New Hope for Rescued Children
by Pat Zerega, Senior Director of Shareholder Advocacy, Mercy Investment Services
For many of us, July represents the pinnacle of summer. Children are free of the daily routine of school, enjoying long days of swimming and playing outside, setting up lemonade stands and exploring new places on family vacations. But for three days this July, we were reminded that not all children enjoy these summer freedoms – or any freedom at all.
In 76 cities around the United States, the FBI, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and many of their law enforcement partners conducted Operation Cross Country VII, which freed 105 children enslaved through commercial child sex trafficking.
News of this recovery comes with a mixture of sadness and hope: sadness that 105 children weren’t experiencing typical childhood summer joy; hope in the second chance of the rescued individuals. Instead of going to camp or spending time with friends and families, these children were on the streets being trafficked and losing their innocence. We pray that each of these children find their way back to loving and supportive families and are able to find peace.
Another sign of hope is the anti-trafficking work of faith-based investors, including Mercy Investment Services, both internationally and domestically. We have asked hotel chains to join ECPAT and sign The Code and appealed to travel and tourism agencies such as Expedia to look at how they can provide training and address the issue of trafficking in the hope that more people will know the signs of human trafficking and contact authorities to rescue victims. This spring, Mercy Investment Services expanded its efforts and contacted 30 of the America’s largest trucking firms, asking them to provide training for their truck drivers. Some firms’ responses cited their involvement in the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative while others said they have codes of conduct. Others have joined Truckers Against Trafficking as a way of addressing the issue. The more we as shareholders do to educate and raise awareness about human trafficking, the more rescue stories we hope to see. Learn more about how you can join the fight against human trafficking on the Mercy Investment Services website.
As you enjoy the last weeks of your summer, take a moment to thank God for these rescued children and to pray for those still enslaved in human trafficking.