In the 1800’s a grass-roots movement of abolitionists pioneered by William Wilberforce brought an end to the Trans- Atlantic slave trade, this 21st century slavery has re emerged with a brutality that viral’s anything in history. Human Trafficking is the leading criminal industry [...]
In the 1800’s a grass-roots movement of abolitionists pioneered by William Wilberforce brought an end to the Trans- Atlantic slave trade, this 21st century slavery has re emerged with a brutality that viral’s anything in history. Human Trafficking is the leading criminal industry in the world and has pushed me to be here in South East Asia. Nearly two months have gone by and I still cannot grasp the reality that 80-90% of the beautiful children I encounter daily have been sold, trafficked, and sexually exploited. Here in Cambodia alone 19,250 children are trapped in prostitution, a child being thirteen years or younger.
It didn’t take long until I was first asked to purchase a brand new baby. It was during ministry on the Riverside my second week here, we came across a beautiful baby girl living on the side walk with her mom and two brothers; she was just one week old. I sat with her momma, and after communicating for a few minutes she allowed me to hold this precious little one. It wasn’t long until we were approached by an older Cambodian man, and questioned if we were interested in the baby. Reality hit, and I was no longer watching a documentary or reading an article. The following week, while looking for this family we were told the baby was dropped face first by her four year old brother. Panicked we continued to look for them, finally finding her all bruised, face completely purple, we rushed her to the medical clinic ( I sobbed the whole way), thankfully she had no internal injuries. By week five I was inquiring about the adoption laws, as this baby had won my heart. The first step is consent from the family, already being offered this baby; I questioned if her mother would be willing to give her baby girl up for adoption. She agreed, $1000.00 was the asking price. Unfortunately at this time the Cambodian government is not allowing foreigners to adopt. I was informed several things are being updated in the system and until they are, adoption is forbidden to foreigners. Not long after this conversation took place, four Cambodian men came up to us and assured me for just $1000.00 I could buy this baby, and though my deepest desire was to do so, it was illegal . It worries me to see her mom so willing to give her up, besides weekly visits I am a foreigner, and a stranger. It opened my eyes to how easy buying a child is for a pedophile . The selling of children by their own parents is normal here in Cambodia.
I was given the opportunity to meet with Don Brewster who you may know from the movie Nefarious (highly recommended). I was blown away when he explained the village he lives in, is known for parents selling their children to brothel owners and locals. He shared that by the age of eighteen, the young women is considered “too old” and is not worth as much, but the prepubescent girls 10-12 are most desired/ expensive. Don shared of a momma who sold her thirteen year old daughter for $700.00, which would allow 150 men to rape her, thankfully she was rescued, but unfortunately it wasn’t until after she endured several traumatic incidents. My heart aches as I question where the parent’s morals are, or how they are able to numb their emotions, and disregard all thoughts of what they are setting their babies up for. Don’s ministry rescues and restores these women and children, he has several after care centres that the women and children are brought too, providing medical attention, schooling, opportunity, and relief counselling.
