May 18, 2010

Single Ladies and Exploiting Little Girls

Happy Tuesday! This week you'll have the chance to win a copy of Priceless before it hits the streets. This will start with tomorrow post so make sure you're signed up for my blog through the RSS feed or by entering you're email on the right. 

Here's a follow up to yesterday's post. Thanks to my Facebook friend, Jennifer Harris, for the heads up on this. ABC news did an interview with some of the parents of the 7-9 year old girls dancing provocatively to Beyonce's song, single ladies. If this is what parenting in America has come down to, we are in trouble. What do you think of their views regarding their children? 

May 17, 2010

The Exploitation of Children in our Culture

When this video came on, I was sick to my stomach. I'm not sure if it was watching the video that made me sick, or hearing the roaring crown in the background - perhaps both. Something has gone dreadfully wrong when we subject seven year old girls to what you're about to see. Yes, you heard right - seven years old. What does this say about the parents of these kids? 

Our culture is over sexed and will has no standards regarding what it will exploit. When this becomes entertainment, we have lost our innocence. These kids have certainly lost theirs. Every culture today claims, in theory, to place the highest value on its love for its children. What does this video say about that value? 

God help us. 

I found this on the Stop Child Trafficking Now Facebook page.

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May 14, 2010

What's In Your ____? My Article in Relevant Magazine

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Like me, you might wake up some days and think, “I’m going to do better at ________________.” Perhaps your [blank] is something like personal spiritual disciplines. Or maybe it’s a secret sin you’re facing. Or the way you spend money. Truth is, we all have those blanks—the things we want to change or “do better.”


Unfortunately, the blanks of our lives often control us more than we’re able to master them. This can be incredibly frustrating and, in some cases, deeply depressing. We curse ourselves and shout at God: Why can’t I pull this off!?

Our world is full of blanks. Christ’s followers should do better at:
•  Stopping the genocide in Darfur
•  Ending extreme poverty and hunger
•  Caring for people infected with HIV/AIDS
•  Eradicating malaria
•  Preventing the human trafficking of young girls as sex slaves

You won’t solve your problems by thinking about them and hoping they get better. You change the world by choosing to live into new ways of thinking.

I’ve developed a five-step way to put action to your thoughts and “fill in the blanks” in your own life.

Click here for the link to the entire article in Relevant

May 13, 2010

Adoptions are in a 40% Decline

With 150 million orphans in the world, we should be seeing a dramatic increase in the number of orphans who are adopted every year in the United States. But sadly, the opposite is true. Adoptions have been decreasing every year since 2004.

A new article in the May edition of Christianity Today says this, "Since 2004, these and other restrictions have resulted in a 40 percent decline in overseas adoptions by Americans—from an all-time high of almost 23,000 in 2004 to fewer than 12,800 in 2009, according to the U.S. State Department."

Although there are some incredible people who understand God's heart for adoption, they are still the minority when it comes to this issue. If 7% of those claiming to be Christians adopted one child, all 150 million orphans would have homes. 

Second, the battle continues to rage over the lives of orphans around the world. Make no mistake about it, "our enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour," I Peter 5:8. Orphans are easy targets. 

My friend Jedd Medefind from The Christian Alliance for Orphans had this to say, "The drop in international adoptions since 2004 does not signal a stagnating willingness among American families to adopt overseas, and he argues that evangelicals in particular have increased interest."

I would say this is absolutely true. With almost 1,500 people at Summit VI in Minneapolis April 29 & 30, people are more passionate than every about adoption and orphan care. 

The reality is that we still have a lot to do. Orphans are worth the fight. We have to press through government regulations, fear, and spiritual warfare to care for the least of these. This is God's heart and it should be the heart of every Christian. 

"A Father to the Fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families." Psalm 68:5,6

May 12, 2010

IEmpathize Video from Mexico City

My buddy, Brad Riley of IEmpathize, is in Mexico City right now. If you remember, Brad was with me in Moldova and Russia during our last trip. He'll be involved with the Mexican equivalent of the FBI, doing some brother raids and rescuing girls who have been trafficked. Watch this video and pray for him as you think of it.

Mexico City Update 3 from Brad Riley on Vimeo.

American, Wake Up - Trafficking is in Your Backyard

Ohio's Dirty Little Secret. My friend, Larry Bergeron of A Child's Hope International, sent me an article about blatant sex trafficking that occurs throughout Ohio. I was completely shocked to find out that Ohio doesn't even have a state law to make trafficking a felony! So much of this is combatted at the governmental levels. No law equals no prosecutions which gives traffickers the freedom and boldness to continue their evils. This was the same issue in Moldova. When I asked the government officials how many sex traffickers they had prosecuted, the answer was zero.

