Peace on Earth?

Eileen Campbell, Sr. Director of Advocacy and Mobilization for International Justice Mission recently sent out an IJM Prayer Partner email that said, "It’s the time of the year when we begin singing hymns filled with hope for the promise of peace on earth.  As I reflect on this year, there are times when this proverbial peace on earth is hard for us to see. And yet, there is still much to celebrate."

Included in the IJM successes are these two items:

  • "This year, we saw the U.S. State Department commit $25M to the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery. Soon after, we celebrated the news that the U.K. government would match this contribution."
  • IJM also says: "Praise God for all the children we have been able to rescue in 2017 with our local partners across the Latin America region." 


On another front, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) says  Twitter took a step forward when it blocked searches for pornographic photos and videos.  "In March, 2017 Twitter—a member of the Dirty Dozen List—changed its platform so that when users type in hashtags or keywords traditionally associated with pornography and prostitution no results are shown. This is a significant break from Twitter’s past laissez faire approach!" 

And in the educational realm, the school education resource EBSCEO removed most sexually graphic content from its products and links.  "EBSCEO Information Services offers online library resources to public and private schools (K-12), colleges and universities, public libraries, and more.  Unfortunately, many of their school products provided easy access to hardcore pornography sites, extremely graphic sexual content, and even links to recruitment sites for porn and prostitution."  Thanks to NCOSE for working with them to solve this problem.

Though it may sometimes seem as if trafficking around the world is an unbeatable problem, there is much to celebrate and give thanks for.  People & organizations are rising up, working against it, and making a difference.

And so we say, Merry Christmas! May we see peace and an end to slavery in our lifetime.
SueAnn

Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit www.hope4justice.org/learnmore/ 

HAPPENINGS IN
WHATCOM COUNTY


Child Sex Sting in Whatcom County
 

The December 18, 2017 issue of the Bellingham Herald reported that, "Twenty men in Whatcom and Skagit counties were caught in a sting that targeted internet predators attempting to solicit sexual contact with minors during the “Net Nanny” operation by the State Patrol’s Missing and Exploited Children Task Force. Most of the men were arrested on suspicion of attempted child rape and attempted communication with a minor for immoral purposes." 

“The arrests stemming from Operation Net Nanny resulted in the capture of those seeking out very young and very vulnerable children for sexual exploitation and contact,” Whatcom County Sheriff Bill Elfo said.

Karen from Hope4Justice says, "We commend all the law enforcement agencies including over 60 dedicated people for this successful sting against johns attempting to buy our local youth for sex. Our most vulnerable need protection. Well done!"

 

TAKE ACTION & CHECK OUT THESE RESOURCES:

JOIN US

Hope4Justice holds quarterly public meetings from 7-8:30 pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the chosen month at the Engedi Counseling Center, 7370 Guide Meridian, Lynden, WA 98264.  The specific date and information about meeting content will be included in this weekly email as far in advance as possible.

Directions to Engedi Counseling Center: From Wiser Lake roundabout head North on Guide Meridian; immediately after Simple Box Storage Containers turn right into the driveway and drive to the second building on the left

Thoughts on sex tourism

"It takes time, money & effort to buy a human's body."

Dana P. and her husband traveled to Cambodia last spring to be involved in the fight against sex trafficking.  As they spent the first hour in Cambodia dealing with paperwork before being allowed into the county, Dana's thoughts went from the long flight to the reality of sex trafficking. In her blog she says,"...the awareness that this is where people would fly to buy cheap sex or to illegally buy a child, seemed so crazy to me.  But it occurred to me, that men who come here for sex - wasn’t by accident. It is well planned. It has to be."

Dana says, "It takes time, energy, planning, waiting, paying, processing, and execution to come here. Especially, if you are from America or Europe. As the levels of progression to get into the country are extensive and the hours are long. What you need to understand is that it takes time, money, and effort to buy a human's body, to rape the soul.

I started to understand that people who are involved with Sex Trafficking go down an avenue that has many stops. It takes a lot effort to do this. Even if you are tempted to believe that being involved with Sex Trafficking with an underage child is a random kind of thing.

But that's not really true. 
It can't be. 
It is well planned out."
 

It's easy to gloss over the reality of sex trafficking.  Dana's comments underline the gritty details.  She goes on to share facts about supply & demand, who the buyers are, and the billions of dollars that are made each year from selling children.  

It's a difficult read but the reality for trafficked victims is so much more difficult.  We can't become complacent about this issue.  We can't give up because the numbers of those trafficked are in the millions.  

