Undaunted

Undaunted“Why didn’t you come sooner?” A young girl once posed this question to Christine Caine—the co-founder of The A21 Campaign, which fights human trafficking. This girl had suffered unspeakable horror as a slave sold for sex many times a day. She’d stared at Christine with despair in her eyes. “Why didn’t you come sooner?”

In her excellent book, Undaunted, Christine Caine says she had an unassailable excuse, but couldn’t bring herself to use it. In truth, she hadn’t come because she simply hadn’t known. But that wasn’t good enough—not in the face of this girl’s urgency, her despair.

Have you ever temporarily lost your child in a crowd? Felt the searing rip of instantaneous fear? However shy your personality, you grip strangers’ arms, begging to know if they’ve seen your child. How can they even consider going about their day when something so absolutely desperate is happening? You’re frantic for a kind and friendly person to find your child and bring them back to you. You pray for the kindness of a stranger.

But what if that is not the type of person your child encounters?

What if your child’s eyes are darting from one unfamiliar face to another for rescue? But that rescue doesn’t come. Can you now blame the girl for asking, “Why didn’t you come sooner?”

“When you’re not lost—when you’re safe—it’s hard to understand the urgency of needing to be found, needing to be rescued.” Christine Caine

With that quote, I think you can already see how Undaunted is a book that hits hard. But it is simultaneously very inspiring. Christine Caine generously shares her own dramatic life story in the hopes it can help ours. She has gone through some really difficult things that could have left her bitter and stagnant…but instead, she has used them to make—not only herself—but others stronger. And she has developed a compassion that has shot past emotion into action.

In Undaunted, Christine talks about why we hold back—how we may want to help others, but common things stop us:

  • We don’t feel empowered
  • We think we lack the courage, the strength, the wisdom, the money, the experience, the education, the organization, the backing.
  • We feel unqualified. We feel daunted.

Personally, I’ve felt all those things, but this book helps remind me how to overcome them.

I’ve written for The A21 Campaign East Coast office for over a year now, but I’ve not met Christine Caine personally. I had the chance in June at our first (soon-to-be annual BE HER FREEDOM gala), but to be honest, it’s not that easy for me to just go up and talk to somebody—especially when that someone is a great and powerful speaker…and doer of so-many-things overwhelming. I guess you could say I was daunted. One time, hearing her speak, my husband leaned over to me and said, “She packs into a 40-minute lecture what it would take someone else an hour and a half to say.”

It’s true. Christine Caine is a slim 5’3” energetic powerhouse. While she travels all over the world, speaking inspirationally to thousands upon thousands, I sit in my office chair, oftentimes staring at my blinking cursor. Although our lives are very different, one of the blessings of her being so open about the difficulties in her own life is that they resonate. Suffering (unfortunately) is a connector for us all.

Like her, I, too, know exactly what it’s like to hear a doctor say, “I’m sorry. I can’t find a heartbeat.” Perhaps, pain is not always so similar in nature, but we have all suffered. We can understand loss. We feel compassion. What we do with it is the main difference. How we handle it is up to us.

Many former human trafficking victims are now huge advocates for the cause. Other activists, like myself, may have no personal tragedy to associate with the cause, but “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.” -Benjamin Franklin. Human trafficking is not only a horrific crime; it’s also the fastest growing in the world. The trade of people now outsells the trafficking of arms. If we don’t fight this, it is not a stretch to consider a future where we will know someone who has fallen victim.

Christine has a wonderful prayer in her book, Undaunted. “God, help me not to close my eyes to other people’s horror or ignore injustice. Help me fight the injustices you hate. Help me value people and speak up for those who have been silenced.”

I know I’m quoting her a lot, but hey, she’s got a lot of good stuff to say. Here’s one last: in reference to the rows and rows of posters of the missing. “These photographs should be in beautiful frames on a mantle, or in the pages of a family photo album on a coffee table… They shouldn’t be plastered coldly here, taped across the peeling paint of an airport wall.”

The New Year is a great time to stand up. Don’t you think?

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16 comments on “Undaunted

  1. It’s hard not to feel daunted after reading those statistics.
    I honour you for what you’re doing and all those who are doing what they can.
    All I can give are thoughts and prayers, and you all have those .
    Thank you for your courage and committment

  2. Very well said, Marney. I hope the momentum A21 is currently gaining along with the effort that people like you are putting into fighting this horrible problem really begins to gain some traction.

  3. As you continually bring this topic to my attention (and many others), the question is: What do I do? What is my part, my response to this? I’m asking the question out loud because I don’t want to sit here and go, “Wow. Powerful information.”
    I want to ask you, to ask God, “What now?”

    • Thanks for asking that question! I”m sure there are myriad ways to respond…a few easy things to start off with though might be:

      -Learn the signs of trafficking. (I’m going to list out several of them in my next post. Once you know them, you will most likely tend to subconsciously look for them when you’re out and about…and that in itself is a big deal.)

      -Sign up for the newsletters of organizations like The A21 Campaign, Polaris Project and International Justice Mission. Each has listings of specific ways you can get involved and help.

      -Find out if there is an anti-human trafficking organization operating in your area.

      -Discuss the issue with your friends, family and colleagues. World of mouth is great for spreading awareness.

      -Do you have friends who are teachers, doctors or nurses? Ask if their places of work have provided anything to them on how to identify a human trafficking victim and do they have protocols in place on how to handle them? (so many do not). Teachers are often on the front lines since U.S. trafficking can take place in schools. Docs/nurses are also on the front lines since victims may be brought by their traffickers, after a particularly bad beating, to the emergency room or a free clinic.

      -Talk to your kids. Not an easy subject, but since the average age of a victim is 12-14…. Educate yourself about the methods traffickers use. (again, the organizations I mentioned above, have a lot of this info. Also, I work on A21 east coast: training/education team and we’re working on compiling this info specifically for the US)

      -Ask questions. I’ve found that takes you one step…and then another.

  4. Excellent post Marney thanks for sharing. Looks like I may be the first male to post a comment here… however, I think your idea of posting a list of topics to look out for is a very good idea. I certainly wouldn’t know what to out for, but I know it exists even in the semi rural Wales where I live just 12 miles from the City of Cardiff and 150 miles from London.
    Strength to you arm Marney, I think that what you are doing is commendable and if we all just sit back and do nothing then the problem will certainly grow out of all proportion. I just wonder how much effort our Police Forces are putting into the crime?
    A happy and very successful 2013 to you.

    Best wishes

  5. Definitely want to read this….Having heard Christine Caine speak on several occasions, I’m inspired by her energy, confidence, and willpower. It sounds like these traits are also illustrated in her latest novel.

    I am trying to be more “aware” of potential trafficking victims in my community. Based on my understanding, they can be at everyday places we may not think of…like a mall or gas station. I keep the A21 Help Line in my purse, just in case.

  6. The last quote about photos plastered on walls instead of being in homes is chilling. In the face of so much horror it’s hard to be Undaunted. Your post gives hope, however, that people care and are undaunted.

  7. Pingback: The Giant Sucking Sound of the Ski Lift | Remnant Ceramics

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