by Samuel Brooks
What cause does the Zeta Arts jewelry collection support? Is it only a small portion of the money raised being donated or 100% of the profits?
Let me begin by giving a little background as to what Zeta Arts is. Over a decade ago, a group of friends gathered for fellowship and to share their joy of crafting and jewelry making. The result was Zeta Arts, a philanthropic group of Christian women with a burden to help those in need. My mother is involved and friends with this local group, which is how the partnership between them and us began for this cause.
The cause that this collection is helping to support is the fight against human and sex trafficking where 100% of the net profits will be donated to various nonprofits. Here are some key facts about the human and sex trafficking industry:
- Coercion is a common tactic where the trafficker is appearing to meet an emotional, physical, or relational need or desire. Force and fraud are two others.
- Human trafficking is a $150.2 billion industry and it’s the fastest growing criminal industry in the world [A21].
- Only 1% of victims are ever rescued [A21].
- Types of trafficking include sex, forced labor, bonded labor, involuntary domestic servitude, and child soldiers.
- Known recruitment methods are 1) false job advertisement – 42.5%, 2) sold by family – 10.7%, 3) loverboy – 9.6%, 4) other – 4.6%, 5) abduction – 4.4%, 6) trafficked by a friend – 4.3%, and 7) false immigration – 2.4%; with 21.4% still unknown [A21].
- Traffickers and pimps will utilize social media to target teens because “The younger the victim, the more money they make” [Michigan State Police].
- Traffickers go for the most vulnerable, which are children who either were or are in foster care [Foster Children].
- “As many as 90% of sex trafficking victims suffer abuse – mental, physical, sexual – long before they are forced onto the streets to sell themselves” [NY Post].
- The average selling price of a victim is $90 [Human Trafficking].
- The average age in the U.S. is 12-14 years of age [Human Trafficking Facts].
So, why human trafficking? As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” Just a year ago, 2017, Michigan was ranked #2 in the nation behind Nevada in human trafficking crimes due to our border with Canada and all of the lakes and water ways [Michigan]. Now, Michigan is ranked the 7th highest in the country [Michigan is #7]. Since we’re based in Michigan, this hits close to home for us! While this is an improvement from a year ago, it’s still not acceptable. Isaiah 1:17 says “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Jeremiah 22:3, Proverbs 31:8-9, and Luke 10:30-37 are only a few other passages of Scripture that discuss how we should treat these individuals.
I was sitting in a chapel service a while back. The guest speaker made the comment that the age range of dancers working in strip clubs is between approximately 14 and 65 years; and that some of the frequent customers in these establishments include law enforcement officers, lawyers, judges, politicians. I was also told a story of a high school aged girl that went over to a classmate’s house. She was then drugged and raped while this boy and his friend took explicit photos of her; they then used the photos to blackmail her into prostituting herself. From what I’ve been told by those connected to local law enforcement, in Zeeland, a suburb of Grand Rapids, there are churches that are involved in sex trafficking. Now, I’m not saying that everyone in these groups are evil people as there are those that really are trying to help. But it begs the question: “How can victims trust anyone in these groups when this is happening?” There are also massage parlors in Grand Rapids that are involved in sex trafficking!
Now, it’s easy to say that these individuals chose to go into pornography, prostitution, stripping, etc. I’m sure that may be true for some and we do have free will, but to make that assumption about all of them is a faulty statement. So “why don’t they just try to escape themselves?” A small percentage do but it’s not an easy thing to do when they’re constantly being drugged, blackmailed and abused. 1 John 3:17-18 says “But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and truth.” If you’re a Christian, quit talking and making assumptions. Actions speak far louder than just words, especially since we’re called to be a “light” in this dark world.
This is why we’re supporting organizations like New Creation Cupcakes, Women At Risk, A21, and Fight the New Drug. So help us by purchasing hand-crafted jewelry by Zeta Arts. Thank you in advance! #EndHumanTrafficking #Crazy4Christ #ZetaArts