Dana tells of listening to Mark Kadel, Executive Director of Rebound, who said, "What number do you need to see to make it real to you? What number do you need to see, for you to care?  And then he finished with, "... is it One?"

"You see. For One person, we should care.
For One person in Slavery, we should care.
For One person, who is being mistreated and sold, should be enough for us to stand up for their Freedom..."


I agree.  One person enslaved is one person too many.  Let's do what we can to free that one person -- and then the next one -- and the next. 

Until all are free,
Sue Ann

Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit www.hope4justice.org/learnmore/ 


TAKE ACTION

What can you do?

At this time of year, people are focused on Christmas and end-of-year decisions.  Although life is busy, you can still integrate efforts against trafficking by:

  • Purchasing fairly traded chocolate bars, coffee, and tea for stocking stuffers!
  • Consider donating to an anti-trafficking organization before December 31st.


JOIN US

Hope4Justice holds quarterly public meetings from 7-8:30 pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the chosen month at the Engedi Counseling Center, 7370 Guide Meridian, Lynden, WA 98264.  The specific date and information about meeting content will be included in this weekly email as far in advance as possible.

Directions to Engedi Counseling Center: From Wiser Lake roundabout head North on Guide Meridian; immediately after Simple Box Storage Containers turn right into the driveway and drive to the second building on the left

"Dressember?" What's that??

 

Support Hope4Justice involvement in Dressember!
Sometimes people come up with crazy ideas -- ideas that gain attention, ideas that others can support and buy into, ideas that start a movement. 

That's Dressember.

It involves pledging to wear a dress or a bow tie every day for the month of December "...to bring awareness and collect donations to end slavery and sex trafficking. Donations fund life-saving work through [Dressember] partners: International Justice Mission and A21."

The Dressember site explains how this movement came to be: "In 2005, our founder Blythe Hill began hearing about the issue of sex trafficking. Despite her deep sense of urgency to help, she felt helpless. She wasn't a lawyer or a doctor or a social worker; her interests and talents were in fashion, trend analysis, and blogging. She didn't think she had much to offer to the fight, until four years later."

"In 2009, Blythe challenged herself to wear a dress every day of December (hence: Dressember). The next year, a few friends joined in. By the third year, her friends' friends began to participate, and it occurred to Blythe that there was more to this challenge than she originally thought. By 2013, the movement blossomed into something completely unexpected - an international campaign to aid the fight against sex trafficking." 
(Hear Blythe's TED Talk about Dressember HERE -- scroll to bottom of page.)

In less than four years, Dressember advocates have raised over $3 million, committing to increasing global awareness and eradication of slavery and sex trafficking.  Dressember provides a way for ordinary people going about their daily lives to become involved in the fight against human trafficking. 

Since one third of December is over, you may want to make a note on your 2018 calendar to sign up next year.  However, you can still be involved this year by supporting Hope4Justice member, Karen, with any size donation.  Click HERE to link to her Dressember page.

I'm going to make a donation.  Will you?
Sue Ann

Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit www.hope4justice.org/learnmore/ 

Rebecca Bender: Lured in by a trafficker

Rebecca Bender was an all-American 18-year old who fell for the lies of a trafficker.  She was trafficked for nearly six years before escaping via an FBI bust. 

She has since become a well known writer, speaker, and founder of the Rebecca Bender Initiative (RBI).   She says, "I believe that everyone, every human being, is born for greatness. However, somewhere along our journeys, some of us have been targeted and exploited, even lured away with false promises to reach those dreams. I know first-hand what that is like and after escaping, I still had that burning desire to find out why I had lived when others had died. On my journey to find it, I met many other men, women and children just like me: mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers. We were all on a journey to figure out what that greatness was and could be."

Watch Rebecca's story here.  It's a wake-up call that underlines the need for educating our young people about sex trafficking and the lies and lures of traffickers.

Sue Ann
(Thanks to Becca for sharing information about Rebecca  Bender and RBI.)


Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit www.hope4justice.org/learnmore/ 


LEARN MORE
Shared Hope recently held their JuST Conference, an inspiring 3-day event featuring presentations and workshops about today's most pressing issues in the anti-trafficking field.  

For an amazing resource list of people and organizations involved in the fight against trafficking -- and a springboard from which to investigate more about a specific topic  Click here to access the conference schedule.  Be sure to scroll down to the speaker descriptions. 


TAKE ACTION
Hope4Justice challenges you to buy at least one fair trade item as a gift or for personal use this Christmas.  

Shop online at  Ten Thousand Villagesfor jewelry, tableware, journals, socks, home decor and more.  (Or shop in one of their stores at Roosevelt Court in SeattleAbbotsford, BC or Langley,