I am often asked how Operation Open Eyes, an anti-sex trafficking initiative, started. The truth is, it was never something I planned, it was just something I walked into, looked around and said, “Well, we’d better come up with a name for this!” There are, however, key moments over the years where I know God was leading me to it.
As a teenager, whenever I witnessed abuse of women and children, even if a movie hinted at it, I would leave angry. Walking out of one such movie, I heard God say, “Daniella, you have two options: you can walk away and ignore it, or you can face it. What do you choose?” I remember replying, “If this really happens, please make me strong enough to face it.” Ever faithful, He did.
Growing up in ministry, I have been on many adventures and been exposed to exciting cultures; of course this included the bad with the good, from addictions, to idol worship, terrorist incidents to natural disasters, and witchcraft, etc. What I didn’t realize was that all of this was preparing me to join the fight against sex trafficking.
You see, while there are great similarities and connections with human trafficking globally there are also cultural differences. From India and Africa witchcraft can be heavily involved to Thailand where Thai Buddhism and reincarnation has an influence, to the West where underground abuse and grooming are leading factors. Yet all involve the exploitation of vulnerability for profit.
My first experience of this was in a red light district in Thailand. Standing there, I couldn’t help but think of the estimated number of 27million caught in human trafficking globally, knowing at least 22,000 of those were where I stood. My heart broke. I heard God say,“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Pray for the workers [Matthew 9:37-38]. I am getting ready to release those caught in bondage, this is the time for My church to get ready.”
Here Operation Open Eyes began to form; an anti-sex trafficking non profit that seeks to “open eyes to the injustice of the sex slave trade and inspire action.” If God wants the Church to get ready for an influx of traumatized people, then we’re here to help you do that! After all, this is what we’re commanded to do anyway, right? [Isaiah 58 & 61]
So how does one even begin to tackle this ever growing problem?
- By gaining awareness of the problem where you are.
- By looking at ways you can prevent the problem from happening.
- By reaching out to local organizations and asking how you can be part of restoring the lives of the broken.
- By networking with anti-trafficking organizations and others where you are.
Together we can be a global answer to a global problem. Will you join me, Operation Open Eyes and All of Us Matter in the fight to end human trafficking?
Working in this field is an extremely tough and often thankless job which includes facing some of the darkest sides of people. Start being a light in darkness today by writing a letter or email to a local anti-trafficking organization with encouragements and thanking them for the work they do. Trust me, small things make a huge difference!
Not sure where to start? Here’s a few organizations you could choose!