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26 posts categorized "Sex-Trafficking"

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.

s-WORLD-CUP-large.jpg

May 05, 2010

Praying for the Victims of Sex Trafficking

My last few posts have stirred quite a bit of controversy around Sex Trafficking and CraigsList. One of the suggestions I made was to boycott CraigsList and my good friend, (who I love dearly!) Anne Jackson, doesn't agree with me on that point. The debate is pretty hot in her comments section. You should check it out.

Fine, we all have are opinions. But let me say that this is not an issue of, and I quote, "It’s the Christian Status Quo to boycott." This has nothing to do with our voices being heard because we are Christian. It has to do with our voices being heard because we are human. I wouldn't even approach CraigsList about this because "it's against my Christian values," but because they're practices are against the law, and provides the opportunity for sex traffickers to use the site to enslave and abuse women without any monitoring or repercussions.

Whatever you choose to do, please do something. Scripture does tell us to, "Seek Justice," and we all have to live that out. Why don't we start by praying together.

 
Scriptures to study:

  • Isaiah 1:17: Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
  • Psalm 25:20: Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
  • Psalm 18:48 : Who saves me from my enemies. You exalted me above my foes; from violent men you rescued me.

Prayer Focus:

Pray for the eyes of the rescue organizations to be opened to see girls who need rescuing Pray that the rescuers who are strategizing how to rescue will have discernment Pray for safety during rescue efforts

Thanks to the Salvation Army for the following:

Rescue and Restoration
Pray for the rescue and restoration of the countless number of children who have become victims of sexual trafficking, including the following:

  • for an end to their captivity and sexual abuse,
  • for as many safe and secure shelters as are needed to provide for their material needs,
  • for loving care takers to provide comfort, solace, and a sense of family,
  • for training and education to provide these children with meaningful and productive livelihoods,
  • for medical treatment to meet their many health concerns;
  • for the Gospel message to reach their ears and be received in their hearts

Breakdown of the Sex Industry
Pray for the breakdown of the sex industry, which fuels the sexual trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children, including the following:

  • the demise of pornographic magazines;
  • a ban on internet pornography and sex tourism sites;
  • for the closure of clubs with nude dancing and stripping;
  • strong law enforcement efforts the world over to enforce obscenity laws, fight corruption, and to arrest/convict the pimps, traffickers and “customers”;
  • permanently close all brothels.

Craigslist Supports Sex Trafficking by Looking the Other Way...Will You?

Yesterday's post was one of highest viewed on this blog...ever. With public outrage building against Craigslist--and an unbelievable undercover report by the Today Show--Americans are opening their eyes to the reality of sex trafficking, forced prostitution, and child rape for profit. Craigslist is still choosing to "look the other way" and hide behind the laws that protect them. But what will you do?

A friend wrote me yesterday to share a story about how a bad call at his son's little league game cost them the victory. Those situations make me really mad when they happen to my kids too. Like me, he spent days thinking about what he'd do the next time this situation came up, and then God dropped this question on him:

Why are you obsessing about 8-year-old little league, instead of what matters most to Me?

We are so easily drawn from the heart of God. Like Peter walking on the water, we take our eyes off Jesus and begin to sink and drown.

What would happen if our local churches became "obsessed" with eliminating the orphan crisis, wiping out extreme poverty, and ending child sex slavery? 

Here's what you can do. Take the 5 day challenge and do something about trafficking.

1. Last week, HopeChest launched a new Web site for sex trafficking resources and action at SheIsPriceless.com. I want to challenge you to spend 5 days seeking the heart of God through the "Help Wanted" devotional posted on SheIsPriceless.com. It's a free download. Encourage your blogging, Facebook, and Twitter community to do the same.

2. Get educated and act. My new book, Priceless, is all about how young girls are exploited by traffickers. Pre-order it here and allow Marina's story to open your eyes.

