The Common Good

A Poem in Honor of National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Sunday, January 11 was National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. I wrote this poem, And to the Little Ones, in honor of the day. It was originally performed as a spoken word piece at All Angels Church in New York City.

Related Reading

Take Action on This Issue

Circle of Protection for a Moral Budget

A pledge by church leaders from diverse theological and political beliefs who have come together to form a Circle of Protection around programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world.

And to the Little Ones

Swiped from her village
sold for a dime by poor parents
to a rich global market
Taka's 10-year-old bones rattle with fear.
Heart?
bound to earth - chained.
Beaten down to size in small back rooms
Spirit broken by westerners who promise the world
and leave her a lump of mud.
No breath...
No breath...
Can't breathe in this tomb.
Taka's humanity
her dignity
her soul
is battered and bartered
on the black market for a dime.
And pundits predict her body will be found
in a ditch in an alley
some - day.

Vacant eyes wander her neighborhood
She is "Sold!" for a dime bag
by her crack head momma
to suits and briefcases with Jersey plates
Takisha's 10-year-old bones rattle with fear.
Stolen
from school
and dreams
and friends.
Her lifeless body puts food on the table
She eats the devil's dinner
And her humanity
her dignity
her soul
vanishes.
No breath...
No breath...
Can't breathe in this toxic corner of the world.
And pundits predict Takisha's vacant body will be found in an ally or a trash can
before her 18th birthday.

And thus says the Lord,
"Come from the four winds, o breath!
And breathe upon the slain!
That they may live!"
That they may live!
That they may run and play and lay in the streets and look up at the stars
That they may dream of romance and significance and peace for their families
and their people.
That they may breathe and stand and live...

And to Taka and Takisha
to their rattling bones
to the little ones
who bear God's image
The Lord God says,
"Breathe..."
"Stand..."
"Live..."

Lisa Sharon Harper is the executive director of New York Faith & Justice and author of Evangelical Does Not Equal Republican ... or Democrat.

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Resources

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)