Ohio, you better get on the phone and bombard your Senators and Representatives about this issue. They must make trafficking a felony. Senate Bill 235 is in committee right now. This is an outrage. We should all be deeply disturbed by this:


It's illegal, but some say state lawmakers aren't doing enough to stop it.

"You may think this is all about prostitution and sex.

Surprisingly, we found people, many times children, are not only being forced to become sex slaves, but also forced into slave labor.

And, it could be happening right in your own backyard.

Ohio is often referred to as the Midwest with cornfields and solid family values.

However, the Buckeye State's image of good old fashion values has been shattered by a new report from the Trafficking In Persons Study Commission.

"It's a $44 billion a year industry. It's the second largest in a criminal enterprise in the world and the fastest growing and we don't even have a state law making it a felony," explained Debbie Porter of End Slavery Cincinnati.

Porter spent a day in Columbus in April urging state lawmakers to pass a law that will make trafficking in persons a felony offense.

"He drugged me, which I didn't know, and raped me," said Theresa Flores of Columbus. That is how Flores says her nightmare began when she was 15-years-old living in a Detroit suburb.

She says a student from her school raped her and had his cousins take pictures of the crime.

Flores says she was then blackmailed over the next two years and forced to have sex with men, with the promise that she would get the pictures back. She says they also threatened to kill her family if she didn't cooperate.

"Being locked away for person after person after person to come in until they decided to take me home," said Flores.

Flores, who now runs a shelter for child sex victims outside Columbus, went public with her story to bring more attention to human trafficking.

Jessica Donohue-Dioh with End Slavery Cincinnati says as shocking as Theresa's story is...it is not an isolated case.

"Several of the cases that we've had come up in Cincinnati have been forced labor cases. In a couple of the cases, they were recruited from other countries and brought to the U.S. on the grounds that they were going to have a wonderful opportunity here to build their life and have employment," Donohue-Dioh explained.

Donohue-Dioh says with few laws in Ohio to punish human traffickers, many are setting up shop in the state.

"They were put into housing with sometime over 15 people in a house and being charged things like $100 or $150 a week in rent. Well, they weren't being given enough work to earn enough to pay even just the weekly rent. So, what ended up happening is that they ended up being in debt bondage," added Donohue-Dioh.

Senate Bill 235 would make human trafficking a felony in the State of Ohio.

However, State Senator, Bill Seitz, from the 8th District, says he wants to be careful that the legislation doesn't target the wrong people.

"We want to target this legislation at the people we're really concerned about. The head of the tapeworm, the pimps, the organized rings of pimps who are forcing young women into these degrading activities. We want to get them, but we don't want to cast the net so wide that now we have our jails full of those who are at the bottom of the chain, those who patronize these prostitutes."

End Slavery Cincinnati says if you suspect someone is a victim of human trafficking, you can make an anonymous call to a national hotline.

The number is 1(888)373-7888.

In the meantime, Senate Bill 235 is still in committee at the Ohio Statehouse.

Senator Seitz says he would like to see the legislation passed by the end of the year.

If you would like to learn more about former sex-slave Theresa Flores and her story, you can read her book "Slave Across The Street". Click here to view the original channel 9 article.  

May 11, 2010

An Adopted Woman Helps to Stop Sex Trafficking

I've become good friends with Nicole Wick over the past few years. She's part of the tight circle of folks I've become close to through blogging. What a world we live in! 

She was adopted from an orphanage in Saigon a week before Vietnam fell. You can read about her story by clicking here . Had she not been adopted, she could have been one of the many orphans left behind who were forced to enter the sex trade. When I went to Moldova, she was so moved by the stories of the girls we were telling. So she's doing something about it. Nicole is using her 35th anniversary of adoption to make a difference in other girls lives. 

This is more than a story about someone who has a heart for orphans an sex trafficking. It's a story about a normal woman doing great things to make a difference in the lives of needy, desperate girls rescued from trafficking. It's proof that any one of us can change the lives of others when we act. 

I'm asking everyone to go to Nicole's blogread her story, and join her.

Thanks all. You're the best online community ever! I mean that. Together, we raised over $150,000 last year for causes just like this! 

