I have a confession, one that is 5 years in the making. I feel the judgment already and I cannot say it is necessarily undeserved. But here it goes.
Trafficking isn’t quite my “thing”.
This is a brutally honest confession for someone who spent 3 years as Love True’s Director of Fund Development, 4 years as race director for the Trek Against Trafficking, and who now serves as the coach and coordinator for Team Love True.
Sex trafficking, while heinous beyond measure, is nearly impossible for me to fully wrap my head around. Growing up in a loving and protective home, under the care of both a father and mother, my own risk of being trafficked and even my knowledge of trafficking was decidedly decreased. I was never at risk of meeting a potentially dangerous person I met online. I have never sat face to face a with a survivor, seeing the beauty and courage behind her eyes as she shares her story of hell and of overcoming. I have never spent time in a poverty-stricken nation where child sex trafficking is visible to all. While I mentally know the facts, the protected life I have led has hindered the fire in my belly for an atrocity with which I have not crossed paths.
Maybe you feel the same.
Sex trafficking in the United States is for the most part deeply hidden, tucked away from the daily goings-on of most average Americans. We know the facts. And they are so very ugly. But how do we even begin to fix a problem we have never seen? Sometimes a list of facts just doesn’t elicit the empathy that the reality deserves.
I feel many of us find ourselves here. But friends, I offer this as no excuse. Rather, for those of us who have escaped this injustice, we have a responsibility to those who are suffering. Romans 15:1 says, “Now we who are strong have an obligation to bear the weaknesses of those without strength, and not to please ourselves.” We have an obligation to the voiceless and those living in the cycle of hell on earth. Even if the emotions or the understanding of or the empathy for sex trafficking isn’t fully there, moving to action requires none of these.
But where do you begin? How can you even make a dent in this ocean sized problem when all you have is a dropper?
Mother Teresa once said, "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." You or I cannot stop the problem of sex trafficking in the United States - alone. But we can do something, even if trafficking isn’t our “thing”. And if everyone together did just one something, then it would be those hundreds and thousands of “somethings” that would change the world.
On September 30th, Love True will be having our biggest fundraiser of the year - the Trek Against Trafficking race. Friends, this can be your something today. You may hate running (don’t worry, there’s a walk) or you may feel like running a race doesn’t do anything to stop trafficking but let me tell you, it does. Participation in this race makes a difference. For every person who signs up and runs in the name of freedom, that puts us one step closer to healing trafficking survivors. Not only that, you can go even further and use this race as a platform through Team Love True for further fundraising and spreading of awareness. When you are excited about doing something, you’ll be surprised at how many people will come alongside to support you.
After spending 4 years directing this race (read: pouring out blood, sweat, tears, and a whole lot of love), I stepped down after last year’s event while pregnant with my 4th child. The race was taken over by hands much more capable than mine, and I was tearfully happy to hand off the reins. And with that, this year I get to participate in the Trek for the very first time and I cannot wait. I have 3 children signed up for the kids’ races (baby can’t walk yet, watch out next year) and my husband and I are registered for the 5k (if you see a couple racing each other at the finish, that’ll be us). This is a family affair for us. Because I want my children to know at an early age that there will be a lot we can’t do, but that is no excuse to do nothing. Just because we cannot help one hundred does not mean we don’t help one.
And if you join me, then together we will help two.
Chloe Contarino is a mom of four boys (really, all boys!), a wife to one incredible man, and an unashamed lover of Jesus. She spent 4 years directing the Trek Against Trafficking, and seeing God use her love of running to nurture an incredible event from the ground up is one of her proudest accomplishments. When she isn’t homeschooling or out on a run or putting away toys or reading dozens of books out loud, she serves as the coordinator and certified running coach for Team Love True. For any questions related to running and fundraising for Team Love True, she will be so happy to hear from you! She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.