3. Post the Priceless trailer to your blog for 5 days by embeding the code from YouTube here.

4. Read the first chapter of Priceless for FREE by clicking here. Post the link on your blog for 5 days so others know about this issue.

What if each of the 1,000+ people who read this blog took action like this?

You can also view the investigation on Craigslist on the Today Show by viewing it here. Be careful, it's not for minors. 

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/36934943#36934943

Become obsessed with God's heart for justice. If it matters to him, it has to matter to us. Helping to save one young girl or boy's life is worth it.


May 04, 2010

Shutting Down America's Online Sex Cafe

It's bad enough to hear about men who pose as animals and force young girls to prostitute themselves in foreign countries. That's horrible, and should never happen. But sex traffickers operating right here in the United States under our nose on Craigslist?!

Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere are abuzz with the revelation that 1/3 of Craigslist revenue comes from sex ads.

Many of these ads offer young girls for sex. It strikes me that this is exactly like the sex cafe I visited in Moldova.

While I'm shopping for a used couch on Craigslist, thousands of girls are being trafficked in the cyberspace around me. 

So far, the Craigslist leadership appears unwilling to take down the trafficking ads, or to offer a real aggressive enforcement strategy.

Many have taken to boycotting craigslist until they get serious about not allowing the site to serve as a medium for trafficking underage girls. If you're one of these people, leave a comment and tell me why and what you think the boycott can accomplish

Having just been in Moldova and Russia, sitting with girls who themselves had experienced the horrors of trafficking, I cannot believe this is happening on a site like Craigslist.

This is happening in the open--on a public site. Many of the ads are plainly pornographic--and they are right there in the open. It's just like the sex cafe in Moldova!

As the organized protest continues, there are a variety of ways that you can respond and act. Many of you asked what you can do to prevent sex trafficking. I never thought I'd be telling you to boycott Craigslist for facilitating the prostitution and rape of girls in the United States. Here goes...

  • Add a tag to your e-mail signature or a badge to your blog that says "Craigslist allows trafficking of underage girls on their site, will you?"
  • Spread the word to your social networks on Facebook and Twitter. Link to any of the articles on this page, this blog post, or any other resource you find. Most people just are not aware...change that!
  • Boycott companies who use Craigslist to advertise jobs. A big portion of Craigslist's revenue comes from job postings. Go to Craigslist.org and browse through the job listings by companies in your city--write the poster and let them know about Craigslist's reputation for allowing trafficking of minors on their site. Send e-mails, write letters, and make phone calls to companies. Remember, they probably have no idea. Work to educate. Ask them to take the ad down and join the fight to clean sex trafficking from Craigslist. Last night, I found a local church in our community with several job ads. Contact the job poster directly, and show them to the open letter and other articles.
  • Call your local media. Send a pitch letter to all of the local radio stations and television stations in your town. This is a national story that is easy for local affiliates to pick up. Pitch them on a local angle to this story--such as how many women are currently advertised as prostitutes in your town.

As you spend time researching this developing story and the ensuing protest, you'll run into other ideas and solutions. Leave a comment here to let us know what you're doing to shut down America's online sex cafe.

Last word  on this....folks, this is a symptom reflecting a larger issue and a deeper reality. Soon the mainstream media will no longer be enamored with the wrongdoings of Craigslist. Keep fighting the good fight--wherever you have the strength and favor to speak prophetically against sex trafficking--do it.

This is an absolute outrage and is happening right under our nose. If someone doesn't stand up for what is right, who will? Will you stand in the gap and defend a young girl who is being trafficked right here in the US on Craigslist? 

May 03, 2010

Rescuing Girls from Sex Slavery

This article just came out from CNN.com. Children forced to serve 60 men a day in Nepal. I can't think of an issue that needs our attention more. 

Kathmandu, Nepal (CNN) -- Geeta was 9 when she began wearing makeup, staying up until 2 a.m. and having sex with as many as 60 men a day.

"I used to be really sad and frustrated with what was happening in my life," she said.