One of the organizations we partner with shed light on a young boy ten years of age who attends their boys centre. The staff noticed him showing several signs of abuse, the young boy opened up and shared that he lived with a foreigner and four other children. The foreigner makes all the children shower and sleep naked with him. We later found out this pedophile has been under investigation since 2005, is a professor and teaches at a local university, is in his fifties, and has consent from the children’s parents. The case was reported to an investigations organization that deals directly with children at risk. Within days of the young boy speaking up, the once hyper child, seeking a ton of attention, became really low key and withdrawn, it’s believed the perpetrator had taken this young boy from the grooming stages to penetration. The team was working hard to prepare this young boy to share his testimony with the investigators but unfortunately the child whether fear or shame could not testify .The team is now working and praying to try and get one of the other children in the house to speak up. Cambodian law does not accept video or audio evidence unless the person being recorded is aware of the recording, which defeats and ultimately eliminates evidence to come forth. This law enables such cases like Daniel Lavigne’s to continue for so long. Daniel is from Montreal, Ontario, (see the link provided) http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2013/02/22/cambodia-pedophile-mimi-wells-report.html. Lavigne was under investigation after taking two sisters aged 9 and 11, with permission from their families to sexually exploit them. The sisters were questioned by an NGO, and admitted to Lavigne molesting them which allowed authorities to arrest, charge, and give him a jail sentence of just one year in Cambodia. Lavigne was released on good behaviour and immediately went back to visit these young girls and their family. With no help from the RCMP, this time consuming case finally came to an end in 2012 when Lavigne was finally deported back to Canada, not for molesting the children in Cambodia, but because of a search warrant that was out for him since 2007 for sexually assaulting two minors in Ontario. The corruption and lack of support is beyond my understanding, the laws make Cambodia a hiding place for these things to take place. Saying that, it isn’t even necessarily hidden, walking along the riverside I have personally seen foreigners pick up children, walking them away from their families, or carrying them around on their backs. If you ask a Tuk Tuk driver to bring you to a specific child or women for sexual purposes, they know exactly where to go! I’m looking forward to the day Human Trafficking gets enough social media and awareness that governments and police officials would not have the option of accepting money to keep quiet about this issue, and leaving no choice but for the laws to be changed.
The bar ministry has opened my heart to the prostitutes in a way it has never been open before. Listening to these young women some fifteen, sixteen years old share their hearts. The one thing every single woman has in common, regardless of their age, was none of them wanted to be where they were, they had no choice. As mentioned in my post “Support women overseas” women are not given the same opportunity as men, most of them have been sold as children, or forced to stay home and help sit their baby siblings, cook, and clean. They don’t have schooling or basic trade skills to make a living, leaving them forced to submit to the bars. Nothing could ever compare to what I saw in Bangkok, Thailand. I was given the opportunity to visit missionaries down there for one week, the first street corner I turned had a table set up full of sex toys, and pornographic DVDs and magazines. Every foreign man I saw was with a Thai woman young enough to be his daughter and Bangkok carries such a spiritual heaviness. On the Friday night we set out to Soi Cowboy, one of the main streets for strip clubs and prostitutes; the street was completely lit and full of young girls and men. As we walked through, I had to hold back my tears, watching girls ranging 14-40 years old half naked dancing on men, some old enough to be their grandfathers. The clubs are more intense than anything I had ever experienced in my life. They consisted of stages, strip poles, and tons of young girls not even legal age, dancing and performing sex shows. One of the clubs has three floors, each level you walk up becomes more intense, leading to the top floor which is a sex show of girls who have been trafficked, and most who cannot speak english besides pricing for sexual favours. Thailand is a hot spot for trafficked women, many who have been tricked to come from Eastern Europe, and other areas of Asia. The ones who have been trafficked do not get paid, they are under complete control of their pimp who treats them like animals, beating, isolating, and degrading them into believing they are worthless. Regardless of anyone’s beliefs, or pre judgements I will speak on behalf of these beautiful women who cannot, Not ONE of these ladies wants to sell her body, regardless of what she’s forced to say, and her eyes speak what her mouth cannot. I am so grateful to be building relationship with these women, most whose dreams are of being educated and successfully employed. Bar ministry allows us to build relationship, and share opportunities that are available for them. The Antique Cafe in Thailand and the Daughters Cafe in Cambodia are two of my favourite places, both known to employee former sex workers, as well as several other cafes and beauty parlours available to those coming from the bars/ trade.
I have also been blessed with the opportunity to spend time volunteering with Feed my Lambs Ministry. This ministry has opened my heart to the babies that have been conceived through rape or prostitution and thankfully have not been aborted. They have several day centres that the babies attend while their moms seek opportunity and employment. One of my recent highlights was spending the morning caring for a five week old baby boy, his mother just 16, and a former prostitute who found opportunity, and has left the sex trade in attempts to better both hers and her sons life. It’s so important to celebrate these victories. Though times can be difficult here, these moments encourage us to look ahead, knowing in the end victory will come, and the captives will be set free.
