Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Victories - Even if Small

Teen pimp found guilty of human trafficking - Today's Seattle Times (online)

In addition, a program thought lost to 2010 budget cuts in King County has been saved:

"I have great news! The Council was able to allocate $100,000 in the 2010 budget for the Safe Housing and Treatment for Children in Prostitution program through careful reprioritization of expenditures. Options to allow vulnerable youth to escape a life of prostitution are desperately needed-this program will help by providing them with emergency shelter, transitional housing and targeted social services. I was honored to advocate for restoring this specific program's funding in the 2010 budget. As you may know, I have voted in support of this program several times over the past three years, and earlier this year when it was proposed for the chopping block, I advocated for King County to continue our funding commitment, even given the current difficult budgetary outlook. I am tremendously pleased that King County will be able to provide $100,000 to help start this important program to rescue teens from a life of prostitution."

~copied from an email sent by Larry Phillips, Councilmember; Metropolitan King County Council, District Four on Monday, November 23, 2009

Proverbs 31:8-9

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Victory Day

Seattle Against Slavery (SAS) and the Western Washington Coalition Against Human Trafficking (WWCAHT) are sponsoring the film premiere of Victory Day on Wednesday, Dec. 2nd, at 6:30 pm in partnership with the filmmaker, Sean Ramsay, at the Harvard Exit Theatre. This will help us honor the UN's International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

However, we need your help! In order to help the filmmaker subsidize this event, we need at least 75 people to buy their tickets by this Sunday. Can you please consider buying the $25 ticket for each person so we can make this event happen?

There will be appetizer time, an info booth on human trafficking, the film, and a panel discussion immediately after the film with Sean Ramsay, WWCAHT & Not for Sale's Sarah Sweeney, Alex Sum, leader of SAS, and perhaps others. It will be a great time of public awareness for our cause so bring your family & friends.

Please help us get at least 75 tickets sold by Sunday and sell out the joint (350 people capacity)! Pass this email and flyer on and use SAS’s Facebook page to spread the word!

Film & Trailer: http://www.victorydaythefilm.com

The LA press release: http://la.indymedia.org/news/2009/10/231014.php

Buy Tickets Here: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/89999

Facebook Event Page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=186552497688

Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Emma Thompson's latest project:


What an awesome talent and a respected voice. How I pray God uses this to bring MASSIVE attention to the tragedy of human trafficking.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The New York Times - Teenage Runaways

The New York Times has done a two article series on teenage runaways and how they end up trafficked. Both articles are very well written and the second one offers the hint of part of the solution.

Recession Drives Surge in Youth Runaways

For Runaways, Sex Buys Survival

Proverbs 31:8-9

Friday, October 23, 2009

Trafficking in Seattle

It does happen on the street where you live. Every. single. day.

West Seattle Pimp tells of Selling girls with a Dream

Proverbs 31:8-9

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A Load of Garbage

Paula Guest is one of the people I have been privileged to meet as I have become more involved in the fight against human trafficking. It is an honor to be able to call this woman a friend. She has a heart for justice and God has asked her to do tremendous things in the battle against trafficking. When Scharme Hettinga started Frontline for Justice at Northshore Baptist Church, I know Paula never saw herself as the lead in that ministry but that is exactly where God has placed her.

Below is a post Paula wrote for the Northshore Baptist Womens' Ministry blog. She shared it with me and gave me permission to post it here. I hope to share more of what Paula writes, and more about Paula and those she serves, as she pours out her heart. It is not a very long read but it is vivid. I pray it touches you as it has touched me.

A Load of Garbage

What is your life worth? What about the life of your child??

In 2004 while on a mission trip to Nicaragua, our team was visiting the village of 3,000 people who live and die, in the dump. It was indeed, "The Gates of Hell." Smoke rising. Buzzards circling. Cattle wandering. Stench permeating. And through the haze of the smoke, people were seen standing out on the heaps, poking and prodding. Searching for something of value.

As we walked down the street, preparing to escape into the safety of our air conditioned, smoke free, stench free van, a young girl met us with a huge smile. "How are you?" I asked in my rudimentary Spanish. "Very well," she replied. Our guide explained as we drove away, that this young girl, that very morning, had been diagnosed with AIDS.

Her parents had sold her to the garbage truck drivers so that the 'best' garbage would be dropped in their 'area.' Her life traded for a load of garbage. And she had three younger sisters.

What is your life worth? What about the life of your child??

At that moment, God reached down and broke my heart in a way that cannot be mended. In my safe little world it had never occurred to me that such an evil could exist. It was no longer possible to simply 'change the channel and go about having supper.'

