We walked down the stairs, my suitcase bumping down each step, making our way to the London tube.  I felt a mixture of tiredness and excitement, a day of travel mingling with the anticipation for our time in a city I have long wanted to visit.  Standing next to my suitcase, leaning against a pole to keep my balance I looked up and saw this sign.

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It caught my eye, in part because along with the tiredness from the day of travel I was feeling the ache and cramping that accompanied my period.  The words on the sign “Imagine you’ve fled your home, you’ve lost everything and then it gets worse.  You get your period and can’t afford sanitary towels.  Women fleeing conflict in war torn countries like the Republic of Congo and Syria suffer this terrible humiliation month after month.  Will you donate money to help give one woman a little bit of dignity?”

I sat reading and re-reading the sign, moved by the words, “Will you donate money to help give one woman a little bit of dignity”.  All that was required was a simple text message, that’s it.  Texting to provide dignity.  There’s an idea.  I wished my phone had international service, I would have gladly given the $5.

The next day we made our way to the tube again, a day of shopping and some sight seeing.  This sign greeted me as I took my seat…

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Rape as a weapon of war, one of the great injustices of our time.  A free public event to end sexual violence in conflict.

I sat again, staring at the sign and thinking about how my eyes have been changed this year.

Finally, day three in London and another journey on the tube…

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She was just twelve years old when the soldier who abducted her told her she was going to become his wife.  War Child fights to rescue these children and take them to safety, where they can recover.  They were asking simply for about $5 to help reach another child today.

$5.

Free…just come and participate.

So easy to do, so accessible.  I wondered where such accessibility was at home, I haven’t seen signs like these but I would love to post some.

This past year my eyes have been opened to reality of human trafficking and prostitution in new ways.  I find myself drawn to the stories and the work being done each day.  I know the statistics, I have faces and names to go with the work being done.  I am having regular conversations weekly, if not daily, about girls and boys being impacted.

This past month the conversations were with friends, and those at risk were their daughters.  What I have learned helped me step into their chaos and offer help.  The reality hitting too close to home and sending chills down my spine.

There is no going back for me.  On a large scale if I think about the magnitude of the problem it feels overwhelming.  And yet, the reality is that for as little as $5 I can make a difference.

My eyes are open.

There is no going back.

 


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Tracy Johnson is a lover of stories and a reluctant dreamer, living by faith that “Hope deferred makes the heart sick but when dreams come true there is a life and joy” (Pro. 13:12).  Married for 26 years, she is mother to five kids.  After nearly a half century of life, she’s feeling like she may know who she is.  Founder of Seized by Hope Ministries, she writes here.
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