The following was written by a friend (link to the Just Thinking blog at the bar on your right) who is in Cambodia this week learning about the issue of human-trafficking with World Hope International. Her thoughts were poignant enough to share:
Men are like gold.
Women are like a white cloth.
This is the mindset of the Cambodian people. A white cloth, once soiled, can never be clean again.
Such is the life of the young girls sold into the sex trade. Their fate is set. Their destiny… to live a lonely life in the cycle of abuse, shame and disdain. A white cloth, some as young as five years old, turned into a dirty rag way before they should have lost their childhood innocence.
In a community center, called Rahab House, once a brothel for girls too young for such a thing, these quotes were found on the lightly pink walls of the small rooms where they would wait for the next client, anywhere from 10 to as high as 30 a day:
The men tell us we are pretty, but they are liars.
We put on makeup and tell ourselves we are pretty, but it’s not true.
We are like flowers with the petals falling one by one.
Our life has no meaning.
Only Jesus can take a dirty rag and turn it into a bright white cloth once again. This is their only hope.
For I have plans for you, says the Lord, not to harm you, but to give a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
World Hope International (WHI) and the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAAST) received a boost in their efforts to fight human trafficking around the globe when Today’s Christian Woman magazine chose FAAST as its partner in its first-ever Cause of the Year: Combat Sex Trafficking. In each of the magazine’s bimonthly publications throughout 2008, TCW will feature stories about sex trafficking, FAAST and its work, and suggestions for how individuals can help combat trafficking worldwide. What can I do, what can you do to bring honor to God by combating this injustice?
Pray for freedom for everyone currently a victim. Pray for physical, spiritual, and emotional wholeness for sex trafficking survivors, and for their continued safety and possible reintegration into their family or community. Throughout the year, find updated prayer requests on sex trafficking at http://www.TodaysChristianWoman.com.
Discover what’s happening in regard to sex trafficking in your state. Subscribe to the free U.S. Policy Alert Service through the Polaris Project at www.polarisproject.orgto receive regular updates, maps, and notifications of legislative developments on trafficking in the United States. Sign up for the latest news and information about sex trafficking from the Initiative Against Sexual Trafficking (IAST) at www.iast.net.
Hang an anti-trafficking poster in your church, business, or office. Posters advertising the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) victim hotline are available at www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/index.html or by calling 1-888-3737-888. Introduce your book club, Sunday school, or other gathering to a book or movie on trafficking. Suggested books include Enslaved: True Stories of Modern Day Slavery, edited by Jesse Sage and Liora Kasten, and The Natashas: Inside the New Global Sex Trade, by Victor Malerek. Movies include Trade (2007) and Human Trafficking, the four-hour Lifetime miniseries on European women trafficked into the U.S. for prostitution (2005).
Ask your state legislators how they’re working to stop sex trafficking in your state. If they’re not, offer to provide information on what they can do. To obtain this information, see the U.S. Department of Justice webpage on slavery and trafficking at www.usdoj.gov/crt/crim/tpwetf.htm, and the model state law on trafficking at www.usdoj.gov/crt/crim/model_state_law.pdf.
Contact FAAST, the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking (www.faastinternational.org), for current volunteer opportunities in the U.S. or abroad. FAAST welcomes volunteers to research, write, do graphic design, review laws, plan events, and more. If you suspect slavery or trafficking is happening near you, report it to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Trafficking Information and Referral Hotline at 1-888-3737-888 or the U.S. Department of Justice Trafficking in Persons Complaint Line at 1-888-428-7581, or the FBI field office nearest you. Your call could save lives.
Donate money toward FAAST’s Rapid Response Kits. Many of these survivors escape with nothing but the clothes they’re wearing. FAAST Rapid Response Kits provide basic clothing and hygiene items, including a pair of rubber sandals, two T-shirts, a pair of pants/shorts or a skirt, a toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste, a small bottle of shampoo, a bar of soap, a small towel, and a comb or brush. Along with the kit, FAAST provides recipients with transportation to a safe place. Although one of the most crucial forms of assistance to survivors, transportation can be prohibitively expensive. But since most survivors have been dislocated from their communities, they need to safely reach their home where they can be reunited with their family, or travel to an appropriate service provider where, removed from captivity, they can begin to heal. These kits will be distributed in Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cambodia, India, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and South Africa. The cost is $60 each.
I would love to hear your comments/thoughts/stories on how YOU are getting involved this year to honor God and proclaim freedom through Jesus by fighting this injustice. I’ll keep you posted on my end and this issue continues to move me…