Blog powered by TypePad
Member since 08/2006


22 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

April 01, 2010

Help Wanted - Stop Child Sex Trafficking

On Monday I'm heading to Russia and Moldova with a few great friends: Anne JacksonBrad Riley, Pres of Iempathize, and the photo/video guru, Simon Scionka. Why? Because we're sick of the evils forced on young girls who are being lured and kidnapped in the sex-trade industry.

Moldova has the highest rate of sex-trafficked women in the world - over 20%. Did you hear that? How would you feel if 20% of the girls and orphans in your neighborhood simply disappeared forever and were forced to have sex with 20 men a day? What does God have to say about this?

We will be blogging every day we can and what I'm asking you is this - Please pick up our stories. Repost them, twitter them, use the videos, talk about these issues on Facebook, at your church, in your small group, wherever you are connecting with others. 

Our goal is to find great partners on the ground and begin funding safe houses for girls in Moldova who have been rescued. In Russia, HopeChest has phenomenal programs that keep girls who come out of orphanages from ending up in these predicaments. We'll visit those places and introduce you to the girls who are being helped. We will also be talking about simple ways every single one of you can be involved in these issues and make a difference. We can eliminate this horror one life at a time. More to come, your prayers are greatly appreciated. Watch this video and join us. 

December 10, 2009

This Will Change Everything in the Publishing Industry

This is one of the coolest inventions I've seen in a long time. Not only is it cool, it will revolutionize the way we read and absorb digital content. Michael Hyatt posted this on his blog today, and he believes it will make the traditional, published book obsolete. I would encourage you to jump over to his blog and read what he says. Watch this video, then tell me what you think. One this is for sure, the developments of technology will bring us to the shores of worlds we've never experienced.

June 06, 2008

The Child Sex-Slave Industry

I've just started working on my next novel titled, Sacred. This plot of this book is centered around the child sex-slave industry. In my research, I've discovered that this is a mammoth problem and that young children are sold as sex-slaves right here in our own county. This is a 43 billion dollar a year industry. In this evil world there is nothing more profitable than selling a human body.

Not only is this something we should do something about, we can do something to make a difference. I'm clad that Children's HopeChest focuses on prevention - helping children have choices and opportunities before they disappear into this abyss. Here's an article telling the story of a 9 year old girl who was rescued from this demonic industry. I'll continue to share real stories about this issue as I continue to write.

Indepentdent Catholic News:
"Joanna, 15, sat in the dim restaurant weeping and crying, her shoulders shook, she dabbed her eyes to wipe away the flowing tears with tissues. Were they tears of joy at being rescued from her cruel and vicious captors or was it emotional release of pent up fear and stress that she endured in the dark room at the back of a sex bar in Angeles City, Philippines. She sobbed out her story, it was her time and place, late at night and no one there. They took me from my home in Samar, gave a down payment to my mother and promised me a good job. I was never paid as a hotel cleaner and when I went to the manager he raped me. She cried all the louder at the terrifying memory as she tried to fight him off but was overpowered. Then she was thrown out to work in the sex bar, forced into cubicles to do sexual acts on obese foreign sex tourists that queued up to get the sexual gratification by a child young enough to be their grand daughter. That lasted until we had a tip off and went to the rescue and paid her bar fine, the price of freedom to get her out to safety. Joanna is now a college graduate and working as a social worker. She recovered but only barely and could have died of sickness and disease.

The recruitment and selling of human persons into slave like conditions has become the third biggest illegal trade in the world after drugs and illegal arms sales. According to the Council of Europe, it has an annual market of $43 billion of women and children and most of the young women are forced into prostitution, over a million, it is estimated, are children. In my experience I found the younger to be 9 year old. Human trafficking of children is a crime against humanity as a form of enslavement. According to the Rome statute of International Criminal Court which celebrates its 15th anniversary this May. Article 7(2) (c) of the statute recognizes that children as a special group are in grave danger of this horrific crime of trafficking because it involves the domination and the power of ownership over the child. Millions of children have been victims of unimaginable atrocities that deeply shock the conscience of humanity, the statue declares. The purveyors of genocide and ethnic cleansing and other unspeakable crimes must be made understand that as surely as the sun rises, they will be called to account - and that impunity will not stand.'' Carol Bellamy, of Unicef said making it clear the purpose of the International Criminal Court

And yet thousands of young women and children are sold into slavery every month all over the world. The rich development nations are the source of demand and pay the higher prices for the trafficked persons. In the UK there are as many as 5000 trafficked women in the sex slave trade today. Private charities put the figure much higher. Police say they are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. Earlier this month in Southampton, the Guild Hall was filled with an audience wanting to know more as they watched the Preda Akbay youth theatre group from the Philippines present their musical drama "Once there was a dream telling the awful truth of the pain and exploitation of trafficked children .The production that played to full houses was supported by the Medaille Trust, a catholic charity funded by religious and other church groups fighting to end trafficking in the UK and help the victims.

