Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Now What?

I am just going to jump right into this post and tell you that I am a little bit at a loss in figuring out what to do next in this fight against human trafficking.  I want to do something that has a direct impact. Sure I can send in a monthly check to RAPHA HOUSE, sponsor a child, and keep up with what their doing so I can tell others, but I want to do something where I see an instant result. I guess I just want to march right into a ring and bust it!  Well, I know very well that is NOT how this works.  I am too impatient, and this dragon seems too big and dangerous. Thinking about these children being brainwashed, physically abused, and mentally tormented is more than I can bare.  It makes me go a little mad, but I must keep my wits about me and figure out where God wants me next.  After all, being a Freedom Fighter takes on many forms.

I don't even have anything to blog about consistently, so writing isn't working for me.

WAIT!  Maybe, this is it....................................................................

It is funny that after all of these years in studying scripture, I often forget how to apply what I have learned!!!  SILLY, SILLY, SINFUL ME!!! Somewhere in this brain, I was reminded that there is a way for me and YOU to directly impact the fight.  PRAYER!   I need to be asking you to pray with me.  Not for just a second right now or for you to put in your prayer book to do later but in a consistent and committed way.  I think we should pray for specific places and faces at specific times each day. It could be for the girls who are at risk of being sold, the brave people who do the rescuing, the children who are currently in the midst of their utter hell, the rescued girls at a certain place, the governments, the johns, the pimps, those precious folks who help heal children once they are rescued and those who fight for justice for them. Can you do this with me?  WILL you do this with me?  You can go to the RAPHA HOUSE website and find a face to pray for or do your own search for a place, face, group, or mission.  There are so many!

When should we do it each day?  Hmmmmm...............How about 9 AM and NOON (central time)?  Yes, that is easy to remember.  I will set my alarm on my phone now.  ARE YOU IN?  Let's do this and watch God move mountains.  I like remembering that God has His plans all set and ready to roll, but He wants us to seek Him before he expedites His mission.  So, seek Him we shall! If you are going to join me in this, let me know!!!  THANK YOU!
One last thing, on the link below you can sign a petition asking our national leaders and President to stand up for Freedom and fight.  This is being done by the International Justice Mission.

Petition for FREEDOM

WOW!  I started this blog like a lost goose and ended with an exciting plan!  Maybe I should blog more!  Maybe about the laundry and bills?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Fight for Freedom

Hello Everyone!

Ok, I said I would share some information on sex trafficking in the US, so I am here to share what I have learned with you today.  I have gathered my information from various sources and will mention them as I go.  The one thing I can tell you at my first glance of these statistics and information I have in front of me is that it is a quickly growing crime here in the US as it is globally.  We are a country about FREEDOM which means there is no room for slavery here.  Let's stop it.

The NHTRC (National Human Trafficking Resource Center) has a HOTLINE (1-888-373-7888). The calls are typically CRISIS CALLS or TIPS. They are able to form some statistics from the information gathered at the HOTLINE.  The number of calls jumped from 7,637 in 2009 to 11,874 in 2010.  I have not found any #'s estimating this year's totals yet, but I will share them with you when I find out.

If you are like me, you are thinking 3 things about this happening here:

1.  Where could this be happening?

2.  What is the difference between trafficking and prostitution?

3. How can we stop it?

  • One of the big answers to the "WHERE" question is TRUCK STOPS!  

The Polaris Project reports that the trafficking happens in 2 forms at truck stops across the US:

                 1. Many massage parlors in or near the truck stops are basically brothels.  This is where victims are forced to have sex 6 to 10 times per day.

                 2. Pimps moving the victims from city to city (stop to stop) is the other form.  These girls are sent to knock on truck doors.  The pimps get requests for business from the truckers by special light flashes from trucks, CB signals, and stickers on their trucks indicating they are interested in a girl.

I appreciate this quote:
"If you see a young person at a truck stop, think twice.  Children generally don't go to truck stops, if it seems wrong, it probably is.  Don't be afraid to speak up about what you see." ~ Krista Hoffman, Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape

  • To answer question #2..................It is trafficking and not prostitution when the victim is a minor, or when a controller uses force, fraud, and/or coercion to maintain control over the victim as it relates to commercial sex.  The controllers use things like debts owed, substance abuse, threats against family members, and many other forms of mental and physical abuse.  

  • Let's stop it.  
          I think that awareness is the first step in stopping this from happening to these vulnerable women and children.  If you are reading this, you are beginning the process of stopping things. When we understand the problem, we watch for suspicious activity, educate others, and become a voice for the victims and those vulnerable and could become victims.
          Another key thing is to build a strong family yourself and be an advocate for the benefits of a God abiding family unit.  Creating strong, confident, educated, God-seeking children will help limit the number of victims these criminals can pull from, but it will also create fewer criminals (both pimps and johns).  With divorce and nontraditional lifestyles becoming so prevalent in our world and country, it is so easy for people to say, "whatever you want to do with your life and your children is OK as long as it makes you happy".  But the truth is, the way we live our lives has immediate and eternal ramifications!!!  Let's take raising our kids and creating our families seriously.    

        With all of that being said, the biggest way to stop trafficking is to stop the demand!!!  According to the ADVOCATE for HUMAN RIGHTS, "Demand fuels the purchase of human beings for sex. Demand is comprised of a culture that tolerates or promotes sexual exploitation; men who buy commercial sex; exploiters who make up the sex industry; and states that are complicit in providing safe haven for pimps and traffickers either as source or destination countries."