So much has gone on these last two months, thankfully I have extended this trip, as times flying by. Working with victims of sexual exploitation is my heart, and I have never been so fulfilled in my life. These beautiful women and children have touched me in ways words could not describe. Their stories, willingness to share, laugh, play, and receive love is mind blowing after enduring so much trauma. I am so excited to see how the rest of this mission plays out; I know this is just the beginning, pioneering just as they did in the 1800’s until we reach the end of this modern day slavery. I couldn’t ask for anything more than this opportunity.
Prayer Requests: Please continue to pray for the team here, for health, protection, and continual provision, and that God continues to provide for our basic necessities. That the children are brave enough to speak up against their perpetrators and the pedophiles are charged and taken off the streets. That the laws in this nation are changed and the women and children are released from the bondage of sex slavery.
What is it to be a women in a developing country today? Lack of education, lack of medical attention, arranged marriage, sexual violence, and honor killings -to name a few.
Women in developing countries often aren’t given the same opportunity as males to attend school, statistics show seventy five million girls are out of school throughout the world. Without basic education or knowledge women cannot be financially independent, they are not able to provide basic necessities for their children, and they are often forced into poverty. 70% of those suffering from poverty in the world today are women. Why? Women don’t have the same opportunity as men.
Every year ten million girls are forced into arranged marriage, one in three are married before the age of eighteen, and one in seven are married before the age fifteen. Young girls are forced or sold into marriage to men much older, where polygamy is often practiced and where physical, emotional, and sexual abuse is often endured. These marriages are based on tradition, religion, and lack of education. Rarely are women given the opportunity to choose who they marry, and in few situations where a woman has attempted to marry the man she desires, she is killed (known as an honor killing). Pregnancy is high for these young women, many of them facing serious complications and even death. In some countries a young women is considered weak if she requests to give birth in a medical center. Unfortunately, due to the underdevelopment of her body, the lack of medical attention/ supplies, and lack of education to those trying to assist in the delivery process, pregnancy is found to be the leading cause of death in young women aged fifteen to nineteen.
One hundred and thirty million females undergo genital mutilation (also known as female circumcision) in the world. The average age for this procedure is five to eight years old, the young girls are taken to a hut where their legs are tied together(this is done to stop the girls from kicking) and they are literally cut with a sharp instrument, the clitoris is removed along with surrounding flesh. The “recovery” process on average is one week and extremely painful.The procedure is not under anesthetic nor completed with the proper medical equipment/attention, on several occasions the child does not survive due to infection and/or uncontrolled bleeding. When questioned why this procedure occurs, the response is based on religious beliefs, lack of education, and to control chastity of the girls by lowering their sex drive. This procedure causes lifelong reproductive issues including complications and even death to those giving birth.
If a young woman is born into a family who suffers from extreme poverty, she has not received education or been married off, her likelihood of being sold to a brothel or working as a prostitute is high. Many of these “prostitutes” are sold and forced against their will. First time encounters consist of rape and severe beatings. Children nine years of age and older are forced to submit and perform obnoxious acts to entertain their clients. If the child attempts to defend herself or does not satisfy the perpetrator, she is beaten and potentially killed. The young girls are most desired, and the younger the more expensive. Most brothels lock from the outside leaving the girls trapped and forced to submit up to thirty clients on average a day. Though this is a worldwide issue, India is known to have more sex slaves than anywhere in the world and the age of these girls continues to drop. This issue is rapidly growing; 3 million women are now trapped in prostitution, 1.2 million are children. Condoms are rarely used, sexual education is not taught, and sanitary supplies are not provided, causing an increase number of Aids, HIV, and sexually transmitted diseases.
The information and statistics we study, the commercials and documentaries we watch, and the books and articles we read, all hold opportunity. When looking at the issues listed, the main concern is women are not receiving the same opportunities as men. By bringing awareness and supporting girls overseas we are able to shed light onto the darkness they face, and give hope to those who have lost it. By supporting girls overseas we give them the basic necessities such as clean water and food, a chance to attend school, basic medical attention, and an opportunity to learn trades to start small businesses. It is our responsibility to bring awareness and speak on behalf of those who cant. When looking at the developing countries do not allow fear or discouragement to overtake you, don’t be overwhelmed with the big picture, look at each individual soul. Dare to be different. It is our responsibility to speak up and bring awareness to the women who cant.
