Friday, April 6, 2012

This. Must. Stop.

As my friend said, "and just when I think I am starting to grasp the reality of child exploitation in our world..."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/afganistans-dancing-boys-are-invisible-victims/2012/04/04/gIQAyreSwS_story.html

I don't know how. I guess not until Jesus chooses to return and restore His order in this world. But until then, we must do everything we can to make this stop.

These precious children. We must protect them.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Great place to shop

It's amazing, this community of abolitionists!

Every time I turn around there is another organization doing amazing things to keep men, women and children from being trafficked, another organization rescuing victims; and another organization creatively supporting those rescued.

Stop Traffick Fashion is my latest discovery.

If you have a need for birthday gift, maybe for the holidays this year, take a look at what they have there. Their jewelry is beautiful, affordable and is a great support for women rescued from trafficking.

Survivors who have been rescued from their captors make almost all of our accessories and receive income from STF sales. In addition, a portion of all sales revenue is donated back to our partner organizations that rescue victims and provide rehabilitation and training.
Happy shopping!

Poverty, Hunger and Trafficking

The more I explore, the more I learn that poverty is one of the critical elements in the human trafficking trade.

Today, I was sent a link to the latest World Vision online magazine. It is beautiful and worth a complete read. This issue focuses on the global epidemic of hunger.

But an element in an article about praying for those who struggle with hunger caught me off guard:

Pray that children are no longer forced into sex trafficking.

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. Today, an estimated 2 million children — most of them girls — are enslaved and abused in the global commercial sex trade. Many children are sold into prostitution to pay off family debts or abducted from the streets and forced to work in brothels. Children who escape or are rescued face a difficult physical and emotional recovery process.

Dear God, there are times when it is right — and righteous — to be angry. It is right to be angry about people who sexually exploit children. Let that righteous anger fuel action, Lord. Don't let it fade into complacency.

For people who work in such poverty that hunger is a mainstay, human trafficking is always a threat. So, as we pray for famines to end and tummies to be full, we also pray for protection from the ever-present threat of traffickers.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 8 of 72

I am a little bit late to the party.

But the Passion organization has put together a very cool website: http://72daysforfreedom.com

There are so many resources there. One that I especially love are the 72 prayer points. There are so many times that I find myself completely at a loss as to what to pray. Human trafficking is so overwhelming. These 72 points are so helpful in trying to focus on particular elements of this tragedy.

I hope it is helpful for you, too.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Preventative Abolitionist

I created this blog to have a space for me to process, write and figure out how it is I am called to respond to slavery in our world. Its not that I want to hold this separately from my "normal" life. It just felt right to have a sacred place where I could focus just on this.

But every once in a while, there is a particular story that is bigger than this little (and very, very quiet) blog.

Recently, we decided to sponsor a child through Compassion International.

The entire story of our "adoption" of Mikael is here: http://virginiabreens.blogspot.com/2012/03/mikael.html

There you'll see why I now call myself a preventative abolitionist!

Hey Ladies!

I'm so excited about the organization a friend of mine just shared with me.

It is called Free the Girls that is working to get women who have been rescued from sex trafficking employed.


The organization is young and has not yet confirmed their 501(c)(3) status. But I love the idea. And I love seeing folks getting creative about how to serve trafficking victims all over the world.


The folks at Free the Girls are gathering new or gently used bras to ship to countries in Africa where the women there (who have been rescued from traffickers) can sell them.


Now if you'll excuse me, I have some drawers to clean out!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I need thee every breath

There is much for me to learn about Lent. Growing up in a more protestant tradition, Lent was a practice in which we rarely engaged.

At All Souls, I have learned to pay attention to this time of introspection, repentance and anticipation of healing.

Tonight, I'm playing my violin in the Ash Wednesday service. The hymn I Need the Every Hour.

What a lovely thought.

This morning, I opened my Nook to read today's entry in Jesus Calling. It is written from the perspective of Jesus, his words of love to the author.

The first sentence this morning?

"You need me every moment."

There ya go.

I'm not sure how or why, but this will be my meditation this season of Lent.

I need thee every breath.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Isn't 500,000 Alarming?

I saw a photo online today. It was a picture of male celebrities holding a sign that reads "Real Men Don't Buy Girls."

One immensely tragic element of the human trafficking epidemic around the world is the practice of kidnapping young children and selling them into sex slavery. "Sex slavery" is a nice way of saying these children are raped, repeatedly, each night so someone else can make a profit.

The issues of the men who purchase these children is, to me, a raging symptom of the brokenness of this world. It is one of countless reasons we need the redemptive power of Jesus Christ.

(Ahhh, redemption. That's another blog post. A beautiful word, the meaning of which is just now breaking free in my own life.)

So, back to this photo. There were nearly a hundred comments about this photo. I didn't read all of them. But scanning them, one caught my eye. In effect, the author was accusing the poster of the photo of creating unnecessary hysteria around the issue of child sex trafficking. Arguing against the suggestion that there are 1.5 million child sex slaves in the world today, the author posted a link to an organization and said something to the effect of, "Its ridiculous to think that this number is in the millions. See, this reputable organization says there are only 500,000 child sex slaves in the world."

I almost started to cry.

Her argument was that since there were only a half million child sex slaves, we shouldn't panic.

I'm sorry. But even if you're right, shouldn't FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND CHILD SEX SLAVES make us hysterical?

For a moment it made me realize the fight we're up against here.

We live in a time where most of us (me, too!) think about ourselves--feeding, clothing, entertaining, protecting, serving, etc. We live in a place where the value of ME far, far outweighs the value of YOU.

This paradigm must shift for us to eradicate modern day human slavery.

But I believe it can and we will!

Getting actual numbers on human slavery is tricky. The experts land, typically, around twenty seven million slaves worldwide. But that's the thing with slaves, its not like they are being reported to the IRS. There could be many, many more of them.

Before you get overwhelmed, let me assure you, that whether that number is 5 million, 27 million or 50 million, there are amazing people in this world fighting on their behalf.

And as Gary Haugen, from the International Justice Mission (IJM) once said:
While there are millions of girls and women victimized every day, our work will always be about the one. The one girl deceived. The one girl kidnapped. The one girl raped. The one girl infected with AIDS. The one girl needing a rescuer. To succumb to the enormity of the problem is to fail the one. And more is required of us.

So here we are

I have a family blog. It is full of beautiful photos of my husband, our precious son and my beloved family and friends in Virginia, Texas, all over the place. There were a few times that I interrupted the picture-perfect series of blogs with a story of the sleepless nights we had with an infant or the tragic news of the death of a friend. But for the most part, it is a happily ever after blog.

I was living the dream, trying to love Jesus and my neighbor the best I could.

And then God brought the issue of human trafficking into my conscience. It took several tries, but finally I paid attention.

And it has turned my life upside down.

I read about it constantly. Every penny I spend I think about how organizations like IJM or Word Made Flesh could use that money to save one more person. I think about it all the time. All the time.

And I pray that doesn't change.

I am sure I'm the most "hidden" friend on Facebook. I post about human trafficking constantly. Sometimes its an article that I hope brings the issue to my friends' attention. Sometimes it's an article of a rescue. Those are my favorite.

I've realized that Facebook probably isn't the best soapbox. I'm not sure what that social media outlet is supposed to be. But pushing an agenda doesn't seem appropriate. (Although to my fantastic friends' credit, their encouragement has been a blessing to me...to keep sharing the story of this issue!).

The happily-ever-after blog isn't the right place either. My son's sweet grandparents deserve ridiculously cute photos and videos of their precious treasure.

So, I find myself here. A place to write. To share. To get out of my head the zillion thoughts I have.