Leprosy

For those victimized by trafficking, sometimes the overarching emotion is not fear or hurt, but loneliness. Some girls even go back to “the life” because of it. Some desperately drag friends into the life with them simply because of the innate need for companionship. Have you ever experienced loneliness? True loneliness?

It’s not a “woe is me” mentality. We’re not talking Eeyore here. It’s more of a feeling of being rejected. It’s an intense ache of your soul that’s similar to the grief a person feels after losing a loved one. Your heart tells you that you should be in community with another, but that individual simply isn’t there. You feel so isolated, forgotten, misunderstood and unworthy. A lonely person feels diseased.

Mother Teresa, right, talks with patients coming to the mobile leprosy clinic at Dhapa outside Calcutta, India, in this 1960's handout photo made available 10/10/03. (AP Photo/Missionaries of Charity, HO - NO SALES Original Filename: ITALY_MOTHER_TERESA_ROM117.jpg)

Have you ever thought of what it must have been like for a leper in Biblical times, or for the lepers in modern day Indian leper colonies? I have. You see, leprosy is a chronic disease that’s caused by bacteria. In short, it affects the skin, nerves and eyes of the infected person. One source about the topic said, “For many years, [leprosy] was considered [mysterious and] associated with some type of curse, and persons with the disease were isolated and ostracized.” This statement sounds a lot like our culture’s perception of prostitution today… mysterious, associated with a curse – like being a bad person, and those “diseased” are ostracized. Pimps give their victims a disease called Trauma, by means of injection, through prostitution.

This also reminds me of the HIV/AIDS struggle in our country. HIV positive can probably speak to similar experiences of the judgmental looks, women taking a step back in an elevator or men wiping their hands off on their pants after coming in contact with you. No more can we equate Leprosy, or HIV, or the aftermath of forced prostitution with a person being “bad.” Victims of disease are just that—victims. They are common people affected by a bad disease, not bad people affected by a common disease.

I had the honor of hearing another survivor’s story recently and she too commented on this aspect of loneliness. Like her, my desire to eradicate loneliness is strong. Because of this, I’m sending out a challenge… specifically to churches, faith groups and healthy families: invite in the people with broken pieces! Please do NOT try to go out and build a “safe house” on your own, try to “rescue” girls off the street and into your homes in one night — unless you’re a professional. What I ask instead is that you invite those with broken hearts into your own heart for healing. Churches/faith groups – contact your local professionals (social service providers, law enforcement, etc) to see how you can support their efforts! Families – keep your unit strong and then look into mentor, foster, or adoption programs for children in need! (I’ve been so blessed to read comments from all of you adoptive parents out there!)

We ALL can play some part in curing the leprosy of trafficking.

May this blog serve as an education to those who do not yet know or understand the atrocities of trafficking and may it serve as an encouragement to those who understand it all too well.

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7 Comments

  1. liz

     /  October 25, 2011

    Your story is so unbelievably inspiring, and the fingerprints of God are all over you. Thank you for your spirit and your heart… it is greatly appreciated. Your journey is one that I know the Lord just smiles upon. I know I don’t even know you, but wow… praying for you and those you come in contact with. May you be such a continual light in such a dark place. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply
  2. I’m in. Loving this!

    Reply
  3. I heard about your story from Lisa’s blog. Thank you for courageously sharing your story. Looking at my own 8 and 10 year old daughters, my heart broke for you and other girls living in such abusive, desperate situations. It is hard to imagine, but it is real. Thank you.

    Reply
  4. Nik

     /  October 24, 2011

    I’m game!

    Reply
  5. I love this challenge!!! And believe in inviting in those with broken hearts, and entering into the pain and loneliness. For those who want to become more involved specifically with opening our hearts and homes to girls who have escaped, do you have any resources of where to start? I know that lonely, broken people surround us, and we must be God’s agents of healing to those we encounter every day, but also just wondering how to get involved more specifically with people in this situation. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • GREAT question Lauren! It depends on where you’re located really… there some good organizations out there that I’d be happy to reccomend if you can answer a few questions for me… 1) what part of the country do you live in? 2) are you interested in helping fight international trafficking, domestic trafficking or both (no correct answer here, there are needs everywhere!) and 3) would you like some more educational resources or do you feel you’re ready to get in there and serve?

      FYI – I’ll probably write a post soon on some of these resources. Hopefully that’ll be of some general help to everyone as well.

      Reply

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