The daughter of Nepalese peasant farmers, Geeta -- now 26 -- had been sold to a brothel in India by a member of her extended family. The family member had duped Geeta's visually impaired mother into believing her daughter would get work at a clothing company in Nepal.

"The brothel where I was ... there [were] many customers coming in every day. The owner used to verbally abuse us, and if we didn't comply, [she] would start beating us with wires, rods and hot spoons."

It was not until Geeta was 14 that a police officer rescued her and brought her to a safe house compound run by Anuradha Koirala. The 61-year-old woman and her group, Maiti Nepal, have been fighting for more than 16 years to rescue and rehabilitate thousands of Nepal's sex trafficking victims.

"Families are tricked all the time," said Koirala. "The trafficking of the girls is done by people who are basically known to the girls, who can lure them from the village by telling them they are getting a nice job. It's a lucrative business."

By raiding brothels, patrolling the India-Nepal border and providing safe shelter and support services, Koirala and Maiti Nepal have helped rescue and rehabilitate more than 12,000 Nepali women and girls since 1993.

According to the U.S. State Department, some 10,000 to 15,000 women and girls from Nepal are trafficked to India and then sexually exploited each year.

Koirala's own history in an abusive relationship led her to her crusade. For most of her young adulthood, she taught primary school English in Nepal. But when her relationship took a violent turn, her life's "purpose and responsibility completely changed," she said.

"Every day, there was battering. And then I had three miscarriages that I think [were] from the beating. It was very difficult because I didn't know in those days where to go and report [it], who to ... talk to."

After the relationship ended, Koirala used a portion of her $100 monthly salary to start a small retail shop to employ and support displaced victims of sex trafficking and domestic violence.

By the early 1990s, an increasing demand for help and persistent cases of violence against women compelled Koirala to do more. Maiti Nepal was her brainchild for giving voice, legal defense and rehabilitation to victims of sex trafficking.

Roughly translated, Maiti means "Mother's Home." The group has facilities throughout Nepal and India, but most of the rehabilitation work takes place at its main campus in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Koirala said girls from the brothels arrive empty-handed, sick, in many cases pregnant or with small children, and "psychologically broken."

"When the girl first comes to Maiti Nepal, we never, never ask them a question. We just let them [be] for as long as they need. We let them play, dance, walk, talk to a friend," Koirala said. "They are afraid at first, but eventually they will talk to us on their own."

The group also takes in rape and domestic violence survivors, as well as abandoned children.

"I cannot say no to anybody," Koirala said. "Everybody comes to Maiti Nepal."

Accommodating its population of close to 400 women and children requires a large staff of teachers, counselors and medical personnel -- and dozens of bunk beds. Many of the staff are sex trafficking survivors now committed to helping rehabilitate other girls. The work is funded by grants and donations from around the world.

Post-rescue recovery is comprehensive. Maiti Nepal provides medical treatment, psychological and legal counseling, formal court filings and criminal prosecution, all for free.

While some of the girls are able to return to their families, many of them -- particularly those with HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases -- become socially stigmatized and are no longer welcome in their home communities. For these girls, Maiti Nepal becomes their new, and possibly last, home. A hospice on the compound's grounds houses terminally ill patients.

"The hardest part for me is to see a girl dying or coming back with different diseases at an [age] when she should be out frolicking," Koirala said. "That's what fuels me to work harder."

The group's ultimate goal is to help girls become economically independent and reintegrated into society.

"We try to give them whatever work they want to do, whatever training they want to do, because when you're economically empowered, people forget everything. People even forget [she is] HIV-positive or was trafficked," Koirala said.

Koirala and at least 50 trafficking survivors also participate in what she calls social preventive work outside the campus. Their community awareness camps educate families in rural villages and city slums about the dangers of sex trafficking, and a daily patrol at crossing points along the India-Nepal border successfully rescues an average of four Nepali girls a day.