And so I found myself in Poipet, Cambodia in an AIDS hospice, holding the hands of dying women and praying for them. Sitting in a bar in Bangkok, talking to young women with a number attached to their bikini bottom. We had 'bought' their time. Sex travelers were buying a lot more.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Another Battlefront

A friend of mine sent a copy of a blog post today. When I hit the link to check out the writer, I found a blog full of heavy stories. Stories of young women in Romania being trafficked, the hope they have and the hope they don't have.

She's worth the time you'll need to read about her and if you feel lead, please don't hesitate to find out about contributing to the House of Treasure. Iana sounds like an amazing person.

Kimberly Smith Blog

Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SweatFree Communities

This arrived in my in-box today. If you have a minute, please vote

Your vote for SweatFree Communities for a human rights award can also bring justice to workers in China. Both are within reach and you can make it happen if you vote by October 5. We just need your attention for one minute.

In May an investigation commissioned by the Milwaukee Clean Clothes Campaign revealed severe labor violations in a factory in China that supplies a major police uniform brand seeking a Milwaukee contract. Thanks to its sweatfree policy, the City requires not just legal minimum wages for workers but non-poverty wages that are almost twice as high. However, the investigation showed that some workers earn less than even the legal minimum.

Now the company has disclosed payroll information for 20 workers they say would make the Milwaukee police uniforms, indicating that they are paid nearly twice what other workers receive. Workers in China are often coached to lie to auditors and sometimes factories keep double books. The only way to find out whether the company is telling the truth is to talk to the workers and earn their trust. That takes time and costs money.

We are not asking you for money. We are asking for your vote. SweatFree Communities has a very good chance to win Global Exchange's Human Rights Hero competition which carries a $1,000 prize. Currently we're third in the competition and we need your help to push us over the top.

If we win, we will use the award to fund an independent investigation of the company's wage claims. Whatever the result, the investigation will be a win for workers. Either this company has done what no other has ever done before: doubling wages to qualify for a sweatfree contract and thereby proving they can make a profit AND pay workers a living wage. That should be celebrated as a first step to decent wages in the global economy. Or we will have the evidence to eliminate an undeserving bidder from the competition for public contracts.

Vote SFC. Help bring justice to workers.

Thank you,
Bjorn Claeson
Executive Director

PS. Remember to vote by October 5. After you vote, make sure to click the link in the automated email that you'll receive to confirm your vote.

Use facebook to spread the word - post this note in your profile:

I voted for SweatFree Communities as my Human Rights Hero. Want to help stop sweatshops? Vote by October 5th: http://economy.myhumanrightsheroes.org/entries#7333

PPS. Planning to attend the National SweatFree Summit (Nov. 6-8 in Washington D.C.)? Please register soon! Need a travel scholarship? Contact us for more info.Proverbs 31:8-9

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

So True

Sarah added this quote at the bottom of the agenda for last night's WWCAHT meeting. So true...

Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery a very good thing, we never hear of a man who wishes to take the good of it, by being a slave himself.

~Abraham Lincoln

Perhaps trafficking wouldn't be an issue if we took traffickers and instead of putting them in prison right away we made them live the life of a slave for a few monhts...

Proverbs 31:8-9

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Today in History

*On Sept. 22, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, declaring all slaves in rebel states should be free as of Jan. 1, 1863.*
(from today's New York Times online)

If only that worked world-wide and there weren't any slaves... anywhere... ever again. It is what we work toward, strive for and pray over constantly. One thing I learned this weekend - where governments step in and actually enforce the laws they have, trafficking drops dramatically. The specific example given was in Cambodia. Since enforcing their laws regarding trafficking, child slavery, etc., trafficking in children has dropped 70%. Seventy percent. For every 100 children who would have been trafficked today - 70 of them are safe.

Those who are continuing the battle against this evil got out of bed this morning determined to make it 100 out of 100. You can help. Don't hesitate to ask me how.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fabric of Life

Have you heard about Carol? I don't know much about her yet but I do know this - she is dedicated to the girls of Mali, Africa and the school her Foundation runs. Fabric of Life (a dba of Schillios Develoment Foundation) is dedicated to cooperative partnerships that improve people's access to affordable credit, education and health care. (I took that right off the website...)

Fabric of Life's Hèrè jè project assists Mali girls who are otherwise left begging in the streets for money with life skills - skills training, health and nutrition, AIDS education, etc.

Carol has been living on the roof of her store since August 23rd. Her goal is to raise $1 million for the Hèrè jè Center. If you feel led, don't hesitate to help! After watching her story on King 5, she strikes me as someone who is incredibly grateful to those who do.