         I would just like to close this post by saying that I still view the United States as a country that values HUMAN LIFE. Our lives have value.  The biggest shock to me about Cambodia, after visiting there, is that there is little to no value for their own people ESPECIALLY children.  The first born daughter is expected to provide for her family.  Children are sold every day there.  We were even asked to buy children while there!  When a baby dies, he/she has no burial and is often thrown into the river.  As times get tougher here in America, we must hang onto what we should value most!  OUR GOD and OUR PEOPLE!

Here are some sites I used for sources:

There is also a great website to check out called:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Homesick for Cambodia

Hi everyone.  I am so sorry it has taken me so long to post something new.  I guess I am out of my post-trip fog and have found my way back to wife and mommy life again.  I will never quite see things the same after meeting the RAPHA HOUSE girls and staff, but I can incorporate my experiences and changed heart into my daily life by being sensitive and in-tune with what is really happening in the world around us.

My heart literally ACHES when I think about Cambodia and the people I met there.  I do feel homesick for them which is something I never would have predicted.  I very much thought I would feel a sense of, "check, been there - done that, now what?".  That just hasn't been the case at all.  Cambodia has a lasting grip.
Chad and I really do hope to go back together within the coming years.  He needs to relate to this "grip" and see what it really has to do with us. When you visit such a dark place, you notice God's light even more.  It made me want to shine my light there.  It is distinct, effective, and noticeable there.  I haven't been able to figure out how to work that out here yet.  We will wait for God to guide us in the way we should go.

The truth is, the darkness is world wide.

I thought I would share some shocking facts about the modern day form of slavery called HUMAN TRAFFICKING:

1. Trafficking is the world's 3rd largest business.  It comes after DRUGS and GUNS.  It is currently a $7 BILLION dollar business.

2. The UN estimates that 700,000 to 4 million women and children are trafficked around the world for purposes of forced prostitution and labor.

3. Victims of trafficking are subject to gross human rights violations such as torture, rape, forced abortions, starvation, diseases, threat of murder and torture to their family members.

4. Currently Cambodia's illegal sex trade is a $500 million a year business.

5 There are statistics for the USA alone that are mind blowing.  I will save those for next time.

For more facts:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Reflections: Part 2

Hi Everyone,

I am sorry that I am just now getting another post out.  It has been a bumpy landing back into my life as a mother, wife, daughter, and children's director.  However, I THINK I am back now.  God didn't just teach me a quick lesson in trusting, faith, and obedience then leave me to go handle someone else.  These lessons continue, and I am thankful since I am a very slow learner in these areas!

 I have been asked so many questions since I have returned, so I thought I would make this entry a little Q&A!  Feel free to comment with questions I didn't hit on too.

Q:  How has it been coming back here after seeing what you saw there?

A:  That is DEFINITELY part of the "bumpy landing" I mentioned.  Before I went, I knew coming back to my gluttonous world would be a challenge, and it is.  I keep comparing it to the death of my brother.  (I lost my brother, who was just 21 months younger than me, in a car accident 10 years ago.)  After he died, I was mystified and angry that the world seemed to be going on as usual.  I was mortified at how so many people seemed to act crazy about such small & unimportant issues.  I do feel a little frustrated at seeing people sweat the small stuff, but overall, it is different.  The fact is,  I couldn't do anything about his death.  He was gone, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.  In contrast, coming back from a culture that puts little value in human life and believes in a ridiculous religion has me frustrated, focused, and motivated.  I CAN do something about this.  My GOD is real, and I see how HE is the salt and the light in such a real way.  I want to be His salt and light, hands and feet, and love wherever I can.  These are my thoughts now that I am back.  While flying out of Cambodia, I watched in tears while half of my busted open heart stayed there.

Q: How do the girls end up in the SEX TRADE there?

A:  Desperate people do desperate things, and it is a HUGE problem in this region.  The girls are beautiful, and more than that, their families are living in poverty.  In their culture, the oldest daughter provides for the family.  NO PRESSURE.  So, the selling of a daughter with a promise of some of her wages, is very prevalent.  In some cases daughters choose to go willingly being promised a job description completely different. Selling children to child labor rings is prevalent in general.  See what I mean about the loss of value on human life?? When this trade first started booming it was mostly brothel situations; according to Stephanie Freed (US RAPHA DIRECTOR), it has all become more underground now which makes it harder to rescue the girls and prosecute the perpetrators.

Q: How do the girls get to RAPHA HOUSE?

A:  The government and organized freedom fighters have connections to RAPHA HOUSE and use them as one of their placements options.  They call and bring them girls as they are rescued.

Q: What do the girls do while at RAPHA HOUSE?

A:  At the safe houses the focus is on the girls healing.  Each individual girl requires different things, but they all receive counseling, schooling, and medical attention.  They also have justice fought for them if their case has those options.  After they get settled into their healing process, they begin to learn skills that can one day help them maintain their freedom and provide them an income.  They learn things like sewing, cosmetology, silk weaving, and jewelry making.  Once they are ready and old enough, they move to the Freedom Center where they hone in on these types of skills they need for their independent reintegrated futures.

I have to go now as it is time for me to pick up my kids, make dinner, and come back here to church to lead Wednesday night programming for the children.

I want you all to know that RAPHA HOUSE also works hard on the prevention side of this horrible issue as well!  I hope to share more about that soon.

Please pray for the girls and the STAFF.  The staff in Cambodia are Christians living in a 95% Buddhist country.  Meeting these heroes of my faith has definitely changed my life!!