The Hotel Refugio sits in the middle of downtown Juarez. It’s name suggests a place of “refuge” and “safety” but for twenty young girls it became their living nightmare. Over the weekend Mexican police authorities launched a massive sting operation seeking to rescue victims of human trafficking. This sting operation unfolded less than three miles from the steps of First Baptist Church, El Paso.
Under the shadow of our spire, twenty young girls had lived the horror of being victims of man’s inhumanity to man. These girls lived as pawns in the hands of men and women who used them to satisfied the sordid passions of the depraved. Only God knows the horrors these young girls experienced.
For decades Juarez has been a dangerous place for young women and girls. Thankfully, the Mexican authorities have stepped up their efforts to end this form of slavery. During the last year over twenty young women and girls had disappeared from the streets of Juarez, and this is just the number of those reported. Eight girls disappeared from one downtown high school. Can you imagine the outrage that would hit the streets of El Paso if eight coeds from UTEP or Franklin High had disappeared this year?
We cannot stand by idling while this kind of atrocity happens within our community. Pray for the police authorities as they seek to bring to justice to those who would kidnap or exploit young girls for their own profit or dark pleasure. Be vigilant to protect the innocent by reporting any kind of activity that reeks of this dark underworld. Make your home a safe place for the children of the streets. Encourage your elected officials to take very seriously these crimes within our communities. Through the ministries of our churches, let’s create safe places for teenagers to gather and hang out safe from the clutches of those who would prey on them when they are the most vulnerable.
If you suspect of a case of human trafficking you can call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) offers a nationwide, 24-hour, toll-free telephone number (1-888-3737-888).
As the father of four beautiful daughters I cannot imagine one of my little girls getting caught up in this web of horror. We cannot stand by silently while this is going on around us.
Prayer for the Victims:
Our Father in heaven,
We plead with you to rise up and protect the innocent with your mighty hand. Create safe homes for the children of our land, and keep them safe when they are outside of our reach. Stand against those who would do them harm or use them for evil purposes. Bring shame and reproach on anyone who would use a child to satisfy his or her own sinful passions. Stir the hearts of those in places of power and influence to take up the plight of the children who are snatched and victimized. Fulfill the words of David when he wrote of you:
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of trouble.