While Mike and I are, naturally, focusing a lot of our child-energy on our own little womb baby, we have an experience today that reminds me of the vast needs for children throughout the world. I am referring to a specific crime against children, and a specific charity championing for the children--and I think is important enough to share with my fellow baby-followers out there.
Today, Mike and I, along with my parents, who are visiting, and Mike's parents, who live nearby, go to Gracepoint Fellowship Church in Rockland County. We go there occasionally because the music is good, the church is full of warmth, and the pastor is incredible. When he preaches, he is interesting, engaging, and always shows us something new. We leave the church feeling inspired--never down on ourselves or negatively critical, but rather uplifted and ready to make positive changes. For those of you who go to church, or have been, you probably know, this is actually a difficult task to achieve--I have been to many churches where they make you feel bad about your life, they are too "over-the-top" or radical for me, the pastors seem out of touch with the world, or more frequently, I am simply bored and get nothing out of the experience.
But today, the experience has my total attention. There is a guest speaker, Rob Morris*, who is the president and co-founder of Justice for Children International, recently renamed Love 146. Love 146 is a not-for-profit organization which works toward the abolition of child slavery and sex trafficking. Rob is careful to point out that while 2 children are sold per minute into slavery, his organization is not working to merely minimize statistics--they are working toward completely abolishing this crime. The charity works mostly in East Asia (where Rob and his wife have adopted children) from a two-fold approach:
1) Prevention: Through raising awareness and reducing the risk for children in "high traffic" areas.
2) Aftercare: "training caregivers, providing safehomes and researching best practices for aftercare."
Rob's stories are heart-wrenching, but hopeful. There is much pain and struggle, but there are positive outcomes and resilience. Rob shares about how they discovered many sex traffickers were gaining business by advertising on Craiglist. Love 146, along with other organizations and state attorneys general, petitioned to have Craigslist put safeguards in place to deter criminals from using the site. Apparently, Craigslist resisted this for a few years, but just recently conceded to add safety features to cut down on the number of sex crimes advertised (the article mentions nothing of the resistance to putting these into effect--probably not something Craigslist advertises, but regardless, the outcome is positive). This also hits home, that while brothels and child slavery do exist in large numbers in Southeast Asia, they exist in the US, as well.
Here is a video in which Rob speaks about his experience seeing a child-brothel, and how the organization was formed:
Rob talks about how it is a challenge to engage in the issue of sex trafficking since most of us do not have a personal involvement (we become involved in issues of cancer or AIDS oftentimes when we know someone who has cancer or AIDS, etc.). While most of us will probably never know someone who has been involved in sex trafficking, this video is Love 146's small attempt to have you put yourself in the place of a child and imagine what it is is like in theory (or at least pull on your heartstrings with the music and printed narration):
I am not really sure how to end a post like this, so I guess I'll just leave it at that.
*Note: The link is to when Rob spoke at the church 2 years ago. The current talk is not uploaded yet on the church's website.
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