"Our girls are border guards who have been trafficked themselves. They easily recognize a girl that is being trafficked or will be trafficked," Koirala said. "The girls need no motivation from me. They know the horrors of the brothel, and they are here to save their sisters."

Some girls who are trafficked choose to remain prostitutes for life because their home villages will not accept them. But Koirala says that among those rescued by Maiti Nepal, there isn't a single case when a girl has returned back to the streets.

Geeta's recovery is one of the group's success stories. Today, she works at Maiti Nepal as a peer educator and also helps with the group's awareness camps. She credits Koirala and Maiti Nepal for the strength to keep living and the confidence to join the fight against sex trafficking.

"Anuradha is a hero. ... She's courageous," Geeta said. "She gave me my faith back. ... If Maiti Nepal wasn't there for me, I would be dead by now."

Want to get involved? Check out the Maiti Nepal website and see how to help

Click here to see the video and link to the article.

April 28, 2010

She Is Priceless - The New Web Site + Free Stuff

Help Wanted. Over 2 million children are trapped in the sex trade. Learn what you can do to help prevent sex trafficking and care for the survivors. Find out more in Priceless, the new book by Children's HopeChest president, Tom Davis.

Today marks the launch SheisPriceless.com a new Web site devoted to the release of Priceless and a resource center for prayer, learning, and action on behalf of the victims of sex trafficking around the world. We are calling this campaign "Help Wanted."

Many girls respond to a "Help Wanted" ad for what they think is a glamorous new job and lots of money.

Instead they find themselves trapped as forced prostitutes. Some are raped up to 40 times each day. Raped for profit. But there is another meaning to "Help Wanted."

"Help Wanted" is the cry of 2 million children who are powerless to rescue and free themselves from the sex trade.

They need our help--to help educate others and prevent sex trafficking, to support those brave men and women who carry out rescue operations to free children from slavery, and to heal and care for those victims of sex trafficking.

We've packed the site with resource for you to dig into, and two special gifts! Right now you can download the first chapter of Priceless and the FULL VERSION of Scared. Go to http://www.sheispriceless.com and enter your information to receive access to the private download page.

The free version of Scared will only be available until May 10...so don't wait.

Also, our new site has a free 5-day devotional for you and your family, Sunday School, Bible Study, class, or small group. I've posted day one below, but you can get the full download at SheisPriceless.com.

Priceless 5 Day Devotional

Day 1: Deceit

Scenario:

Marina, from Priceless, represents thousands of girls across the world.  Girls who have had all hope stolen from them.  Girls who have spent their whole life in an orphanage and as early as fourteen years old they get kicked to the streets to fend for themselves.  Girls wondering where their next meal is going to come from.  Girls spending cold nights dreaming of better life.  These girls are approached by nice looking men, the first person who has looked at them kindly in months.  The men tell the young girls everything they want to hear.  They tell them that they will give them a promising job.  The job will be an opportunity to nanny in a foreign country making more money than the young girl ever dreamed possible.

Imagine yourself (or your daughter):

Living on the streets.  Imagine the hopelessness of not having a job and living on the cold streets.  Imagine your dreams for a better life and what they would include.  Imagine having no one to turn to for comfort or advice.  Now, imagine yourself being approached with a job opportunity-one that sounds too good to be true.  What do you have to lose? Maybe, just maybe, your life is going to turn around like you’ve always dreamed.

Unfortunately, this job is not a nanny or waitress job after all.  What these girls do not know is that they are going to be trafficked and forced into a life of sexual slavery.

Suggested Reading:

Priceless Chapters 6-11

Statistic to think on today:

Every 2 minutes, a child is being prepared for sexual exploitation

Scriptures to study:

Psalm 43:1Vindicate me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation; rescue me from deceitful and wicked men.

Psalm 120:2Save me, O LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.

Psalm 144:11 Deliver me and rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.