What is so appalling is the impunity that goes with these crimes. In Asian countries, like the Philippines, local politicians, and foreigner criminals run the sex industry. They are above the law and the corruption reaches to the highest level of political and economic power. That is why the government has only been able to get ten convictions in the last several years. These traffickers at the highest level must be held accountable and made to pay the price for destroying the lives for countless women and children. They ought to be brought to justice at the International Criminal Court."

March 17, 2008

Prostitute in Eliot Spitzer Case Victim of Fatherless Home

It's a story we've heard too many times. A broken home that's abusive and a fatherless kid gone wild as she tries to find herself in a world filled with pain and disappointment. In my mind there are at least two very disturbing issues surrounding the former Governor of New York. One, this girl is old enough to be his daughter, and two, Elliot Spitzer is part of the billion dollar sex industry that exploits and abuses orphans, the fatherless, and the oppressed. And he was supposed to be the watch-dog protecting young girls like this? Sickening. Read the article from the Children's Rights Council

Governor Spitzer's resignation and public disgrace demonstrates two kinds of stress commonly ignored in this high pressure world of electoral politics.

1. The young woman Kristen, an aspiring singer who turned to prostitution and became the provider of services for "Client #9", comes from a broken home. She has never known her father, and her mother and stepfather have been verbally and possibly physically assaultive. She considers herself to have been an abused child.

"What happened to Kristen", said David L. Levy, an attorney and head of the Children's Rights Council, a 23-year-old non-profit organization, and Dr. Rona Fields, a psychologist and CRC spokesperson. "is all too frequently the biography of prostitutes, drug addicts and dealers and alcoholics".

Good Parenting is not an accident. "While parents who do not get along with each other have good reason to get divorced, the children of divorce need contact with both parents unless one or them is abusive and/or kidnaps the child."

They add: "More than 80 percent of convicted felons were raised without a father." When a child is raised in a situation of abuse and argumentation, the children have two strikes against them.

Fields and Levy point out that "When courts dissolve marriages there is even more reason to provide parent education for both parents and develop a modus vivendi that allows the child or children of the marriage to know and be loved by both parents."

2. The stress imposed on candidates like Gov. Spitzer can and often do lead to addictive disorders that become public scandals.

Often these are appropriately treated through intensive residential therapy followed by out-patient care. Most current health insurance programs do not provide this for ordinary people, although the Congressional system does provide these benefits for members of Congress. The current Mental health parity bill passed by the Senate and the House is currently in committee and needs to be enacted this year.

March 04, 2008

Clinic in Las Vegas May Have Infected 40,000 with HIV, Hepatitis

You hear about the thousands that are infected every day in places like Africa, India and Asia. But something this catastrophic right here in the United States? Read this article the go to then Special Guests page to see how TV and radio affiliates are interacting with my book, Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds on this issue.

LOS ANGELES — The city of Las Vegas has shut down a clinic where up to 40,000 people may have been exposed to hepatitis C and the HIV virus through the reuse of syringes and vials, officials said on Sunday.

The clinic at the heart of the scandal, the Endoscopy Center of Southern Nevada, "was served with an emergency suspension of its business license," city authorities said in a statement.

Officials are asking about 40,000 people to be tested for hepatitis B and C and HIV because of unsafe medical practices at the clinic.

Health authorities launched an investigation into the clinic after six former patients were diagnosed with hepatitis. Nurses at the clinic were told "to reuse syringes when administering anesthesia" and "to reuse vials of medication," the city said, citing a probe by public health agencies.

The local prosecutors' office said it was closely examining the case and raised the possibility of filing charges against the center.

"It won't happen tomorrow or the next day, but we are taking a hard, fast look at all the facts in the case," District Attorney David Roger told KLAS-TV.

Some former patients had contacted lawyers for a possible class action suit against the clinic, local media reported. Fox News article found here

December 10, 2007

Church Shooting in Colorado

Of course we are all saddened by the events of this weekend. Many of our close friends were at the church when this occurred. Around 1:00 pm on Sunday, a lone shooter fired shots in the New Life Church parking lot. He then proceeded into the foyer where he was gunned down by a female security guard. Two sisters have died, Stephanie Works (18) and Rachael Works (16). Their father, David, has survived the attack. Please pray for this dear family as well as our city. This is a rough time.

Click here to read the local news story.