This is a great opportunity for us to influence and create change.
“We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not choose our historical epoch, or the country of our birth, or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time or conditions of our death. But within all this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we shall live: courageously or in cowardice, honorably or dishonorably, with purpose or adrift. We decide what is important and what is trivial in life. We decide that what makes us significant is either what we do or what we refuse to do. But no matter how indifferent the universe may be to our choices and decisions, these choices and decisions are ours to make. We decide. We choose. And as we decide and choose, so are our lives formed. In the end, forming our own destiny is what ambition is about”. – Joseph Epstein
One word: Brilliant.
Get ENGAGED, HELP bring change. ACTION from the WORLD.
Movement: The Half the Sky Movement is cutting across platforms to ignite the change needed to put an end to the oppression of women and girls worldwide, the defining issue of our time. Inspired by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book of the same name, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide brings together video, websites, games, blogs and other educational tools to not only raise awareness of women’s issues, but to also provide concrete steps to fight these problems and empower women.
Buy the book and DVD: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0307387097/ref=as_li_tf_il?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0307387097&linkCode=as2&tag=haltheskymov-20
Since Africa my heart has been set on traveling to the beautiful land of Asia, preferably Cambodia or Thailand mainly to help out with the serious issue of Human Trafficking.
Human Trafficking is the largest growing industry and unfortunately lacks the attention of so many, leaving countless victims stuck in silent screams. Young women and children are being sold, abused, and left with no one and nothing. HIV & Aids is growing so rapidly and children are being left to die. Studies found two thirds of new HIV cases are being found in women, as they don’t have the same opportunity as men with education or work, and are often forced into the sex trade.
I have been blessed with an opportunity to attend a short term mission trip to Cambodia; the trip is 2 months and runs from January to March of 2013. For those who want details about this trip please feel free to private message me, rather than posting details on a public site. As any mission this is an outreach to help bring change and give hope to those stuck in circumstances they did not choose.
I am aware that traveling and the mission field is not something everyone feels called to, but we are all called to love. Going on this trip is not to represent myself, rather it is to represent this nation, to show not everyone has disregarded or forgotten the countless children and women fighting for survival being forced, abused, and raped daily. Help bring the change.
This trip is through a nonprofit organization and does require funding in order to attend. Human Trafficking T-Shirts and Reach Out buttons will be sold to raise the funds required. If you find it in your heart to give, it can also be done through the PayPal account found on this website.
Thank you for your constant support, without your support these trips would not be possible.
Sexual Exploitation can be defined as sexual abuse of children and youth through the exchange of sex or sexual acts for drugs, food, shelter, protection, other basics of life, and/or money. Sexual exploitation includes involving children and youth in creating pornography and sexually explicit websites.
When a young women turns 12 in a 3rd world Country a drastic shift occurs in her life, not only is she now considered a women but also, an object. At this tender age the young women are sold into the sex trade, to local men, and/or forced into an arranged marriage. Many of these “marriages” include polygamy, rape, and other forms of abuse. The young women do not have a voice or choice in submitting to the circumstances of this life, if these women were to speak up they could be badly beaten, and even killed.
The young men are rarely mentioned in the media, mainly because the victims do not report the abuse. The tender topic of homosexuality is often introduced and the abuse is often disregarded. Due to the lack of concern and services for these boys, they tend to endure and isolate themselves from speaking. The truth is just as women; the young men are abused and also sold for sex. I can recall a brief meeting I attended back in Africa, the meeting introduced me to the growing concerns and issues in Asia, mainly the sex trade- it was then that I was informed how many young boys were being sold for sex, and purchased because they weren’t as expensive as the young girls. These young boys are forced and humiliated just like the young women to perform sexual acts, and prostitute their bodies leaving them too, with not only psychological and emotional damage but also physical.
