I’m not wearing pants this month (Dressember.)

In high school history classes you learn that slavery was abolished in 1865. They don’t talk about the fact that that only refers to the US. They don’t talk about the fact that that just means it’s illegal and people break the law all the time. And they certainly don’t talk about the fact that there are still 27 million people still enslaved today.

When I first heard that number I didn’t really get it. I mean, I understood the concept, but I didn’t quite grasp how it concerned me. Selfish, I know. Still, I got involved in one way or another. I started telling people about that number, I helped lead a prayer group that didn’t succeed – probably because the prayers were kind of halfhearted, and I helped organize a “Justice Week” on my campus to raise awareness.

I did all that because I thought I was supposed to and I was, but here’s the thing: getting involved doesn’t mean much if you don’t actually care. In my life, slavery was a problem logically. It didn’t make sense that that many people would still be trapped in slavery and it made sense that that should stop. But it wasn’t a heart issue and more than anything, that’s what it needs to be.

Then I heard another number. 800,000, the number of women and children trafficked across international borders as sex slaves.

Before that number was introduced to me, I didn’t realize how big of a problem rape culture is in today’s world. And then I found out that one of my friends had been sexually assaulted. Then another. Then another. I couldn’t – I still can’t, really – imagine the pain they have to deal with on a daily basis, but it broke my heart. As I started talking with people about this issue, trying to understand why it kept coming up in my life, I ended up meeting no less than four people who had actually met someone who had been sex trafficked. I realized that 800,000 people were experiencing that same hurt for the first time and that that hurt would renew itself on a daily basis and I couldn’t imagine how it would ever be possible for that many people to be taken advantage of like that.

Then it clicked. 27 million slaves is too many. 1 slave is too many. Not because it breaks my heart or because it breaks yours, but because it breaks God’s heart. That 800,000 wasn’t just a statistic and those weren’t just 800,000 people. Those were, are 800,000 souls, a small but significant portion of the 27 million souls. It was like God was finally answering my prayer for Him to break my heart for what breaks His, like he was trying to shatter my heart into 27 million pieces.

For those 800,000 souls that will be introduced to the sex slave industry,

For those 27 million souls already enslaved,

And for the one God who loves them with all His heart,

I am not wearing pants this month.

All as part of a campaign to raise awareness of all of those souls, and to raise money that will go toward saving all of those souls. I started a day late and this post is going up a lot later than I hoped it would, but it is never too late to side with God.

I’m hoping to raise $100 throughout the month. It’s a small amount, yes, but I am confident that it will make a difference. You can learn more about Dressember and perhaps participate here: http://www.dressember.net and you can donate here: https://www.ijmfreedommaker.org/campaign/2291/Dressember-for-IJM/