Action step against trafficking: Encourage a WWU, WCC, or Whatcom County high school student to apply for the Hope4Justice STEP -- Student Trafficking Education Project -- scholarship. (Details below.)
Human Trafficking of Child Soldiers
One of the most deplorable Human trafficking developments in recent years has been the increasing use of young children as soldiers. The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) defines child soldiers as "any child—boy or girl—under eighteen years of age, who is part of any kind of regular or irregular armed force or armed group in any capacity." Children as young as 8 are being ripped from their families and thrown into war. If they leave, they are left with no education, no shelter, no food, and no help for their physical and mental scars.
Armed conflict throughout the world makes children vulnerable to be trafficked and to becoming child soldiers. Abduction is the most common method by which child soldier recruitment takes place. The reckless and easily influenced nature of children makes them easy targets for traffickers, who view them as expendable. Some children are forced to take part in atrocities against their own families and neighbors to stigmatize them and ensure that they are unable to return to their communities. As soldiers, children often witness or commit horrifying atrocities including rape, beheadings, amputations, and burning people alive.
Those who are fortunate enough to survive their military experience are often left with severe mental health problems. Witnessing killing, and especially taking part in it, is particularly harmful to a child, who is still developing psychologically and emotionally. Children associated with military forces also face a higher risk of being sexually abused by adults or other children in their military group. Such traumatic events can disrupt children’s development, staying with them for the rest of their lives.
Hope4Justice encourages you to pray that representatives from around the world (United Nations, UNICEF, etc.) bring about global consensus that child soldiers should not be used in conflict.
Below is a Joint statement by the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict:
Restoring Hope Gala
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Engedi Refuge says, "You can help bring safety, comfort, and hope to victims of sex trafficking by joining us at our 2019 Restoring Hope fundraising gala. This event is an amazing opportunity for community partners like you to share this mission with your friends and associates by inviting them to a night of celebration, inspiration, fun, and meaningful charity. You make all the difference in ensuring the message of hope continues to be carried to survivors of trafficking!!"
When: Saturday, April 13, 2019. Registration opens at 5:30, dinner served at 6:30
Where: Four Points by Sheraton, 714 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham WA 98229
Cost: Single ticket; $65; Table Sponsorship of 8 is $500.
Click HERE to register for the Gala
Student Trafficking Education Project
There is still time for students to complete trafficking awareness activities and apply for the 2019 Hope4Justice STEP scholarship
Three $1000 scholarships are available - one each to a WCC student, a WWU student, and a Whatcom County high school student.
DEADLINE for submission is April 15, 2019
Students must satisfactorally complete at least 20 hours of trafficking awareness activity. Click on the items below for details about the STEP scholarship.