Sunday, January 26, 2014

Listen up, Youth, Parents and Professionals

Listen up, youth, parents and professionals
Blank Missing Child Poster

There is a silent but huge epidemic taking place in the Western world. It should unsettle parents of teenagers, teachers and others who serve teens, including educators, teachers, counselors, pediatricians, child psychologist, and others. Daily, when I log into my Facebook account, I see posters and cases of missing teenagers. I see one case after another. It seems like there is no end! Many of them are classified as "endangered runaways," and many of these teens are found safe. But many are not! High-profile cases should alarm us, such as Natalee Halloway, Brittanee Drexel, Alexis Murphy, Tabatha Tuders, and Alexandria Joy Lowlitzer, just to name a few. They are all still missing, though Murphy and Halloway are presumed dead. Elizabeth Smart was found safe but Smart is unusual for a teen who is kidnapped. In my home state of Missouri, Kara Kopetsky and Bianca Piper have been missing for years. Sadly, I can go on and on.

Brothers and sisters in Jesus, we can't afford to turn a blind eye to what is happening around us. Especially pertaining to our children and youth. We may want to believe that because we follow Christ and are raising our children to follow Him, that these things "cannot happen to us." But do we really have grounds for this belief? We Christians are in this world. It is a fallen, sinful world, and we are aware that evil seems to be getting worse. Therefore, Pastors, Christian leaders, and especially developers and leaders of youth ministries should educate themselves about child safety at National Center For Missing and Exploited Children and at LostNMissing, Inc. Christian youth, you need to heed this message too.

Why Do Teens Vanish?

1). Running away, due to poor parenting or rebellion against adult authority. 2) Human trafficking. Many teens (and pre-teens) within 24 hours of running away, will be approached by pimps who will offer them a "better life" and those who accept will find themselves trapped in a hell of sex slavery and degradation. However, not all human trafficking victims are runaways.

3). Meeting up with someone they encountered online. Like pimps who lure children, these strangers will lure teens away from home in favor of a "better life." That "better life" may end up in brutal rape, human trafficking (mentioned above) and worse, murder.

4). Family kidnapping, usually with siblings.

5). Stranger kidnapping (least common reason).

The above poster is courtesy of LostNMissing, Inc. I'm not a partner of or affiliated with this nonprofit.

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