During my time in Africa, I remember the young women in the local villages celebrating their adolescence with a ceremony; the ceremonies included courtships and or marriage. The young women 12-14 years would dress up and perform dances to the sound of the drums played by the locals. The men then select the young women of their choice and the girls become wives and sexual objects, in submission to the request of the man. I remember one night hearing the drums playing in the village beside our base; I sat out on the back porch and watched other students walk over towards the laundry area, where they prayed for the young screaming children in the village next to our base. I can still feel that deep urge in the bottom of my core, the need to stop the screams, the want to help the child, yet feeling so stuck, so hopeless. The loud screams do not die down; they live on day in and out as we continue with our daily lives.
Statistics show that the global marked of child trafficking alone is over $12 billion a year, with over 1.2 million child victims. The exploitation is growing every year and in 2009 the National Center of Missing children received more than 120 000 reports on its cyber tip line , and in 2010 the number grew 40 000 to a total or 160 000 vast majority coming from child pornography. The average serial child molester may have as many as 400 victims in his lifetime.
What now? It’s a question most of us quickly ask when something like this is brought to our attention, emotions are stirred causing us to want to act in the moment, but life happens and again we become distracted and tend to drift away from the issues of the world that aren’t directly affecting us. I’m looking for answers. It’s hard to grasp the concept of young children, both boys and girls being sold for sex, beaten and humiliated day in and out as we live on with our lives? Why is it that as a nation we aren’t able to invest more time and money on issues such as this? How can you we bring change and bring hope to the children?
For starters, I’ve learned the only change that can be done in this world is through people who believe it is possible. Bringing awareness to issues such as this and standing up as a group, a community, and a nation for children who have no voice, no say, and no choice. Even before looking past the borders of Canada and the United States remember the problem is in our backyards, the pedophiles are our neighbors; we need to become more aware. It confuses me to see the impulsive response to issues in times of tragedy yet once the publicity dies down, so do the people- forgetting the children, the people, all the countless victims.
So how do we bring change? It has to start now. We don’t have time to go on with our lives because every minute that goes by the children are being stripped, raped, filmed and exposed to things no child should ever be exposed too. Let’s first educate ourselves; the easiest thing in life is to turn our faces from the severe issues of this world, read. Read about the severity of the problem, read the statistics of the countless victims and together within your community let’s start social groups, networks and be the voice for these children. Get involved in organizations that are desperate for people to help, organizations that invest time in bringing awareness to a world so distracted. Volunteer, get involved in mission trips- let’s go out to the world and speak to local communities, working within teams to rescue the people from the sex trade. Try sponsoring a child, within World Vision 81% of your dollar goes directly to the child/child programs; you immediately give the child an opportunity to not only go to school, receive medical attention, and access to clean water and food but also you provide the child with grief counseling and keep them from being forced into the above circumstances. For less than a coffee a day you will help these kids from falling into traps such as forced prostitution and slavery.
How can we together bring an end to child abuse? How can we stop the children from being harmed? If this issue was directly in your family, or amongst your friends how much more involved would you become? Is it fair that a young girl aged 12 is submitting herself to an HIV/AIDS positive 45-50 year old man? How are we able to turn such an eye to the rest of the kids screaming for our help? Let’s Wake UP, and help bring change to a broken world in such need of someone to stand up and do the right thing. Message me with thoughts and opinions on this matter- share how we as a team, a community and a nation can bring an end to the countless victims forced into Sexual Exploitation worldwide.
It takes ONE NATION to make a difference in this WORLD.
It takes ONE COMMUNITY to make a difference in this NATION.
It takes ONE FAMILY to make a difference in this COMMUNITY.
It takes ONE PERSON to make a difference in this FAMILY.
You are the ONE!
www.girleffect.org- Plan Canada, Because I am a girl.
