Be an "everyday abolitionist" by donating bras!

Some ladies in Whatcom County have started gathering new and gently used bras to send to Free the Girls, an international 501(c)(3) non-profit organization devoted to coming alongside sex trafficking survivors with a path to true freedom. 

Free the Girls says, "The surprising reality is that something simple like bras, can be a vehicle for freedom and hope! Bras are a common item in many households around the world. Many bras in good condition are left sitting in drawers. With our unique model, we allow everyday people to make an impact on a trafficking survivor's life!  By collecting bras across North America and other parts of the world, we can ship them to our programs in El Salvador, Mozambique, and Uganda, and the women in our program can sell them in the market to make a safe and sustainable income."

Free the Girls identifys people who support their ministry by the term "everyday abolitionists."  Their blog gives the example of Eileen, an employee in the intimates department of a major retailer in Indianapolis.  She says, “I am not a wealthy person by any means, but with my (employee) discounts added to a clearance price I can purchase things that help people."   

How about it?  Do you or women you know have unused bras taking up space in a drawer that could be donated to Free the Girls?  Would you be willing to ask two or three other women if they have bras to donate?  Bras may be sent directly to Free the Girls  (website: www.freethegirls.org) or you can bring them to the fall public meeting of Hope4Justice (meeting info below).

It's a great way to be an "everyday abolitionist!
SAH

(Note: When you donate,  Free the Girls asks that you include $1 per bra to cover the cost of international shipping.)

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


ON THE READING LIST

I Will Fly Again: The Restavek by Lili Dauphin

I Will Fly Again: The Restavek tells a unique and chilling tale of a young girl enslaved by her own family members. Amid the chaos and carnage, she’s compelled to find the mother she has never known. This poignant narrative produces a vivid document of the sad face of child slavery. Yet, it’s moving, sweet and uplifting.  (Information from Mirror Ministries website.)


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The next public meeting of Hope4Justice will be in the fall of 2018.  The specific date and information about meeting content will be included in this weekly email as far in advance as possible.

Banks fight trafficking: Tracking the financial "footprints" of traffickers

Freedomunited.org recently reported that "...banks are well-placed to be the “unexpected heroes” in the fight against human trafficking as they develop new technology to flag suspicious accounts and coordinate with law enforcement."

Sharing a 7/17/18 article from Fortune.com, Freedom United reports that traffickers ",,,rake in an estimated $150 billion in illegal profits. Their money has to go somewhere, and often it ends up in banks and financial institutions around the world." 

"By using banks, traffickers leave behind a slew of financial footprints. For example, traffickers may use so-called “funnel” accounts to transfer large sums of money quickly. In this scenario, money is deposited in an account and then quickly withdrawn from another location. Other red flags include credit card transactions late at night or very early in the morning, purchases on certain classified ad sites, and use of anonymous payment methods rather than personal checks.

Banks can program their systems to automatically flag such behavior. And if human reviewers ultimately confirm the patterns are suspicious, banks can alert law enforcement. Once specially trained investigators and police officers are armed with the financial clues, they can follow the money trail. And prosecutors can help build their cases with the available financial data."  (Read the full article here.)


Fighting trafficking can feel like an insurmountable challenge.  Yet, if anti-trafficking efforts like this are instituted in more sectors of society, I firmly believe this horrendous practice can be brought under control and even -- (dare I say it?) -- eradicated.

As it was in the days of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, it must be done.
SAH

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


ON THE READING LIST

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah

This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.

What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.

In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he’d been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.

This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty.   (Information from Mirror Ministries website.)

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TAKE ACTION

Are you traveling and staying in hotels this summer?  Ericka B.  contacted Hope4Justice this past week to remind us about using the "Traffick Cam" to help fight trafficking.  According totraffickcam.com, "TraffickCamenables you to help combat sex trafficking by uploading photos of the hotel rooms you stay in when you travel.

Traffickers regularly post photographs of their victims posed in hotel rooms. These photographs are evidence that can be used to find and prosecute the perpetrators of these crimes. In order to use these photos, however, investigators must be able to determine where the photos were taken.

The purpose of TraffickCam is to create a database of hotel room images that an investigator can efficiently search, in order to find other images that were taken in the same location as an image that is part of an investigation."

