You know that audacious is my new favorite word. If traffickers are a 10 on the audacious scale, we have to be an 11 to stop them.
What is audacious?
Audacious is brazenly kidnapping 300+ Christian schoolgirls.
Audacious is admitting it, saying "I abducted your girls."
Audacious is calling them "slaves."
Audacious is bragging about what you will do with them: "I will sell them in the market, by God."
Those are the words of Abubkar Shekau, leader of the radical Islamist group Boko Haram claiming responsibility for the April 14 abductions.
No misconstruing his audacious words. This is child trafficking. This is child slavery. This is audacity.
And just this morning the group kidnapped 8 more girls from another village.
Keep in mind that the US government has designated Boko Haram as a terrorist group. The group is widely believed to have links with al-Qaida affiliates in Africa and aims to turn Nigeria into an Islamic state. It is opposed to secular education ("Boko Haram" means "Western education is sinful") and has attacked schools, colleges, and churches.
If these are their tactics, God help Nigeria. I've been to Sudan and seen first-hand the results of that kind of violent, despotic subjugation.
How can we possibly stop these traffickers? If they are a 10 at audacious, how can we be an 11? Three ways:
1. Express our outrage.
The Born2Fly Project to stop child trafficking is outraged at this audacious act of violence against children and calls on the government of Nigeria to increase its efforts to rescue them, and calls on Boko Haram to cease and desist.
Please express your outrage at this horror in whatever venue you can. Silence is telling. My friend and colleague Alan Kornman wrote an excellent and blistering article about the silence of political correctness. "Those who do remain silent for reason of politics, religious sympathies, fear, political correctness, or multiculturalism are complicit by their silence," Alan says. You can read his article here.
Three cheers for Nigerian activists who launched a Twitter campaign, #BringBackOurGirls, calling on the government and security forces to do more to recover the girls. Today that hashtag will reach 1 million mentions on Twitter.
Why did Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan wait almost 3 weeks to even mention the kidnappings? Why was Naomi Nyadar, one of the leaders of the protests, detained by police (right after she met with the first lady). Why did the first lady call on protestors to stop demonstrating?
On Wednesday Nigeria will host the World Economic Forum in Africa. May this group put pressure on the country and ultimately of course on Boko Haram.
I will continue to shout from the rooftops that it is very difficult to rescue children after they've been taken and sold into slavery, but it is very possible to keep them from being trafficked in the first place -- through prevention education. That is the goal of Born2Fly. I'm not saying that B2F would have prevented the kidnapping of these schoolgirls but I will say that teaching anti-trafficking as part of a community-wide effort does raise the awareness level and security of all involved. This school did, of course, have good security in place.
"All we have left is to pray to God to help them and help us," the mother of one of the girls sobbed. Amen. We need God to intervene. Pray specifically for Him to surround these girls, protect them from further harm, and enable them to escape. I fully believe that will happen and look forward to hearing miraculous stories.
* * *
Late Tuesday the US said it is sending a team to Nigeria to help rescue the girls. The team will presumably include military personnel, law enforcement, and others with experience in intelligence, investigations, hostage negotiation, and victim assistance.
At the same time, Shekau said Boko Haram plans to attack more schools and abduct more girls.