May 10, 2010

A Sex Crazed Culture at the World Cup

There are a lot of things heading to South Africa for the World Cup this summer. For starters, I'll be going with my two boys and 21 other people. We'll be doing ministry in Johannesburg and Capetown and catching a few games while we're at it. I'll also be live blogging and uploading pictures and video for you to see. I have no idea what to expect because I've never been to anything quite like this. 

But this is what will shock you: THERE ARE ALSO 1 BILLION CONDOMS heading to South Africa. When I saw that number I couldn't believe it. Really?! Is humanity that sex crazed?! Everyone is planning on making big money from everyone's sexual appetite; taxi drivers, pimps, strip clubs, hotel concierge's, sauna's, message parlors. And all of this in an area that has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world. 

The result? Aborted fetuses, orphaned babies, boys and girls sex trafficked and forced to serve 40-60 clients a day, violence, abuse, and a ton of HIV spread for these folks to take home with them and infect others. This is absolutely heartbreaking. The world is in desperate need of a Savior. 

CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- South Africa and the World Cup: 1 Billion Condoms and 40,000 Workers. The taxi drivers hustling around the bars on Long Street in Cape Town say they are ready for all the soccer fans that will flood the city in June for the World Cup. So are hotels, restaurants, breweries and, inevitably, prostitutes.

Arguably, the soccer World Cup is to the sex industry what the holiday season is to candy shops. A temporary surge of excited people feeling collectively festive, willing to pay for a bit of extra indulgence.

South Africa's Drug Central Authority estimates 40,000 sex workers will trickle in for the event from as far as Russia, the Congo and Nigeria to cater to the wide taste spectrum of some 400,000, mostly male, visitors and their apres-soccer needs.

Henry Africa, 49, drives a taxi in Cape Town and, aside from the usual airport pickups and winery tours, he also operates the "Bright Red Tour," which he expects to be a hit among soccer fans. For the equivalent of 500 dollars, he'll shuttle customers from strip bar to strip bar all night and even bring them over to a safe-sex practicing prostitute, a relevant selling point in a country where one in five adults are estimated to be HIV positive.

Over the years as a cabbie, he says he has seen it all: men hoping to try sex with someone HIV-positive, men getting drugged, beat up and robbed because they thought they could find what they needed on their own. Read the rest of the article here, from the Huffington Post.

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May 07, 2010

Surprised by Hope

Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church

It's Friday and we're about to start board meetings here at Children's HopeChest, so off to the races! I have a great book recommendation for you this week. It's by a theologian I quite respect. Read this book. It will challenge your walk and force you to focus on deeper spiritual issues. Here's a breakdown:

In Surprised by Hope, N.T. Wright focuses on three things that are important to your faith:

1. Taking a look at Christianity's understanding of life after death and grounding it sound theology.

2. A huge focus on his views of eschatology (the end of all things and the destiny of man) that come from his many writings on the Resurrection of Jesus.

3. He talks about what it looks like for a Christian to live on this earth by giving their lives to evangelism, spirituality, and social justice. I like this part!

This is definitely a book that will force you to think. Sometimes we need to escape and read a good fiction book and sometimes we need to pick up something that causes us to wrestle with theology. Happy wrestling. 

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May 06, 2010

How God Feels About Justice

When I was on the junior high football team I had a bad habit of spearing running backs with my helmet. I'd run as fast as I could and head my opponent like a raging bull. There was a problem. I was only about 100 pounds soaking wet. At the same age, my 13 year old is 160. At any rate, one day I decided to pick on a rather large running back weighing in about 175. Centrifugal force was not in my favor. The next thing I knew, the coach had put some ammonia based smelling salts under my nose and I came to. Never had I seen things so clearly. My eyes were dilated so everything was bright, my mind was sharp, and I was violently cast out of a dark sleep. 

Sometimes God speaks in scripture the same way about what is important to Him. I thought this verse from the Message Bible was apropos regarding our last few conversations regarding sex trafficking, Craigslist, and how we approach it. It's also important in lieu of the fact that today is the National Day of Prayer:

Amos 5:21-25

"I can't stand your religious meetings. 

I'm fed up with your conferences and conventions.

I want nothing to do with your religion projects, 
   your pretentious slogans and goals.
I'm sick of your fund-raising schemes, 
   your public relations and image making.
I've had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. 
   When was the last time you sang to me?
Do you know what I want? 
   I want justice—oceans of it.
I want fairness—rivers of it. 
   That's what I want. That's all I want."