Thanks for sharing this information, Erika! 

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The next public meeting of Hope4Justice will be in the fall of 2018.  The specific date and information about meeting content will be included in this weekly email as far in advance as possible.

One person made the difference

An ice cream vendor in Dallas & a man on a train in India help stop trafficking

From Dallasnews.com comes this June 21, 2018 report of the shut down of a sex trafficking house due to one person helping a victim escape.  The article says, "The house on Morris Street looked like every other house on the block in West Dallas, except that its fortified doors and windows concealed a dark secret too prevalent in our society.  Then came news recently of a law enforcement bust and the secret spilled onto the street. The house was a hub  for sex slavery.

For about three years, women were locked up in the 672-square-foot home, drugged, raped, beaten and forced to perform sex acts for money. Cameras monitored their movements and one of the traffickers allegedly slept by the front door with a weapon to discourage escapes.  The courage of a passing ice cream vendor to aid one woman's flight to freedom finally shut down this house of horrors."

On the other side of the world, fightthenewdrug.org reports that "More than two dozen Indian girls are safe from human traffickers after a man alerted authorities with just a couple tweets.  According to recent reports, last week, an Indian man named Adarsh Shrivastava was traveling through the Northern Indian State of Uttar Pradesh last Thursday when he noticed a suspicious situation on his train: 25 girls, all between the ages of 10 and 14, appearing restless and nervous in his cabin.  So he did what he could, and tweeted out a call for help, tagging India’s railway authorities along with a few others in two tweets.

Less than a half-hour later, reports say the Ministry of Railways had alerted local rail authorities to the situation. After a few additional stops, plainclothes officers boarded the train and arrested two men and took the young girls into custody, according to a report from the Press Trust of India, citing railway officials."


I'm so glad these people got involved.  These reports should encourage all of us to pay attention and contact authorities when something is suspicious.  We never know when we might save someone from trafficking.  It could be today. 
SAH

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

 


LEARN MORE

If you happen to be going to Cincinnati...
 

Cincinnati may not be a vacation destination for many people (then again, perhaps it is!) but here's an exhibit to check out if you go there.  The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and particularly the modern-day slavery permanent exhibit, Invisible: Slavery Today is located in Cincinnati.  Learn more about it HERE.


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The next public meeting of Hope4Justice will be in the fall of 2018.  The specific date and information about meeting content will be included in this weekly email as far in advance as possible.

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ON THE READING LIST

Everyday Justice: The Global Impact of Our Daily Choices by Julie Clawson

For those who want to start making small changes to support justice and freedom. Julie Clawson takes us on a tour of everyday life and shows how our ordinary lifestyle choices have big implications for justice around the world. She unpacks how we get our food and clothing and shows us the surprising costs of consumer waste. How we live can make a difference not only for our own health but also for the well-being of people across the globe. The more sustainable our lifestyle, the more just our world will be. Everyday justice is one way of loving God and our neighbors. We can live more ethically, through the little and big decisions we make every day. Here’s how.  (Information from Mirror Ministries website.)

Engedi is in the business of 'lighting lamps'

Engedi Refuge MInistries held  a recognition ceremony yesterday.  It was an awesome celebration!

Residents were recognized with long-stemmed roses and the audience applauded their participation and/or completion of program phases.  A slide show highlighted activities of the past several months.  The "house mother" of the safe house spoke of the courage she saw in each of the residents and her love for each of the ladies was evident.  

And then a resident spoke.  She talked about how Engedi helps the ladies in many ways --  from learning practical life skills to navigating aspects of the social services system.  She touched our hearts as she explained how Engedi shows the unconditional love of Jesus to each resident -- each day, every day.  Encouraging them.  Lifting them up.  Going through the ups and downs with them.  Helping the ladies to see what REAL love looks like.  Pointing the way past surviving to thriving.  The resident explained that, "You light our lamps and show us how to shine."

And as tears flowed and hugs were shared, all of us in attendance knew that this is just the beginning of shining ever brighter.

Hope4Justice is honored to partner with Engedi Refuge Ministries.  May God continue to work through Engedi to pour out His love and redeem broken lives.  
SAH

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

Action step against trafficking:  Like Hope4Justice on Facebook!


