The summer Olympics are going to be here in ten weeks (give or take a few days). I love watching the Olympics with all the fanfare, the patriotic showings, national anthems, broken world records, and all the attention and excitement that it causes. The Olympics have birthed iconic moments and beginnings, from the U-S-A chant to Bob Costas’ classic line, “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” the Olympics create some amazing experiences.

But there’s a darker side to the Olympics that I didn’t know about until just a few years ago. It’s the reality that human trafficking is at its highest demand, both geographically and chronologically, when surrounding large-scale world sporting events, such as the Olympic Games, the World Cup, and the Super Bowl.

It’s estimated that in the weeks leading up to the London Olympics, over 40,000 women will be trafficked into the greater London area and boroughs for the sole purpose of forced prostitution during the games. Most of these women will be from Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and even parts of the western world.

40,000 women. That’s more than a medium-sized city… and it’s sickening. I’m all about rooting on your country in the Olympics but this is an atrocity that supersedes any national allegiance. It doesn’t matter what country wins what race if we’re turning a blind eye to these types of terrors.

Human trafficking is running rampant in our world today. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, human trafficking is the fastest growing means by which people are enslaved, the fastest growing international crime, and one of the largest sources of income for organized crime. It is the second largest source of illegal income worldwide exceeded only by drug trafficking.

In the light of such darkness though, there is hope. Stop the Traffik is a non-profit organization that is helping lead the fight against human trafficking. Jesus has broken the chains on our souls and we celebrate our spiritual and physical freedom by helping to end all slavery today. We can partner with organizations like Stop the Traffik to help spread the news about the horrors of human trafficking.

For the record… don’t boycott the Olympics. Ignorance isn’t bliss. Just because you tune out doesn’t mean the terror will end. Instead, you should share this with others because education can bring change. We can’t help change what we don’t know about. The Olympics aren’t the problem; the slave trade is. The Olympics are the symptom but human trafficking is the disease.

I still plan on watching the Olympics and celebrating the U.S.’s successes… but for the first time at an Olympics, I want my eyes to be wide open to the darkness behind the scenes. Pray for gaps to be broken in the trafficking trades. Share with others about the dark shadow around the Olympics.