I went to the cinema today for the opening of Sound of Freedom, a true story about child sex trafficking.
Armed with my popcorn, I settled in to watch the movie. Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to experience.
Though we all know that the subject of trafficking is disturbing, I believe most of us choose not to think about it. We may hear stories about the border, cartels and high risk, as well as likelihood, of trafficking. We remember convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s playground with underage prostitution. Yet it stops there. Not because we are insensitive or cold, but because it doesn’t really touch our lives. It happens to others – other people’s children, other countries or states. It’s a shame, we think, but we are somewhat removed. Or, it’s too ugly for us to to imagine. We don’t want the image in our minds or even fathom the unfathomable.
Did you know that the United States is one of the top destinations for child trafficking and is among the largest consumers of child sex?
Did you know that child sex trafficking is reported in all 50 U.S. states?
Did you know that it is a $150 billion business?
My heart is heavy. I was speechless when I walked out of that theater. I held back tears through much of the movie, struggling through the first 30 minutes. At home, I have no attention span for movies. I’m either on my phone or reading or daydreaming. Yet when I’m in a movie theater, I’m present. It’s focused, loud and large. And there was nothing to distract me. I absorbed everything and how my heart broke.
Let the statistics above sink in. Sit with them, no matter how uncomfortable it is. Let it be uncomfortable because only then may it move you enough to spread the word and find a way to do something.
In the ladies room after, a woman looked me straight in the eyes and stated, “That movie.” Her composure wavered and a tear ran down her face as I fought my own downpour knowing that if I spoke at that moment, my emotions would get the best of me.
I was able to move past that and engage in a brief discussion with this lovely person. She’d asked if I was a Christian and when I said yes, she opened her purse and pulled out a penny with a cross cut out of the center, then asked if she could say a prayer with me to which I said yes.
She placed the penny in my hand and wrapped her hands around mine, praying such beautiful words of faith and hope, then wishing me a good afternoon as she went about her day.
I was stunned. I’m a woman of deep faith yet other than when I attend church, prayer is very private and personal for me. It is not something I share freely or publicly.
Those moments in the ladies room were awkward, yet deeply moving and beautiful. It was a reminder of the good in this world after witnessing such devastating events. It was unexpected and pure, a rare human being with a willingness to put herself out there and ask a stranger to pray with her. My favorite song came to mind because she was surely one of those angels among us.
The emotions of the afternoon were both uplifting and exhausting. I am moved in a way that I can’t yet begin to describe.
If you do nothing else this month, see that movie. See it. Process it. And be sure to get everyone you know to do the same.
“God’s children are not for sale.”