She forgave her family even though they had trafficked her

A story of trafficking, forgiveness, and redemption recently showed up in my Facebook feed.  Three Times Sold is the biography of Sioni Rodriguez.  The summary on Amazon says, "Sioni was born in Mumbai, India in 1970, and moved with her family to Costa Rica when she was five years old. Raised in poverty under unthinkable conditions, she might have been lost to a life of pain and abuse. This was almost guaranteed when, as a young girl, she was sold into bondage—a young victim of human trafficking. Instead, she escaped and created a new life for herself. It wasn’t easy. She worked hard and overcame the troubles that threatened to crush her. She learned how to cope with her mother’s failures. She eventually became a citizen of the United States, married and built a loving and close family of her own. She has dedicated her life now to sharing her faith with others who have been abused as she was. Sioni speaks at churches and conferences to raise awareness of human trafficking, both around the world and in the United States."

The Facebook post from penews.org (an online publication of the Assemblies of God) explains how and why Sioni  learned to cope and overcome.  It says she "Knew that God had forgiven her so much that now it was her turn to forgive in order to be right in His eyes."  And so she did  -- forgiving all in her family that had abused and trafficked her.

Sioni found that "God was providing emotional healing and restoration in her life, and a blessing seemed to be placed upon their family. She now works with a ministry called A Time to Heal Beyond Survival International Ministries, founded by AG minister Sue Willis, that assists victims of rape, sexual abuse/assault, or sex trafficking."  She also is using her book, Three Times Sold, and various speaking opportunities "..to minister love and hope into lives of victims of abuse."

Scott Carver, Sioni's pastor says, “She is so grateful and so passionate about what she does because she recognizes the goodness of God compared to what her life could have been, and that’s what makes her story so amazing.”

Amazing!  But then God is in the business of doing amazing things in this fallen and broken world. 
Sue Ann

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

LEARN MORE

Day 6 of Dana P's blog about volunteering in Cambodia with AIM (Agape International Missions) discusses bride trafficking and organ trafficking. (Read the details HERE.)

Her thoughtful conclusion states: "I worry about stupid American problems that - at the time are overwhelming - but that are selfish a lot of the time. But due to the reality of what goes on. I should keep my mind in perspective of what really matters." 


HAPPENINGS INJOIN US

The next Hope4Justice quarterly public meeting will be on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 from 7-9:00 pm.   It will be a film night featuring, "The Abolitionists." (Note extended time due to length of movie.) 

Location: Engedi Refuge Counseling Center, 7370 Guide Meridian, Lynden, WA 98264. .  Put it on your calendar now!

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


WHATCOM COUNTY

You are invited to the  Engedi Refuge 2018 Annual Gala:"Restoring Hope"  

When:  Saturday, March 10, 2018        
Where: Four Points by Sheraton, 714 Lakeway Dr., Bellingham, WA.  Registration opens at 5:30; Dinner begins at6:30
Cost: Single ticket: $55; Sponsorship for table of 10: $600
Click HERE  to purchase tickets

How busy people can fight trafficking

At a Hope4Justice presentation yesterday, we gave information and encouraged people to get involved in the fight.  We wrapped up with a list of things busy people could do -- involving little time or money -- to make a difference.

Here are some suggestions to weave anti-trafficking efforts into your life:

  • Put a weekly recurring reminder in your phone calendar to take action against trafficking.
  • Are you a member of a book club?  Next time your group picks a book, make it one about trafficking.  Made in the USA: The Sex Trafficking of America's Children by Alisa Jordheim is one suggestion.
  • Do you hold an annual garage sale?  At the next one you might earmark a percentage of funds raised to donate to an organization fighting trafficking.
  • Would you like to help Engedi?  Make a choice to forego just one of your Woods or Starbucks coffees each week then use the money to pick up an item to donate to their safe house.  Visit the Engedi website for a list of suggested items.
  • Wear your Hope4Justice t-shirt!  It's sure to start a conversation about trafficking and how to fight it!  Don't have a Hope4Justice t-shirt?  If you're on our weekly email list, contact us at info@hope4justice.org  for a free t-shirt (while supplies last).

Everyone -- even busy people -- can do something to fight trafficking. And a lot of small efforts add up to make a BIG difference.  (For an example, see info on Dressember below.)

Do you have anti-trafficking ideas to share?  I'd love to hear them!  Email me at info@hope4justice.org.  
Sue Ann


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


LEARN MORE

Have you been reading Dana's blog about going to Cambodia to volunteer with AIM?  We've featured or given links to Days 1-4 in previous emails. Day 5 of her blog is another raw and real look into her experiences, shattering my heart for the vulnerable and exploited persons living there. Read the post for day 5 HERE.  It's not an easy read but as Dana says in the conclusion to her blog: "Cry if you have to.  But please don't turn away. But please stay and fight. We need you."
JOIN US
The next Hope4Justice quarterly public meeting will be on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 from 7-8:30 pm.  It will be a film night featuring the movie, "The Abolitionists.  Location to be determined.  Put it on your calendar now and watch for details in future weekly emails. 
 

