Mar 5, 2020
It is so easy for us to go about our daily life oblivious to the
hurt and pain and bondage of others around us. But human
trafficking, exploitation, and abuse are happening to people in our
own cities and neighborhoods. In this episode, my guest, Brenda
Harkins, and I talk about this troublesome issue, and how victims
can find hope and healing.
Quotables from the episode:
- So many of us have no idea that trafficking happens right here
in the United States, and in our own cities.
- There are over 300,000 trafficked victims in the United States.
California is the most trafficked state, and Texas is second.
Within Texas, Houston is the most trafficked city, and Dallas/Ft.
Worth is the second most trafficked city in Texas.
- Once it gets on your radar, you begin noticing girls/women with
a more controlling adult who won’t let them speak for themselves,
and they avert their eyes.
- As parents, we need to be having discussions with our children
to help safeguard them. We must talk about it. We must explain the
dangers of social media, and trusting strangers…even those who seem
extremely interested and friendly. People pose as people they are
not. They need to know never to give personal information out
- People are sent into schools to befriend those who may not have
friends, and then they will groom them until the children believe
they are truly their friend, but their real intentions are
otherwise. We must talk to our children about the reality of this,
and we must be involved enough to know our children’s friends and
- We all have an Egypt, a wilderness, and a promised land.
- With Egypt we think of the slavery of the Israelites, but it
was a place that saved their lives because during a famine it was a
place they could get food. Often, in our lives, what starts
out as a safe place, can become a place where we are trapped or in
bondage (like addictions, or unhealthy relationships).
- The Israelites left Egypt and were about to enter a place of
freedom, when they stepped into the wilderness which was unfamiliar
to them. Sometimes the unfamiliar can seem worse than what we know
because we don’t know what to expect. The wilderness experience is
where we can come alongside and tell others that we are with them
and they do not have to walk their journey alone, as they walk
toward their Promised Land.
- Too often, we become comfortable in our discomfort because it’s
what we know, and we fear the unknown because we don’t know how to
navigate that. But we don’t have to know how to navigate that if we
are trusting our heavenly Father.
- There is often a relationship between being trafficked,
exploited, or abused, and those never knew the love of their
- The enemy manipulates people into believing that others can be
trusted who will violate that trust.
- People in abusive situations don’t always recognize that they
are being abused, frequently because it’s all we know. Or we
downplay our own situation thinking it isn’t as bad as someone
else. But the truth is, what hurt you, hurt you…regardless of what
anyone else is going through. Once we become aware of it, we need
to take care of our pain.
- If we grow up with relationships that aren’t loving or that are
abusive, we often get involved later in unloving or abusive
relationships because it’s all we know. What we experience feels
normal for us until we are shown something different.
- It takes quite an awareness and it’s hard for those in an
abusive situation to see it on their own, but others can help them.
Check your relationships and ask, “Am I control of the decisions I
make, or is someone else making those decisions for me?” “Am I
fearful of standing up for myself or voicing my desires or
- Frequently we mistake love because we listen to others’ words
rather than paying attention to their actions.
- Ask yourself if there is anyone in your life, who you know
loves you, who are speaking to you about concern they have about
your relationships? Open up your mind to the possibility that if
this sounds familiar, then ask those around you who you trust, “You
know I just want to be sure that I’m as healthy as I can be, and
that I’m seeing the situation for what it is, and I’m wondering
what you see?”
- If you are feeling like you don’t have a safe person, I promise
you, the Lord is safe. If you sit still with Him in the quiet and
listen, He will speak in your heart. There will be thoughts in your
mind that you didn’t think of…those thoughts are from the Holy
Spirit. You are not alone…God is there.
- If your gut is saying, “Could it be?” Then that’s enough reason
for some exploration.
- Love requires a choice. If God had made everyone to love him,
we would all be robots. Because He gives us choice, there are some
who choose evil. In the midst of the most difficult situation, we
live in a broken world with people who make poor choices, but He is
still present with us. He wants us to choose love, and for
those who don’t choose love, God will ultimately hold them
accountable for their actions, and they will have to answer to
- God wants a relationship with us so badly, but He won’t force
us to stay there with Him, yet He always has open arms waiting for
us to come back to Him.
- What about submission? Isn’t a wife supposed to submit to her
husband? The Lord tells us to submit to one another, so we cannot
always focus on the woman. God says the man’s responsibility is to
love his wife like Christ loves the church. When he does that, then
a woman would willingly submit to her husband if she knew he would
die for her. Submission is an act of the will, that we choose to do
to someone else. If someone demands that we submit, then
they are attempting to get us to yield to evil. Submission is an
act of will that we choose to offer.
- There is healing available. Trauma can affect us on so many
levels. But there is healing and hope through counseling, through
ministries. The pain and emptiness and fear you feel doesn’t have
to stay there. God can remove even the trauma from our brains. The
hope is that there is healing, and that there are relationships who
do not desire to manipulate but instead to truly love you.
- If you are feeling guilt and condemnation, that does not come
from God. Instead, God offers opportunity. That opportunity might
be for healing, and for you to understand your true identity in
- Reach out: Reach out to organizations who are willing to be
your advocate. Reach out to the National Trafficking Hotline. Reach
out to a counselor or a pastor.
- Isaiah 61:1- 4: “He has sent me to bind up the
brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to
prisoners…so they will be called oaks of righteousness…they will
rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former
devastations…the desolations of many generations.
- I Corinthians 2:9 – “Eye has not seen, ear has
not heard, nor has the mind conceived all that God has prepared for
those that love Him.”
- Revelation 12:11 – “They overcame…by the blood
of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.”
Social Media Links for Host and Guest:
Connect with Brenda Harkins:
Brenda / Facebook Arukah
Houses / LinkedIn
For more hope, stay connected with Dr. Bengtson
Order Book Breaking
Anxiety’s Grip / Order Book HopePrevails
(@DrMBengtson) / LinkedIn
Brenda Harkins is a believer in seemingly impossible
possibilities. As a Mediator, Coach, Minister, Author and
Speaker, Brenda works to clear the way for people to walk in the
fulness God has prepared for them. She believes in the dreams God
has put in each heart and takes joy in helping people fulfill those
dreams by helping dismantle roadblocks and build super highways to
Hosted By: Dr. Michelle Bengtson
Audio Technical Support: Bryce Bengtson