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Celebrating Freedom: Burning the Wick at Both Ends

Celebrating Freedom: Burning the Wick at Both Ends
Written by: Abby Paterson

I cannot decide if anger or sorrow is the primary emotion I feel when it comes to learning about human trafficking. The most recent reaction when reading an article on CNN was nausea and near vomiting.
I am one of the co-hosts on See, Hear, Love - a new women’s web show sponsored by IJM Canada, and in April, we had Kelly Cameron as a guest. Kelly shared about Cybersex Trafficking and talked to us about the #NotOnMyScreen movement.
Confession: My response is usually to look away, plug my ears, distract myself with something else.
Because I feel it will literally break me if let myself really hear about this evil.
My mind cannot fathom, in its entirety, the damage other people’s selfishness can cause another human being. The abuse. The trauma. The physical pain let alone the emotional and mental effects.
It is so overwhelming that I usually end up justifying my lack of attack with the lame excuse that it’s just too big for me. That’s when I hear Kelly’s voice in my head, ‘What’s in your hand and who is in your circle?’
Learning that Canadians are ranked near the top for demand was probably the most shocking fact. Anger was definitely my first emotion then. The sorrow followed almost immediately after thinking of the victims...and then my angry heart also breaks for the perpetrators and their families.
I just cannot fathom how a person in their right mind could watch such acts of violence and abuse for sheer personal pleasure.
Consumers of images and videos produced through human trafficking are simply running away from the real issue and giving themselves a temporary fix. Because of their fear and shame, maybe even oblivion to their dependency, innocent people are used, abused, violated and having their entire lives completely vandalized. Anger is rising the more I type [insert CAPS LOCK and a few minutes of ‘yell typing’. Deep breath—delete—try again].
Note for consumers: you won’t die facing the real issue, but if you don’t, a child might.
It’s not something you can do on your own, nor should. Help us combat this epidemic by talking about it, bringing it to the light, reducing the shame and let’s start dealing with why this happens in the first place.
Us as Canadian fighters and activists, also have a responsibility in this. Rather than pouring shame onto those consumers, we need to shed light onto the real issues - on both sides. We need to pray for hearts to be softened to see the abuse that victims are receiving - that they are real humans being harmed.
Then we also need to check our own judgmental spirits.
If we react harshly when someone allows the light to be shed on their struggle, the shame will only compound.
Awareness, I believe, requires burning the wick at both ends.
Host rallies.
Raise money.
Empower IJM with resources to go out and fulfill their mission.
But also look at your own life and those in your immediate world. Are they a part of the demand? Are they stuck and don’t know who to talk to?

I want to get angry at these people - in fact, I am. But I also realize righteous anger without any action is futile.
That anger should be turned into compassion and desperate prayer. Both for the victims and the perpetrators.
But goodness, that last one is difficult.
‘For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.’ Eph 6:12
Canada is a beautiful country. One we get to celebrate largely this year. When you think of the future of our nation, do you see it bright and glorious?
The reality is that there is a very large hidden dark side that will hinder the future of our nation if we don’t deal with it. It will affect our leaders, break up our families, and harm our children.
There is a physical fight, but it cannot be done without us battling in the spirit against this evil.
Will you join me in starting the conversation, doing warfare against the evil rulers and authorities, praying that miraculous barriers of protection will be built up around the victims and praying for complete Saul to Paul transformations of consumers?
It is not an easy thing to do but it is imperative in order to bring change.

Abby is a recent West Coast transplant to the giant province of Ontario. Residing in Toronto, she uses her time to meet new people, hear their stories, and build relationships wherever she goes.
While working as an Executive Assistant, she is a part of the beautiful network that is Gather Women. It was this connection that led her to Melinda Estabrooks who opened to door for her to be a part of See, Hear, Love. In 2016, she started her blog, She desires to use this platform to share lessons she learns as she continues to journey into The Unknown.

This post is part of a series celebrating Canada 150.

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