Prayer Focus:

Pray that the Lord will close the eyes of those seeking vulnerable girls to traffic
Pray that the girls’ eyes would be opened to truth and they would flee

April 27, 2010

Big Announcement & Summit VI

Tomorrow I will be making a big announcement on the blog regarding what you can practically do to help orphans and be involved in stopping vulnerable children from being trafficked along with a brand new resource website. This is in response to many of you asking what you can do. No money involved! :)

I'm looking forward to seeing many of you at Christian Alliance for Orphans Conference in Minneapolis on Thursday. I will be teaching a brand new message from the main stage at 10:00 am entitled, "Hope Dies Last." Following that I will be involved in a breakout session on a panel called, "Engaging Youth and College Age for Orphan Ministry, then teaching, "Human Trafficking and Orphans" at 2:00-3:00pm. 

What's also really cool is that we will have the beginning of The Orphan Experience set up for everyone to view at the Conference. It connects art, artifacts, and video together so you are able to walk in the shoes of an orphan. This will be phase one, make sure you can to check it out. 

Please stop by and say hello at the Children's HopeChest table. I will only be there on Thursday, then I'm heading to San Francisco to speak at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church.

Thanks for your prayers during this season. I'm really feeling burdened, overwhelmed, and generally attacked in a number of areas. I'm sure it has a ton to do with the ground we are breaking, the orphans we are helping and our last trip infiltrating issues of sex-traffciking. God is with us, who can be against us?!

April 22, 2010

What Every Man Can Do to Stop Sex Trafficking and Exploitation

Men, it's time to step and take our rightful place as sons of God. No longer can we can't allow the evils of our culture seep into our souls and steal our power to be who we are created to be: Protectors, Defenders, and Image Bearers of Christ. Watch this until the end, then make the courageous decision to be this kind of man. We have to "Step it Up." Thanks Mike Todd.

April 21, 2010

Who Thinks that Children aren't Sex-Trafficked in the United States?

When you travel to a foreign country, you hear a lot about sex-trafficking. The trafficking of underage children, girls who are stolen out of orphanages, and boys who are lured in friends and trusted relationships. I've just returned from Moldova where this issue is rampant. There is no law in that country to protect victims. In fact when I sat down with a governmental organization and asked them how many convictions were made against sex traffickers, the answer was ZERO.

But in the United States? Does this really happen here?

Sadly, it does. According to the US State Department, an estimated 14,500-17,000 victims are trafficked into the US each year. When you consider that the average trafficked victim is 14 years old, (A21 Campaign) it's plain to see it does happen. Too often.

Today, CNN.com broke a story about the Gambino Crime Family being indicted. Among the charges, sex trafficking and sex trafficking of minors for roles in an interstate sex trafficking ring. You can read the entire article here. The focus of the investigation was in Manhattan, Staten Island and New Jersey. Mostly, these women were forced to work in casinos and made the young women service the clients. 

CNN has a special page with 58 other stories on sex trafficking from the US and around the world you can view here

This is an evil issue we must deal with in the world. Pray for these victims and get involved.

April 20, 2010

IEmpathize - The Story of the Sex Cafe

We are partnering with IEmpathize to help girls who have been rescued from the sex-trade in Eastern Europe. This short video features a good friend of mine and President, Brad Riley. Brad describes what happened while we were in Moldova, specifically the day we were surrounded by traffickers at "The Sex Cafe." Many of you have asked why this issue is so bad in this country. Here's some information from the State Department:

 "Although formerly one of the most wealthy parts of the former Soviet Union, Moldova is today officially the poorest country in Europe. With nearly total unemployment, the registered daily income of 80% of the population is below a dollar per day. This fact can explain why desperate people sell their organs for money and sex trafficking is rampant. Moldovan prostitutes are now the country’s main export."

40% of Moldova's sex slaves are kids, and both the traffickers and the involved government officials know that children are highly sought after for the sex trade."

Brad and the Sex-Cafe from Tom Davis on Vimeo.