The Shadow Industry Finley Walker 5 Nov 2013 If you live in South Florida, statistics show that you live within 10 miles of a modern day slave (hepzibahhouse.org). Sadly, our Sunshine state is a land of darkness for many, as Florida hosts the third highest population of trafficked individuals in the United States. Sound too farfetched? Consider some of these shocking realities: There are more slaves today than at any other time in history. There are an estimated 250,000 slaves in the U.S.A. There are an estimated 27 million slaves worldwide (most believe this to be underestimated). The average age for a trafficked individual is 13. The average life expectancy of someone trafficked is 7 years after being initially enslaved. The trafficking industry profited $32 billion in 2011. How much is that?—more than the NFL, NBA, MLB, and Google brought in that year combined. Whether it is labor, war service, organs or sex, the human trafficking industry is the worldwide social crisis of our generation. But there is hope. Many organizations around the globe are working diligently to extinguish this horrendous market, including a group close to home. A house of hope Based in South Florida, Hepzibah House is a forthcoming faith-based safe house and multi-faceted residential treatment facility for those who have been freed from human trafficking. This population is in urgent need of humanitarian intervention in both services and resources. The non-profit charity is currently raising money for a residential facility where women who have survived trafficking can go to find healing and refuge. Hepzibah House is “providing recovery, restoration and release from the nightmare of human trafficking.” The organization seeks to help victims recover dignity, destiny and hope; to restore health, wholeness and purpose; and to grant release to a fresh start and a bright future. The name Hepzibah comes from Isaiah 62:4. “No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be Hepzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married” (NIV). Hepzibah literally means “My delight is in her,” for God truly does delight in rescue, righteousness and justice. Ministry efforts – a changing tide Ministries such as Hepzibah House are seeking a holistic approach to help the victims of trafficking through the process of recovery and wholeness. Therapeutic interventions include art, music and equine therapy, while also addressing the mental and emotional repercussions of having been enslaved. The journey does not stop there either. Women are offered basic skills for securing jobs and independent living. Recently, filmmakers Erik Pleumer and Peter Honore have partnered with Hepzibah House to produce a landmark film on human trafficking called The Shadow Industry. The film premiered on October 20 at New Life Alliance Church in West Palm Beach. Becky Dymond, M.S. Counseling Psychology and Licensed Mental Health Counselor, is the Founder and President of Hepzibah House. She shares that The Shadow Industry is “a short film depicting a girl who is kidnapped, sex trafficked, rescued, and arrives at Hepzibah House. It was filmed specifically for us as a tool to raise awareness and support.” The trailer for the film can be viewed at youtube.com/HepzibahHouse. What can you do? There is a tremendous impact you can make in this global effort to end human slavery. To start off, here are some things you can start doing today: Pray – Individually and corporately; get your church involved. Educate yourself – Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world, following the drug trade. Experts say that human trafficking will soon out-profit drug trafficking — as drugs can only be sold and used once while a person can be sold and used many times. The despicable industry currently enslaves 2 million minors in commercial sex trade and has a market value estimated at $32 billion. Learn the red flags – Watch out in the neighborhood for suspicious activity. Look for girls, especially foreigners who have poor health and living conditions, seem fearful, have no legal documents, and have signs of abuse. Be a conscientious consumer – Realize that a product is only supplied when there is a demand. Do not support companies which exploit people to make a profit even if at a low cost to you. Express your concerns – Write to your local congressmen, businesses, schools and churches. Join or support groups involved – See below for a list of resources and organizations to join in the campaign against human trafficking. Volunteer – Organize a fundraiser and donate funds or host an awareness event. Protect by prevention – Watch, read, report and think. Please, do not just pass by on the other side of the road. Be a good samaritan, and you may just save a life! Join the campaign to end slavery. You, too, can be a part of setting captives free and shining light into the darkness. To contact Hepzibah House call 561-386-0031 or visit HepzibahHouse.org. Additional resources: SOLMedia.org EpicBeauty.org KristiHouse.org PolarisProject.org IJM.org Slaveryfootprint.org notforsalecampaign.org Finley is a freelance writer and research student at Liberty University. He can be reached at: [email protected] Share this articleTweet Leave a Reply Click here to cancel reply. 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