I sat in the dark auditorium. The only light in the room came from the presentation that was being shown on the 3 large screens above the stage. No matter how hard I tried, I could not stop the unending stream of tears that ran down my face. At that moment I came to realize the evil the world had been hiding from me for so long. At that moment it hit me that people can be twisted and perverted enough to kidnap innocent children and sell their bodies to criminals and law officials alike. How could this be? I thought slavery had been abolished. No, it has not.
The video went on to explain how women and children of all ages are kept in bondage all over the world. The real surprise: this form of slavery is also found in America. It was shocking to hear that my safe country, the land of the free and home of the brave, could be involved with such an injustice. This inspired me to discover my personal convictions as well as question the world’s. In a time when change is considered a political buzzword, I think change is possible. I believe that anyone can change the world.
I was not alone; my friends and the other twenty-three thousand women, who packed the auditorium, were also in shock. Our hearts had been touched in a way they had not been before. That is when my friends and I decided to take a stand. These girls deserve respect, and we were determined to step up to make a change that not just any normal group of teenagers had ever made before…we wanted to rescue them.
After a night of brainstorming, we came up with an organization we called the Relentless Campaign. We scheduled a walk-a-thon and a change war at out church. Within one year of planning, dedication, and hard work we managed to raise a massive twenty-six thousand dollars! And it hasn’t stopped there; the community has helped raise even more money that is being put toward the goal of one-hundred thousand dollars. Our church, as well as churches and businesses around the area have donated goods and helped advertise the cause. All the proceeds go to an organization called the A21 Campaign. This foundation uses the money we raise to go into red light districts around the world and rescue girls, as well as build shelters for them. There, the girls can get a good education, as well as learn to move on from their past and look forward to a safe, secure, and brighter future!
At sixteen I discovered modern day slavery. Now at eighteen I have dedicated almost two years to this cause, compelled to see freedom prevail. It is up to us to make a change in the world we live in today. Making a difference doesn’t mean you have to tackle one of the world’s greatest problems. It only requires one to act on compassion. Compassion without action is merely sympathy. Every act of kindness is a great one, be it big or small; such as befriending a lonely girl at your lunch table or rescuing victim of human trafficking. We can change the world we live in, if we simply be the change we wish to see.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.