Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Candy Shop

The Candy Shop from Whitestone Motion Pictures on Vimeo.

A friend recently pointed me to this movie as an interesting look at child sex trafficking.  It is a fairytale/parable and as such is not graphic in its details.  (However, it is still dealing with a mature topic, so is not recommended for children.) I thought the movie itself was very well done and did an excellent job portraying the whole issue of child sex trafficking.  For example, the man selling the candy (i.e. the children) showed clearly the kind of manipulation used in both getting children and in recruiting buyers.  He didn't necessarily use violence, but he verbally manipulated them to do what he wanted them to do.

(Note: the rest of this review gives away the ending.)

At the end of the movie, when the candy started changing back into children, I was thinking, "That is not realistic!  If a child has been sold and was used sexually, they can't just magically undo it!"  I thought the whole movie had been ruined by making it seem that the solution was simple and quick.  However, once the children came out and were presenting the box of broken pieces of candy, it made more sense.  They had been able to rescue several children before any damage had been done.  But there were also some who had already lost their innocence.  (Although, in real life, there would be a lot more broken pieces.)

Finally, the very last scene showed that even though we may be able to rescue one group of children, that doesn't get rid of the issue completely.  There are always more sellers and more buyers.  Simply rescuing children doesn't solve the problem.  Yes, it's much, much better than doing nothing at all.  But we also need to work to stop child trafficking at the source - the men (and women) who purchase these precious young children.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Weekend of Fasting and Prayer

This weekend, September 24th-26th, Women at Risk, International, in cooperation with the Salvation Army, is holding a time of prayer and fasting for the victims of s_x trafficking.  They have a brochure available with more information and suggestions of specific things to pray for here (the link for the brochure is on the left side).

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Blind Project

The Blind Project has run a design contest (called Be A Biographer) for an apparel line that benefits women coming out of the s_x trade.  Three survivor stories are highlighted, and the designs are made to tell those stories.  Kelsey Turner, one of the members of Hear the Call, entered three designs: Bound by Lies, Loved Now and Escaping the Cycle.  Please consider voting for your favorite design in this contest, starting September 16th.  Thank you!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Some Encouraging News

  • After a two year legal battle, International Justice Mission was able to secure an anti-trafficking conviction in Cebu, The Philippines!  This was the first conviction IJM was able to get there, and only the fourth in that region.  The team there is hoping that this is the first of many such convictions, as they have many other cases in progress.  Unfortunately, the way the legal system is set up there, it is not unusual for cases to take two to four years before the judge reaches a decision.  Continue to pray for the many cases pending in The Philippines.
  • Not for Sale is building a Vocational Center in Lima, Peru where they can teach vulnerable people valuable vocational skills.  Not only will this center be useful once it is built, but several men have been taught construction skills during the building of the center, enabling them to provide homes and schooling for their families, taking them off the streets and protecting them.  Now local companies have begun recruiting these men!  The next step in the process is to build the dormitories.  Read more about this project here.
  • Want to learn about slavery in a more unconventional way?  Check out this interactive website designed by a student for her senior project.  Based on the book "Not for Sale" by David Batstone, this website lets you click your way through the story of a former slave and learn some of the facts of slavery at the same time.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Going on a Diet?

Kay Burrough (Firth-Butterfield) is going on a diet...the "Slave Diet."  What does this mean?  Well, starting August 9th and going as long as she is physically able, she will only be eating food that an Indian farm laborer in debt bondage would be able to eat.  What a unique way to raise awareness of the issue of global slavery!  And at the same time, she will be preparing for the class she will be teaching at St Edwards University, Austin, Texas on the issues of global slavery and human trafficking.  To follow her as she goes through this diet, check out her blog: Slavery, street children...hunger.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A lot of exciting things are taking place in the world of abolitionists these days.  Here are some of the highlights:
  • Do you have any plans for Independance Day on July 4th?  How about incorporating Free the Slaves' idea of declaring your independence from slavery this 4th of July?  Free the Slaves encourages two actions this July 4th: take a picture creatively showing the word "free" (you can see examples on the page that describes this event) and raising money during your BBQs and parties to free a slave.  Regardless of whether or not you join in this event, why don't you talk to your friends and family about the people around the world who do not have freedom?
  • Not for Sale is putting together a campaign called "Stop Them from Scoring" focused on raising awareness of the issue of slavery (especially child s_x slavery) in South Africa during the World Cup.  This page describes the campaign.  You can also see a video of part of their campaign, one to a video advertisement (I highly recommend watching this one - it's only a minute long).  And here are the red cards they are handing out.  Cards that say things like: "Last year, slave traders made R260 billion.  That's more than Nike, Adidas and Puma combined." and "Enslaved children outnumber pro footballers.  Makes you wonder what our favorite pastime really is."
  • So what's the big deal about the World Cup you ask?  Good question.  And one that this article answers fairly well.  Notice this encouraging bit near the end of the article: "Stronger law enforcement has been proven to help.  International Justice Mission views it as indispensable.  In Cebu, Philippines, after two years of collaborative casework led by IJM, we saw a 70 percent reduction in the victimization of children in the commercial sex trade."  Yay!
  • International Justice Mission also has a campaign: Five Weeks for Freedom.  Fifteen bikers will be riding the 1800 mile long Underground Railroad route to campaign for justice for the 27 million slaves around the world who can't speak up.  See if there is an event in your town - there are events in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio and New York.
In the midst of these exciting happenings, we mustn't forget what is going on.  Here is a blog post/article and video that, as the title says, puts faces to the statistics and focuses on child s_x trafficking in Atlanta.  And, here is the newly released 2010 Trafficking in Persons report from the U.S. Department of State.  This (very long) report defines trafficking, tells stories of human trafficking victims and survivors, gives details of each country's approach to trafficking as well as assigning each country a "tier" based on what they are doing in response to trafficking (this is the first year the US has included itself in this ranking).

One more thing: if you have any suggestions, questions, comments or tips, please let me know.  You can comment below or email me.  Thank you for reading and for your concern over the tragedy of slavery!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 14: What Next?

Today is the last day of prayer for those enslaved around the world.  Thank you so much for taking the time to pray!  Hopefully you have also learned a lot.  Would you take some time to pray today about what you will do about the issue of slavery?  Will you commit to continue praying?  Will you keep current with the news on trafficking?  Perhaps you will make it a point to write to various political leaders or write a letter to the editor in your local paper.  Maybe you will begin talking about this issue with your friends.  Perhaps you will be more careful about what items you purchase - looking to see if slaves have been used in the process or not.  Or maybe you will even volunteer at an organization dedicated to helping free slaves.  

Whatever it is, would you pray about how God might use you in the future?  And would you pray that many people would rise up to continue what has begun - freeing slaves and working to help them heal?

Thank you so much for the time you have already committed to this cause!  May God bless you for it.

"Why, O LORD, do you stand far away?  Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?...
"[The wicked] sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent. ... The helpless are crushed, sink down, and fall by his might.  He says in his heart, 'God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see it.'
"Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted.  Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, 'You will not call to account'?  But you do see, for you note mischief and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; to you the helpless commits himself; you have been the helper of the fatherless.  Break the arm of the wicked and evildoer; call his wickedness to account till you find none. ... 
"O LORD, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more."
 ~ Psalm 10