As I am writing I am in Upstate New York this summer, and while here, we visited the St. Lawrence River. This is a massive river and a popular route for shipping containers. As I watched these massive boats hauling hundreds of shipping containers, I was reminded of a story from 4KIDS.
Stuck in a shipping container…
Just a couple of years ago, a little girl came to a 4KIDS Foster Family in Palm Beach County, and the trauma she had endured prior to arriving at their home was heartbreaking. This little girl had traveled all the way from Guatemala in a shipping container. I cannot imagine the fear she had to experience and the discomfort of being stuck inside a shipping container for so long.
Alone, scared, and in an unfamiliar country, she was first placed in the home of a relative where she faced physical abuse. When 4KIDS was notified that this little girl was in need of a safe and loving foster home, Cheryl* who was a foster parent with 4KIDS for five years, said “yes” to her immediately.
Her 4KIDS Foster Family took a long journey with her so she could experience healing. It took time and trauma-informed therapy to help her recover from her unimaginable experience. Within the first year of living with Cheryl and her three adoptive daughters, she began to thrive both academically and emotionally. Once guarded and fearful, she is now known best for her love of laughter and fun.
Human trafficking prevention
We don’t know what could have happened to this little girl had she not been discovered by the right people and eventually delivered safely to a 4KIDS Family. Safe, loving foster families, like the ones provided through 4KIDS, are often serving as human trafficking prevention.
In fact, an organization out of Texas called Backyard Orphans, reported a university study that found as many as 80% of children who are rescued from human trafficking in the United States have experienced some time in the foster care system. The numbers are staggering and undeniable.
I know many of us have been out to see the movie “Sound of Freedom.” Witnessing the realities of human trafficking up close is leaving a powerful impact on viewers. By the end of July, the movie had crossed the $100 million-dollar mark, packing out theaters in a remarkable way. When we see stories like the “Sound of Freedom,” it is so easy to walk out of the theater overwhelmed by such a dark and prevalent crisis like human trafficking.
It is vital for us to take the time to amplify these stories and use our voice to advocate for those who can’t. Proverbs 31:8 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.” But as we seek actionable steps to prevent and end human trafficking, I urge you to look at improving the foster care system in our immediate community. These kids need us to see the injustices they are facing and protect them from harm in their most vulnerable state.
Micah 6:8 says, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
I pray that you would find opportunities to seek justice and to love mercy for the people in our community who are waiting to see and experience hope.
Kevin Enders is the President of 4KIDS of South Florida. Learn more at 4kids.us
Read last month’s article by Kevin Enders at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/investing-in-young-adults/