Monday, February 4, 2013

Lines of Girls

It was the day we had to go to Ethiopian immigration for my nieces passport appointment that we saw them: hundreds of people, mostly young girls, waiting in lines.  Because we were foreigners and because we had a baby, we were sent to the front of every line.

And so we walked passed these young girls who, my sister had explained earlier, were waiting for the necessary paperwork to allow them to go to some Middle Eastern country for work.  A very few of those girls will actually be employed in a legitimate job.

The vast majority of them will be trafficked.

My nephew's biological aunt was one of those girls that was given a legitimate job with an American family living in the Middle East.  She worked for them for three years.  The girl who worked for the family next door was not so fortunate.  Auntie could hear the girl's screams and so devised a plan to rescue her.  And she did.

But those lines of girls?  What could we do with all of those hopeful girls thinking that somehow this would be their ticket to success?  We argued that surely the stories had gotten back, the stories of girls disappearing or not disappearing but wishing that the ground would swallow them because somehow their hope had turned to horror... Surely at least some of these girls knew the risks, had heard the stories, so maybe they were escaping an already horrific story to something that may be tolerably better.  Or at least get paid.

My heart hurts still when I think of the lines of girls in colorful scarves, young faces waiting patiently as we walked by.

We prayed.  Prayed for delays in processing paperwork and Divine intervention and protection and Aunties who hear and are brave and rescue...

The airport was more of the same except these girls, they have their paperwork and are walking away from home to the unknown and how my heart ached and aches still when I think of them standing there waiting, hoping, going...

Only prayers, which in that moment seemed insignificant and not enough, could be said.  But that's a lie, that prayer is not powerful or effective.  I choose to believe that because three sister joined in prayer for these girls in lines, their stories have now changed TO stories of hope and redemption.  Somewhere along their journey, these girls will be rescued and in turn will rescue or will be like Auntie and be safe but save a sister from bondage.

Pray for these girls... and find a reputable organization you can partner with to help bring an end to human trafficking.

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