The other day my daughter was flipping through a World Vision catalog in the car, trying to see if she had enough money to buy a rabbit or a soccer ball for another family. When suddenly she stopped and gasped and said she knew what we needed to do. As we pulled into our driveway she showed me the picture with the title, “Safety for a girl who has been exploited and abused.” And I kicked myself for handing the catalog over without looking through it first myself. Then I asked her if she’d read the text below. She hadn’t which saved me from explaining sex slavery quite yet.

But she wanted to know what it meant to be exploited and abused. I gave her a quick overview. And then she wanted to know why. “Why would someone hurt girls?” she asked. I told her there was no good answer and that even adults don’t really understand it. And then did my best to give her some possible reasons. “But why would they hurt little girls?” she insisted. And in the simplest terms possible we talked through generational sin and lack of education and anger and how hurt people hurt and how no matter what, it’s never, ever okay to hurt someone.

And then we talked about why we’re so insistent that no one is allowed to hit her and she’s in charge of her own body, and there are parts of her body that are private. And it dawned on her. She started connecting dots we wish we could keep our kids from connecting forever and ever.

And our daughter insisted, we have to help keep them safe. Later we discussed the redemption she was already aware of, just not yet in the context of abuse or exploitation: Safe families, foster care, adoption, and refugee care. We talked about sharing the Gospel and standing up for the those who have less power than we do. We talked about how since we’re safe we can help others be safe. We talked about giving time, money, and resources to those are hurting.

And it got me thinking about the ways our family helps. And all the ways we don’t help. And it’s so easy when we think about the abused and exploited to give into guilt or complacency or comparison. To think in all or nothing terms. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. We can’t do everything, but we can do some things.

Let’s educate our children, even when – especially when – we want to put them in a bubble and pretend the terrible doesn’t exist. Let’s remember that keeping our kids and other kids safe requires talking openly and honestly with them about all sorts of things. Let’s teach them compassion with our words and deeds. Let’s be examples of standing up for the least of these. Let’s listen for the Holy Spirit and boldly do the work he’s set before us, whatever he’s called us to.

How do you talk to your kids about safety for themselves and for other kids?

By the way, if you’re looking for a great organization that works with survivor care and trafficking prevention, check out Love146 – they’re doing amazing work.