Operation Underground Railroad

Hey Fident Friday family - Special early edition this week, specifically for a cause that's on my heart: child sex trafficking, and an organization seeking to end it, Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.).

I know this isn't particularly a rosy or light topic. 

However, today (July 30th) is World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. And O.U.R. is having nationwide events raising awareness for a topic that is hard to talk about. I recorded a quick video below with some more thoughts. 
My goal today is provide some resources. I'll talk about the issue at hand, some solutions being offered, and close out with an offer.

The Issue

A few quick facts:
There are an estimated 40.3 million modern-day slaves. 

1 in 4 of slavery victims are children.

Trafficking humans is now the third most profitable business for organized crime. 
It is also the fastest growing form of international crime. 

600,000 - 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year.
80% of them are female, and half are children.

2 million children - predominantly girls - are sexually exploited in the multibillion-dollar commercial sex industry.

The United States is the most common destination for trafficked victims.

These are some bleak statistics, I realize. Below are a handful of other resources that shine some light on this travesty. 

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
12 min read (but it's a wiki, skip around) | Wikipedia
"Child sex trafficking is a conspiracy theory. That doesn't really happen."
That's an unfortunate assumption of a lot of people. While human trafficking has a wider circle of impact and victims, sex trafficking of kids is rampant. Sexual child exploitation includes prostitution and child pornography. It's impossible to know the true extent of the problem, being that it's illegal, but estimates are in the millions. 

Human Trafficking in the News
2 min read | O.U.R.
"Ok, but that doesn't really happen stateside, right?"
Unfortunately, America provides the largest demand for child sex trafficking. The link above shows national stories in the past week dealing with it (the website is updated every week), and even here regionally there have been recent activities, such as a gang controlled sex-trafficking ring in Malvern, PA, a former state senator being arrested for possessing child pornography, and an East Earl Township man arrested for spreading child pornography on social media

A Solution

Operation Toussaint Trailer
4 min watch | O.U.R.
The trailer for a movie that gives you an inside look at what O.U.R. is doing. I also recommend watching the actual movie (available on Amazon Prime), but even this trailer is going to give an idea of what's going on - from the crimes, to the rescues, to the aftercare. 

Tony Robbins Thoughts on Operation Underground Railroad
5 min watch | O.U.R.
I have mixed feelings on my friend Mr. Robbins, but I love this clip of him talking about his first exposure to O.U.R. and how involved he's gotten over the years. 

Operation Underground Railroad 2019 Report
3 min read | O.U.R.
I like to dig a bit before getting financially involved with a charity - and have checked out O.A.R.'s form 990, independent charity/non-profit ratings, and looking for consistency on annual reports. In 2019 1,416 victims were rescued, 855 traffickers were arrested, and 464 rescue operations were carried out.

An Offer 

So, what do we possibly do with this?

Well - there's a lot. We can first just open our eyes to see what's happening, and have the uncomfortable conversations. We can learn how to protect our own kids online. We can get trained on how to see signs of trafficking around us. We can pray. And we can give to those that are fighting the fight. 

And as I said in my video - I'm making an offer to the Fident Friday family. Something I haven't ever done before, and am praying it is received in the same grace that I am offering it, and not interpreted as some type of virtue signal. If you feel inclined to give to O.U.R. today, Fident will match your gift, up to a cumulative $5,000 total. If you don't feel inclined, then no worries. But if you do, simply reply back to this email and let me know the amount you contributed by 8:15am Friday the 31st (24 hours). I'll take your word for it and won't request documentation. 
Human trafficking is terrible - child sex trafficking is even worse. But there are good people fighting the good fight - quite literally. 

I'm thankful you've made it this far, and hope you don't mind me deviating from schedule in my weekly letter. 

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