TAKE ACTION

Here's a final update on theDressember effort to raise funds for anti-trafficking.  Dressemberparticipant Karen M. shares the following information:


Dressember 2017 raised over $1,993,000!  These funds will be used to fund grants focusing on the following three targets:

With average Dressember participants raising around $200, that means A LOT OF PEOPLE DID THEIR PART to reach almost $2,000,000 total!

Update about SESTA: Another step of progress in Washington DC!

Progress in Washington DC seems to move at a snails pace but at least it's continuing to move in the right direction concerning the proposed Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA).

In our emails last fall, Hope4Justice featured articles about proposed legislation, known as the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act or SESTA, to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which allowed companies like Backpage.com to escape responsibility for sex trafficking of children on their website.  This week, we're sharing what Senator Rob Portman's weekly report to constituents says about SESTA.  Titled "Rob's Rundown," it says, "In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) urged action on his bipartisan Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act, legislation designed to ensure justice for victims of sex trafficking and ensure that websites such as Backpage.com, which knowingly facilitate sex trafficking, can be held liable and brought to justice. The bill, which now has more than 60 cosponsors, is supported by victims and advocates, anti-human trafficking leaders and law enforcement50 Attorneys General, the civil rights communityfaith-based groups, the larger tech community, and courts and judges who have made clear that it is Congress’ responsibility to act to protect sex trafficking victims. Said Portman in his speech, “It’s not an issue of politics or partisanship, it’s about preventing exploitation and providing justice.” (Transcript of the video can be found here and a link can be found here.)

Passing the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficker's Act will be an important victory in the battle against trafficking of minors.  Let's pray for this law to pass soon.
Sue Ann

Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit www.hope4justice.org/learnmore/ 
LEARN MORE
Not all of us can travel to a foreign country to volunteer with an organization combating trafficking.  We can, however, learn from those who are able to make the trip.  Dana P's daily accounts of her trip to Cambodia to volunteer with Agape International Missions (AIM) are eye opening and heart wrenching, as they describe the situations Dana encountered.  Click here to read Day Three of Dana's blog about how America's actions influenced trafficking in Cambodia.  Click here to read Day Four and get a glimpse into the fate of the children living in Svay Pak as well as how Dana's hotel dealt with sex trafficking.
TAKE ACTION
Help out THIS WEEK! Volunteers are needed to help set up, serve, and clean up dinner for Rebound families attending the ROOTS program.
When: Thursday, 1/18/18; from5-7 pm
Where: CTK Bellingham
Sign up withBob@hope4justice.org to confirm your participation
TAKE ACTION
YOU ARE AWESOME!  YOU took action!  Thank you so much for supporting Karen from Hope4Justice in her fundraising and awareness efforts for "Dressember."  She raised over $400!

More steps to take during National Trafficking Month

Last week's Hope4Justice email suggested actions to take on January 11, 2018(National Human Trafficking Day) and throughout the month of January (National Human Trafficking month).  Here are a few more ideas to check out:

  • If you haven't already, click HERE to take the Slavery Footprint Quiz and have a friend/spouse/child/significant other/co-worker take it too.  It's an eye-opener!
  • Print out and follow the daily prayer calendar to end trafficking from Sister of St. Joseph of Orange.  (Thanks to Kathy C. for sharing this resource.)
  • Attend the Hope4Justice presentation at the Everson Library on Saturday, January 20, 2018; 3 pm.
  • Buy a fair trade food item: chocolate bar, coffee, nuts, and much more.  Just check the labels when you're in the grocery store.  FYI - Lots of options are available at the Community Co-op!

Take a step (or two) to increase awareness of human trafficking during National Human Trafficking month.  Together we make a difference!
Sue Ann

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


LEARN MORE

Read Day 2 of Dana P's blog about her and her husband's trip to Cambodia to volunteer with AIM (Agape International Missions).  Dana's encounter with the suffering and poverty of the people of Cambodia will touch your heart.
 

JOIN US
The next Hope4Justice quarterly public meeting will be on Tuesday, February 20, 2018 from 7-8:30 pm.  It will be a film night featuring the movie, "The Abolitionists.  Location to be determined.  Put it on your calendar now and watch for details in future weekly emails. 

TAKE ACTION
Another chance to serve a meal to Rebound families:
 What: Set up, serve and clean up dinner for children and families attending the Rebound Roots program
When: Thursday, 1/18/18; from5-7 pm
Where: CTK Bellingham
Sign up withBob@hope4justice.org to confirm your participation

The Dressember campaignsays, "It wasn't over, it still isn't over!"  A recent email from them says, "Dressember as a style challenge has come to an end but the work is not done,  We are continuing to raise funds and awareness all month long in recognition of Human Trafficking Awareness Month."

Click HERE to donate to Dressember on behalf of Hope4Justice member, Karen M.