THANK YOU JENNIFER

Many thanks to Jennifer, a new Hope4Justice volunteer.  She's been finding informative and interesting information to post on the Hope4Justice facebook page.  On 7/6/18 she posted vital information from the CNN Freedom Project titled, "7 Ways to Spot that Someone is Being Trafficked."  If you didn't see it on Facebook, you can click here to access it.

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The next public meeting of Hope4Justice will be in the fall of 2018.  The specific date and information about meeting content will be included in this weekly email as far in advance as possible.


ON THE READING LIST

Girl Soldier: A Story of Hope for Uganda’s Children by Faith J.H. McDonnell and Grace Akallo

A look into the life of a girl abducted by the LRA. Now pushed out of Uganda into South Sudan, the DRC, and the CAR, this brutal army of rebels has been raiding villages, kidnapping children and turning them into soldiers or wives of commanders for more than twenty years. This unforgettable book–with historical background and insights from Faith McDonnell, one of the clearest voices in the church today calling for freedom and justice–will inspire readers around the world to take notice, pray, and work to end this tragedy.  (Information from Mirror Ministries website.)

Remember the Zambian boys choir? They were trafficked.

Did you know that the Zambian boys choir -- those energetic boys with the angelic voices that gave concerts in the mid-1990's -- weren't the happy children they were portrayed to be?  A June 2018 article titled, "Stolen Youth: Modern Day Slavery in Texas," recounted the story of Given Kachepa, a Zambian orphan brought to America as a member of a touring choir sponsored by Keith Grimes, head of a non-profit called Teaching the Teachers: Partners in Education (TTT).  It says,  "When Given Kachepa first arrived from Zambia as a young boy, he expected to sing in a choir and gain an education. Instead he was forced into servitude."  

The article wasn't clear about the status of the older group but the younger of two groups brought from Zambia was trafficked: lied to, forced to perform on an exhausting schedule and used to make money for TTT.  Records show that the combined income from the two choirs was over $500,000 per year.  The young men had been told they would be educated, funds would be raised for a school in their hometown of Kalingalinga, and their family would be given $20 per month -- none of which actually happened.

For Given, the story turns out to have a happy ending.  After Keith Grimes died from a brain tumor in 1999 and TTT was investigated by both the FBI and the Dept. of Labor, Given and other choir members were able to leave the TTT compound in January 2000 and get in touch with INS agent, Sal Orrantia.  Today Given Kachepa is a dentist in Dallas, Texas.  The article says, "His dream now is to open a permanent clinic in Kalingalinga, a community that has never had regular dental care. He hopes to employ a local Zambian dentist, whom he would help train, and make regular trips back himself as well. “That’s the way I can give back to the disadvantaged people of the world. God brought me this far not to let me fail at the end of it.”

One of the amazing things about this story is how it happened in plain sight of thousands of people that were the audiences and homestay hosts for the young choir members.  "To this day, (Agent) Orrantia marvels at how openly TTT managed to conscript the boys. “Even now, it’s hard to imagine that this was a group in plain view. Most labor traffickers keep it under wraps, but these folks were blatant,” he said. “People call it human trafficking now, but at the end of the day it’s slavery.”

Can trafficking happen here?  Yes.  And though much of the time it's hidden from view, it can and does happen right under our noses -- in plain sight.
SAH


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


GET INVOLVED
What would be on an anti-trafficking billboard?  Where would it go?  How would it's effectiveness be measured?  If you're interested in working with others on this project, contact Karen at karen@hope4justice.org to discuss details.


JOIN US
The next public meeting of Hope4Justice will be in the fall of 2018.  The specific date and information about meeting content will be included in this weekly email as far in advance as possible.


ON THE READING LIST

Not For Sale by David Batstone

An excellent look at human trafficking around the world. Award-winning journalist David Batstone, whom Bono calls “a heroic character,” profiles the new generation of abolitionists who are leading the movement against human trafficking. This groundbreaking global report is now updated with the latest findings, new stories, and statistics that highlight what is being done to end this appalling epidemic, and how you can join the movement.  (Information from Mirror Ministries website.)