relationships that aren’t loving or that are abusive, we often get involved later in unloving or abusive relationships because it’s all we know. What we experience feels normal for us until we are shown something different.
- It takes quite an awareness and it’s hard for those in an abusive situation to see it on their own, but others can help them. Check your relationships and ask, “Am I control of the decisions I make, or is someone else making those decisions for me?” “Am I fearful of standing up for myself or voicing my desires or opinions?”
- Frequently we mistake love because we listen to others’ words rather than paying attention to their actions.
- Ask yourself if there is anyone in your life, who you know loves you, who is speaking to you about concern they have about your relationships? Open up your mind to the possibility that if this sounds familiar, then ask those around you who you trust, “You know I just want to be sure that I’m as healthy as I can be, and that I’m seeing the situation for what it is, and I’m wondering what you see?”
- If you are feeling like you don’t have a safe person, I promise you, the Lord is safe. If you sit still with Him in the quiet and listen, He will speak in your heart. There will be thoughts in your mind that you didn’t think of…those thoughts are from the Holy Spirit. You are not alone…God is there.
- If your gut is saying, “Could it be?” Then that’s enough reason for some exploration.
- Love requires a choice. If God had made everyone to love him, we would all be robots. Because He gives us choice, there are some who choose evil. In the midst of the most difficult situation, we live in a broken world with people who make poor choices, but He is still present with us. He wants us to choose love, and for those who don’t choose love, God will ultimately hold them accountable for their actions, and they will have to answer to Him.
- God wants a relationship with us so badly, but He won’t force us to stay there with Him, yet He always has open arms waiting for us to come back to Him.
- What about submission? Isn’t a wife supposed to submit to her husband? The Lord tells us to submit to one another, so we cannot always focus on the woman. God says the man’s responsibility is to love his wife like Christ loves the church. When he does that, then a woman would willingly submit to her husband if she knew he would die for her. Submission is an act of the will, that we choose to do to someone else. If someone demands that we submit, then they are attempting to get us to yield to evil. Submission is an act of will that we choose to offer.
- There is healing available. Trauma can affect us on so many levels. But there is healing and hope through counseling, through ministries. The pain and emptiness and fear you feel doesn’t have to stay there. God can remove even the trauma from our brains. The hope is that there is healing, and that there are relationships who do not desire to manipulate but instead to truly love you.
- If you are feeling guilt and condemnation, that does not come from God. Instead, God offers opportunity. That opportunity might be for healing, and for you to understand your true identity in Christ.
- Reach out: Reach out to organizations who are willing to be your advocate. Reach out to the National Trafficking Hotline. Reach out to a counselor or a pastor.
- Isaiah 61:1- 4, “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners…so they will be called oaks of righteousness…they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations…the desolations of many generations.
- I Corinthians 2:9, “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has the mind conceived all that God has prepared for those that love Him.”
- Revelation 12:11, “They overcame…by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.”
- Crossing Over: Living Your Purpose on Purpose by Brenda Harkins
- Courageously You e-book by Brenda Harkins is available free here: Courageously You
- If you are in a trafficking situation, the National Trafficking Hotline number is 888-373-7888.
- If you are in a situation of domestic violence or rape in Tarrant County, contact the Women’s Center hotline that is answered 24/7 at 817-927-2737.
- General counseling is also offered at the Women’s Center. For more info on that you can call 817-927-4000.
- If you desire ministry for heart wounds you want the Lord to heal you are welcome to message me (Brenda) at https://transformteaminternational.org/contact/. That form will send me an email. Just please put HELP in the subject line so it won’t slip by me.
- If our ministry is able to help you, we will. If not, we have plenty of excellent resources where we can refer you.
- Breaking Anxiety’s Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises by Dr. Michelle Bengtson
- Breaking Anxiety’s Grip Free Study Guide
- Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression by Dr. Michelle Bengtson, winner of the Christian Literary Award Reader’s Choice Award
- Hope Prevails Bible Study by Dr. Michelle Bengtson, winner of the Christian Literary Award Reader’s Choice Award
About Brenda Harkins:
Brenda Harkins is a believer in seemingly impossible possibilities. As a Mediator, Coach, Minister, Author and Speaker, Brenda works to clear the way for people to walk in the fulness God has prepared for them. She believes in the dreams God has put in each heart and takes joy in helping people fulfill those dreams by helping dismantle roadblocks and build super highways to their Destiny.
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Hosted By: Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Audio Technical Support: Bryce Bengtson