The following album took place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This was my first mission trip outside of Canada. I spent one week visiting the local villages providing supplies, food, medical attention, and love to the local people. There are many amazing moments this trip consisted of and I would love to share them with anyone interested in knowing more, this is a brief summary of what I experienced.
Exiting the bus arriving at the first Batey I saw a child no more than 2 years of age playing in his dirty diaper with no parents in site, alone, and abandoned sitting in dirt. Following this moment I watched hundreds of people line up to receive medical attention, a meal, and basic sanitary supplies. Countless mothers were informed that their babies were malnourished and if they couldn’t produce breast milk to feed, the babies would not survive. The teacher of this local village called us to a classroom setting, as the kids poured through the classroom I hid out in the back, overwhelmed and anxious wanting to observe, a momma spotted me in the back walked over to me and in broken English asked me to take her baby home. This is poverty; imagine being so desperate to give your child a better life you’re willing to hand her over to a complete stranger, my heart sank and tears filled my eyes I knew in this moment I could never go back to “regular” life knowing what was happening throughout the world. Most of the children don’t live in functioning homes; it was rare to see a father around yet these kids, most of them neglected were jumping and laughing so full of life & excitement. As we toured through the batey the kids held our hands , or requested for us to give them back rides – jumping all over us, seeking just a moment of time, attention and love. This trip took place in Santo Domingo which is approximately 40 minutes away from Punta Cana, known for its tourist attractions & 5 star resorts including Bahia Principe, the hotel that consists of unlimited drinks, food buffets, and entertainment it’s scary to know the extreme sickness, poverty and need that is so close to this Paradise. The week was spent with touring the Bateys, attending medical clinics, distributing food and supplies, bringing the kids to local beaches and being educated about the economy and lifestyle. The group that I joined to complete this mission visits annually, they also provide medical carts and funding throughout the year. Message me for details if you’d like to take part in the annual trip. Looking through my albums and reading this brief summary is only going to take you so far, it take being there and holding these children to really grasp the needs of not only the Dominican, but also the world.
The trip total for a week stay was approximately $1400.00, with the help of amazing family and friends we were able to raise $500.00. To everyone who helped, thank you.
Mozambique, Africa was one of the greatest experiences of my life, during this trip I received a certificate for completing a Cross Culture and Missionary course hosted by Iris Ministries. I lived in a cabin on a base filled with amazing women who helped encourage and support me through the trip, I miss them all very much. Fridays were spent working in the Village Children’s Discipleship program which consisted of singing, dancing, teaching, and feeding the local children, many relied on this food, as it was there only meal of the day. 200 beautiful orphans live on the base and are given the opportunity to eat, shower, and sleep in a safe place. Many of these kids came from circumstances none of us could ever grasp- yet they are so full of life, love, and excitement a light that radiates off their eyes, words could not explain.
The hardest part of the trip was hearing the drums playing in the villages next door or watching the young girls walk around exposing there legs, which in this culture meant they were being sexually promiscuous and usually looking to be picked up and prostituted. The drum ceremonies that took place would occur when a child (female) was first entering her womanhood- they dress up, dance, and entertain the local village men in hopes to be selected for courtship/ marriage most of these girls are ten to thirteen years of age, once they have been selected most endure physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.
One of the most memorable experiences of this trip was doing a local outreach with a village momma, I slept in her mud hut for two nights and three days, we walked through the local village, played with all the beautiful children and helped her cook a fish dinner (specialty dish) . I can recall getting ready for bed, she gave up her straw bed for me and slept on the floor in the next room. Many woman in this culture have little to nothing, but whatever they do have they love to share and are extremely generous.
This trip not only showed me poverty, sickness, and pain, but also that love is the answer to all of it. It’s about “stopping for the one” as Heidi Baker would say, and sharing love with them. Iris Ministries hosts the Harvest School of Missions twice a year and I highly recommend it to anyone serious about the mission field.
If you’re interested in learning more about this trip please feel free to private message me I would love to share more to anyone who is interested. The total cost to attend this trip was approximately $6500.00 which included food, stay, flight and medical care , with your support $3500.00 was raised. Thank You!