I don’t know about you, but I’m a dreamer. Sometimes I can be in the middle of something intense and all of a sudden out of somewhere a vision or a dream drops into my spirit. Now when this happens I try my best to acknowledge its presence and agency in my heart, because God is continuing to give us dreams.
Once I get wind of something, I can dream about it so much until I see it, feel it and know it like the back of my own hand. I can even get to the point where I just might need someone to bring me back to reality! Do you know what I mean? It’s like once God gives you a passion for something, you just can’t seem let it go.
Well, it is often like that for me as it relates to many different topics of humanity and social justice. When I dream, I often dream of justice. April is National STD Awareness Month, but it is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and in light of that I want to take this opportunity to spread the awareness about Human Trafficking and sexual exploitation.
Human trafficking is a global problem and in America children are being bought and sold for profit and pleasure at alarming rates and the black church needs to step up to the plate and take a serious stand against sexual exploitation. EVERY MINUTE of EVERYDAY women and children are being abused by heartless others who for economic profit or sexual pleasure rob them of their innocence and dignity. I live in the Atlanta, Georgia metro area which ranks as one of the world’s leading cities in the trafficking of women and children, according to Stephanie Davis, executive director of Georgia Women for Change. Every day in this city between 200 to 300 children and teens are on the streets, being sold for sex. Now considering that over half (61.9%) of the city’s population is African-American, I don’t know why we, as the black church are not speaking up, showing out and organizing efforts to combat this sad reality.
Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, with the total annual revenue for trafficking in persons estimated to be between $5 billion and $9 billion. The Council of Europe puts it even higher. Saying that the situation has reached “epidemic proportions over the past decade,” the council puts the global annual market at about $42.5 billion.
An estimated 600,000 to 820,000 men, women, and children [are] trafficked across international borders each year, according to the U.S. State Department. Approximately 70 percent are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors.
A report conducted by the University of Pennsylvania noted that anywhere from 100,000 up to 300,000 American children are at risk for commercial sexual exploitation at any given time. Have fallen asleep at the wheel while Georgia legislators have spent our money and time to pushed through laws to serve the interest of a minority while the safety of our women and children are being hijacked and ignored? I have a dream, that one day some day, this day….The prophetic voice and the empowered agency of the Black Church will rise to it’s rightful place and live into the call for justice again. It will no longer be satisfied with living in a vacuum of rhetoric keeping our lives in bondage, but it will be a catalyst for change, justice and peace.
There is simply no excuse; now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children. And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring from the black church, to the Capitol and from the Capitol to the streets and the households, it is then when we let it ring from every village across this land and the world. I dream of JUSTICE!
Rev. Antoinette D. Kemp the Georgia Consultant for the National Black Church Initiative and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice in Washington, DC. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She earned an MDiv degree from Columbia Theological Seminary, and currently serves as a Corporate/Industrial Chaplain, for Cobb-Vantress, Inc. (a division of Tyson Corporation) Rev. Kemp is the Executive Director for African Pilgrimages Inc.,