That’s My Charlie Team

The Exodus RoadLast week, I woke up to an amazing text message. Over a morning  cup of coffee, I was able to read the efforts of people determined to make a difference in the lives of  people caught in sex slavery that had paid off once again.

August 25, 2013 7:25 am: FREEDOM! 12 yr-old girl rescued early this morning! Her mom and pimp were selling her virginity for ¤2000USD. BRAVO team rescued her and arrested perpetrators.

Meet The Exodus Road.

They are a nonprofit coalition that empowers freedom from sex slavery through covert investigation and rescue. Right now, they focus efforts in SE Asia and India. It is awesome to hear the stories coming out of their work.

I see these people excited, committed to seeing humans, the imago Dei, rescued from sex trafficking… and I can’t help but think “why not here?” Why not in the good ol’ U.S. of A.? Why not here, where we need it?

If I google “sex trafficking in the United Sates”, I am greeted by the lovely announcement” About 13,500,000 results (0.20 seconds).” That’s a lot of internet hits about sex slavery here on our home soil. If I google “sex trafficking in Portland, OR” (where I happen to live), I find “about 250,000 results”. The top link is an article from the Oregonian which states:

At least 469 children in the Portland area were exploited as commercial sex workers from 2009 to 2013, nearly half of them connected to gangs that put them on the street, some of Oregon’s top public officials reported Monday.

Apparently, according to the article, those numbers are “still grossly underestimate the true numbers of exploited children…”

So again, let me ask: Why not here?

Good news: Rescue Stays Home

My Charlie TeamI want to introduce you all to Charlie Team, my team. Charlie Team is one of the Exodus Road’s new teams, and they are staying home. Right now, a team of professional, skilled, dedicated people are forming to bring rescue to those used as a sexual commodity here on our streets, in our backyards, on our soil.

Here is the honest truth of the situation: we expect police and FBI to do something to put an end to the sex trafficking that happens in the U.S. They can’t. They don’t have the man power to do all the leg work. They don’t have the resources to track down every lead, every whisper of sex slavery, every suspected occurrence.  I know this because of my dad, the cop. I grew up with my dad going to work as a beat, going to court cases to testify, working as a detective,working undercover narcotics, working on the strike force. I know how frustrated he got when he couldn’t prove something, how overwhelming it was to not be able to poke under every rock because there wasn’t sufficient proof. I know how much it ate at him when the bad guy got away because of a loophole, a technicality, or simply a lack of resources.

And he wasn’t even working sex trafficking cases.

The Exodus Road isn’t trying to be some knight in shining armor here to save the day. They are trying to work with local authorities, to do the leg work, gather the evidence, to provide the police, the task forces, and the FBI with some outside resources to keep doing the work of rescue. Charlie Team isn’t some gung-ho, Chuck Norris meets Rambo meets Steven Seagal maverick set loose on sex trafficking. They may be dedicated, passionate, committed, but they aren’t stupid. To see victims of sex trafficking set free and their abusers brought to justice, it is going to take legal proof, convictions, time, investigations, as well as action and raids.

As I said, Charlie Team is my team. I am committed to helping fund their missions, their work. I am committed to hearing their stories, to praying for them, to seeing them develop and grow. I am committed to seeing the vision of the Exodus Road acted out through Team Charlie. My wife and I have committed $35.00 dollars a month to help fund Charlie Team.  This is our buy in, putting out money where our words are. This is us investing in seeing girls and boys rescued from sex trafficking in the United States.

Not Enough

Ya, I’m about to ask you to put some money on this.

Look, I don’t want to manipulate you or guilt you into helping me support Charlie Team. I do want to invite you into this story though. I do want to invite you into ownership of Charlie Team, buying into the vision of Exodus Road, into the beauty of rescue.

Search and Rescue TeamsRemember that text message I got? It was from Bravo Team in India. I dream of getting text messages like that from Charlie Team. I love what is happening in SE Asia and India. Really I do. I remember what I saw when I was in Thailand, how desperate to marry a “rich” westerner some of the girls we taught english to were. I remember asking why, and being told that if they married a rich westerner then there was no chance they would be caught in sex trade. I want to see rescue come to every individual it can, the girls and boys in SE Asia and India need it. If you want to help Exodus Road in SE Asia, please join Jamie Wright (aka the very worst missionary) in adopting Delta TeamIf you want to support Exodus Road in India, please join Sarah Mae supporting Bravo Team. These are necessary, and good, and right, and holy, and they fuel this fire in my heart to see rescue happen here.

So ya, I’m going to ask you to throw in your money. I would love to see 30 people join me in putting $35.00 dollars a month into Charlie Teams pocket, funding their growth, their work, the resources to do investigations, and to see rescue come.

Donate here. In the box labeled “ADDITIONAL INFORMATION”, put down “Charlie Team- CulturalSavage” so they know I sent you. I don’t get any sort of kick back for this at all. I don’t want one. 

I do want us to do this together.

Let me know if you’re joining me in supporting Charlie Team. You’ll get a welcome pack tom Exodus road, and I’ll get you into the locked down Facebook group so you can see who else is owning Charlie Team, as well as get updates about Charlie, Exodus Road, and rescue.

Rescue is coming.

You can own a part of the work.

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  • Joshua P. Smith

    This is very exciting! Thank you for posting! I am writing a fantasy series who takes a specific focus on sex trafficking as it appears in a 1600’s fantasy world. It’s part of my effort to expose the insanity and draw attention to not just the issue but the individuals held captive. In the Aelathia novels, the main character is a knight who leads a group of “special forces” to do exactly what the Exodus Road is doing. We would love to support the Exodus Road more with our funds, but due to an illness I recently resigned from my teaching career, and with my wife’s income we’re barely making it by. Instead, I would like to interview Matt and any others to bring as more credibility and realism to the novels. Please find me on Twitter @AelathiaNovels or my blog at aelathianovels.com . Cheering for you all. Thank you!

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