The mass kidnappings in Nigeria have been on my mind a lot lately. 
Sure, there are plenty of "American issues" to worry about, but human 
trafficking is also an American problem, because it happens here more 
than we would like to admit.
In case you didn't know, more than 300 teenage schoolgirls were 
abducted from a secondary school in Nigeria last month. Some have 
escaped, but the search continues. Recently, at least eight more were 
taken.
According to a recent report from USA Today, an Islamic terrorist 
group called Boko Haram — which means "western education is a sin" — 
has claimed responsibility for taking the girls.
In a video, the group's leader said, "By Allah, I will sell them in 
the marketplace..."
I have two daughters, and I am blessed that they have access to a 
Western education. We do a lot of complaining about the structure of 
the public education system – no prayer in schools, the teaching of 
evolution, school uniforms, "No Child Left Behind" – but most of the 
time, we can expect them to come every day.
These young girls haven't made it home yet. The United States among 
others have joined Nigeria in the search to find these young girls, 
and I pray that they find them all alive and well.
This brings me to my aforementioned statement – human trafficking is 
an American problem.
According to UNICEF, child trafficking is defined as "the recruitment, 
transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children for the 
purpose of exploitation."
An estimated 2 million children are trafficked worldwide each year.
According to humantrafficking.org, the United States is primarily a 
"transit and destination country for trafficking in persons," with an 
estimated 14,500 to 17,500 – mostly women and children – brought into 
the U.S. every year.
According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an 
estimated 800,000 children are reported missing in the United States 
each year.
The Center also reports that in 2006, U.S. attorneys handled about 83 
percent more child pornography cases than in 1994, while "ICAC Task 
Forces noted about a 1,000 percent increase in complaints of child sex 
trafficking from 2004 to 2008."
Since October of last year, NCMEC’s Child Victim Identification 
Program has handled more than 104 million child pornography images 
since its creation in 2002, the Center reports.
American children who go missing are used in the sex trade every day. 
Cases have been reported in all 50 states, involving girls, boys and 
transgendered children. The average age, UNICEF reports,  is 13, most 
of them runaways with histories of sexual abuse.
So yes, this is an American problem, just like it's a problem all over 
the globe – whether it's legal or not.
The worst feeling in the world is when falling asleep with the 
television on, and after a news report about the Nigerian kidnapping 
slips into your REM sleep, you jump out of bed looking around the room 
for your daughters. Nightmares are scary because everything feels real.
There are hundreds of parents across the Atlantic who can't call their 
daughters like I called mine the other day to say "I love you and miss 
you."
They have to wait it out, hoping with every fiber of their being that 
they will hear those sweet voices again.
The thought alone is paralyzing.
One of the worst fears a parent can fathom is child abduction. The 
closest we will ever get to God on this Earth is the innocence of 
child, and there are men and women – right here in our own nation – 
waiting to steal that innocence from them.
If you suspect child sexual exploitation of any kind, visit www.cybertipline.com
  or call 1-800-843-5678.
And whether you believe in a Higher Power or not, ask God, the Great 
Spirit, or even the Universe to protect those girls and their 
families. No one deserves this, and we can all spare 10 seconds to 
send out positive energy.
And pray for those who wish to do harm to the children of the world, 
that they may find the peace  required to stop this wicked behavior.
Lawyers, guns and money are necessary evils in this evil world, but 
the power that comes from divine intercession and solidarity should 
never be underestimated.
Ponder that!