This is the first time in my life that I have lived through a pandemic. This is the first time I have experienced a country wide shut down. This is the first time I’ve seen the streets deserted and people cooped up in their homes. And my heart breaks for those who are trapped in homes that are not safe.
I remember my third grade year, when a bad case of strep throat hit my school. Not a pandemic by any means, but it was bad enough that it shut down my small school for two weeks. Every student in my class of 18 had it, including me.
Many of my classmates spent their two weeks tucked into bed. Their parents stayed home with them to take care of them. They got ice cream to soothe their sore throats. They got to lay on the couch and watch cartoons. Their moms or dads held them just to make them feel better.
My throat hurt so bad it literally hurt to breathe. But I worked.
My body was so fatigued Peter had to carry me home and put me in bed at the end of each night. But I worked.
I could not stand to eat anything, so I didn’t eat for days. But I worked.
I didn’t get better until school was back in session. I went back to school at the beginning of that week, face flushed and shivering because of a fever. They sent me home because I was still sick and told my parents I could not come back without a doctor’s note. For the first time in years, I saw a real doctor. For the first time in years, I got real medicine. Because I needed to get well to not raise suspicion.
There are kids in homes right now, working. They could be sick. They’ll likely get hurt. They’ll likely not get medical treatment for illness or injuries. And they don’t have their schools to protect them. To see to it that they’re taken to a doctor. They don’t have the church bus driver that gives them a hug every Sunday morning. Or a whole children’s ministry staff trying to love a little more on the kid that seems distant. They don’t have any of the adults in their lives except those who are hurting them.
Your life may have stopped for now. Your favorite places may be closed. You may be missing your church or your friends or your routine. And that’s okay.
But for children who are being sex trafficked, there is no break from their trauma. Their lives have not stopped, they’ve just gotten a whole lot darker.
Please don’t forget them.