"One family is bearing the brunt of grief in Sunday's shooting at New Life Church. The two victims who died after being shot were teenaged sisters, Stephanie Works, 18, and Rachael Works, 16. In addition, David Works, 51, suffered gunshot wounds to the abdomen and groin.  He is in fair condition at Penrose Hospital.  The two remaining victims have been treated and released.  They are Judy Purcell and Larry Bourbannais."

November 14, 2007

Canadian Police Kill Polish Immigrant with Stun Gun

You have to watch this to believe it. The man does nothing to deserve this.
Video footage has been released in Canada showing the last moments of an immigrant who died after being stunned with a Taser by police.

Robert Dziekanski, 40, of Pieszyce, Poland, was restrained by police after becoming agitated at Vancouver International Airport on 14 October.

Mr Dziekanski, who spoke no English, was declared dead at the scene by an emergency medical team.

Click here to read the article and see the video.

October 25, 2007

Burma Struggles to Breathe

Thanks to my partner in crime, Seth Barnes, President of AIM for this post. This is a follow-up to a post I did on Burma you can read by clicking here.

One of our World Racer's, Stephanie Fisk, wrote about ethnic cleansing in Burma.
Myanmar (previously Burma) has been under attack since the seventies - by their own government. And it's not getting any better. Imagine the Mexico/USA frontier; move it to Asia and place it between Myanmar and Thailand. Compared to Myanmar, Thailand appears to be a wealthy country. Just like Mexicans, people from Myanmar are seeking a "better life"; the difference - they are seeking refuge from persecution.

You know those times when your ignorance shines so brightly that it blinds you to the truth even when you are looking it in the eyes. Yes, I know that Myanmar is very poor and a closed country to the Gospel; but I had no idea the extent of persecution taking place within its borders. Just like the Jews during WWII (ethnic cleansing) and Christians in southern Sudan (religious persecution), the Karen people are being persecuted because they are Karen…and many happen to be Christian. Their very own government is trying to wipe out the "inferior" race and attempting to suffocate the Christian church.

Imagine 50,000 refugees trying to live a "normal" life inside the confinements of a camp. Yes, the walls are meant to protect, but from the perspective of many living inside - they are seen as a prison sentence. It is rare to leave these confinements - years spent inside "your community."

The day after we visited Myanmar, we were able to visit one of the refugee camps on the Thailand border. The camp has been established for around 17 years. People continue to come daily, and the camp has expanded now to three different zones to accommodate the influx of people. While inside the camp, the government only allowed us to visit the school.

I imagine that this camp initially started off as a temporary solution to an immediate need, but over the years has evolved into a living, breathing community. At least on the surface level people appear content: women washing clothes in the stream, kids playing by the water, students learning.

Yes, the Burmese (Myanmar people) are grateful for this place of refuge, but above all, their eyes are set on returning home. They want to grow up on their own land, farm their own land - feel like they belong. They are tired of receiving UN food rations; they are ready to "go fishing for themselves."

Acute brain drain is another issue that, because of my American perspective, I totally overlooked. Replacement of Burmese refugees to the UK or America is draining Myanmar of the very individuals needed to restore their country. I guess we (America) like to accept those that show potential and will not be a drain to our economy - thus we eagerly receive those with an education and those that can make a life for themselves in America. But what happens to those in dire need: the widows, the handicapped, the orphaned? They remain in the refugee camp. I know that we are only trying to help, but a very real concern for many Burmese is that we are draining them of the very people that could turn their lives and country back around for the positive.

"We just need to go to the root of the problem and stop it there," exclaimed Wado, a 31 year-old Burmese man who has been living in the camp for 15 years. "Go to the government. If we can somehow remove or change those in leadership positions, I believe everything else will talk care of itself. We will be able to go back home, and I will be able to see my family again."

He believes in God. But the tone of his voice insinuates that time, frustrations and life have left him with more cries for help "unanswered" than "answered."

October 04, 2007

Join International Bloggers Day for Burma

Join International Bloggers Day for Burma now! Thanks to Mike Todd for writing a great article on this and waking us up to this crisis.

October 02, 2007

Extreme Poverty in Myanmar

Myanmars_children_3We have to declare a war on Poverty. "Stupid poverty" as Bono calls it. I couldn't agree more. 25% of Myanmar's children don't live to the age of 5. 132,000 children there under 5 die every year because of preventable diseases. Ridiculous. There's a group of people out there who will be champions and eliminate this kind of 'stupid poverty.' Where are you? Our generation is the one who will help to eradicate senseless death in these places. As my friend  Gary Black who's living in Africa says, Who has the key to Myanmar, to Swaziland, to India, Russia, Uganda, Mozambique? I know you're out there, put it in the lock, and set a nation free. Read the whole article here.