Her living on the roof: Up on the roof with Carol

Proverbs 31:8-9

Film, Faith & Justice Festival

Film, Faith & Justice Festival Benefit

Canlis Restaurant
2576 Aurora Ave. N
Seattle, WA

Date: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Time: 6 pm to 9 pm

Cost: $50

*Proceeds will help fund the festival as well as portions going to
International Rescue Committee (IRC)-Seattle &
International Justice Mission (IJM)

Both organizations helps victims of slavery & human trafficking

Benefit Registration - http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/80146
Benefit website - http://www.theotherjournal.com/ffj/support.php
Film, Faith, & Justice Festival website - http://www.filmfaithandjustice.com/

Proverbs 31:8-9

Friday, September 11, 2009

Department of Labor Report

The Department of Labor has issued a report on International Child Labor and Forced Labor.

For more information and to read the entire report, please click the links below.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Thursday, September 10, 2009

An Attorney's View

This link was sent to me via email today. It is an article written by Scott Leist. The biographical paragraph at the bottom of the article says Mr. Leist "...is a former Seattle Police Officer who became a lawyer in 2000. He spent several years at a large Seattle law firm and then joined the King County Prosecutor's office where he practiced in the Criminal Division until 2008 when he joined IJM..."

Please take a few moments to read the whole piece. It is thought-provoking and I believe Mr. Leist has made some imperative points to consider. It has me thinking.

Coming to Kenya

Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another Trafficking Ring Broken

One nice thing about getting more involved in fighting trafficking, you come across people who have various sources for information, much expanded from where I know to look. What used to take me hours to find in searching and reading is now basically sent to my inbox.

The article I've linked below speaks to a trafficking ring broken up in Los Angeles, CA. First New Jersey, now California. An appropriate reminder that trafficking is an issue in this country from one coast to the other.

It has permeated our society. Everywhere. Please take a moment to read the article. It is never to late to begin educating yourself on this issue and getting involved, in whatever form that takes. This problem requires an army. The enemy is relentless in his attempts at keeping us confused, hurting and distracted. Relentless. It is how we have to respond to him. Relentlessly.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Jersey Trafficking Ring Dismantled

I'm originally from New Jersey. This is such an amazing story - it angers me and makes me sick all at the same time. I hope you take the time to read through it all.

Dear Supporters,

We wanted to share the news with you that this week in New Jersey law enforcement dismantled a large human trafficking ring which spanned multiple cities throughout the state, involved multiple traffickers, and victimized scores of women and girls for years. "This is a shocking case of human trafficking," said New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram. "We charge that Allen Brown enslaved vulnerable young women in a living hell of addiction and prostitution, controlling them with narcotics, threats, and beatings. We will prosecute him to the full extent of the law."

We share this case with you all, and we ask for your support for our anti-trafficking efforts in New Jersey. Polaris Project's New Jersey office is currently the only non-profit organization in New Jersey exclusively dedicated to combating human trafficking and modern-day slavery and also providing services to victims of trafficking. Polaris Project New Jersey provides comprehensive programs to all victims of trafficking. These programs include:

• Sex Trafficking Victim Outreach and Identification
• Labor Trafficking Victim Outreach and Identification
• Local Hotlines
• Comprehensive Case Management
• Collaboration with Law Enforcement

The State Department has estimated that each year 14,500-17,500 immigrants are trafficked into the U.S. In the same timeframe, within our national borders, an additional estimated 300,000 children are at high-risk for sex trafficking. It is a sobering reality to also learn that the average age of entry into sex trafficking in the U.S. is 12-14 years old. Human trafficking is present all throughout the United States, and also has a major presence in the state of New Jersey. Past years have demonstrated numerous important federal human trafficking prosecutions in New Jersey, such as: US v. Trakhtenberg, US v. Medrano, US v. Jimenez-Calderon, and US v. Matthew Tompkins. New Jersey also has one of the highest concentrations of strip clubs and Go-Go bars in the United States at more than 400. These are high-risk locations for sex trafficking, notably of Eastern European and Russian women.

Your support is essential to allowing Polaris Project to fight human trafficking in NJ and provide critical services to victims. Please donate now and take a stand as we move closer each day to a world without slavery.

Ambassador Mark P. Lagon
Executive Director and CEO

Polaris Project P.O. Box 77892 Washington, DC 20013

Proverbs 31:8-9

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bald Solidarity

Sometimes I think my posts are to easy - not too much effort to cut and paste what someone else has written. However - the messages I'm posting are important and I risk messing them up with my own words. Here is the body of an email I received regarding an event in downtown Seattle happening tomorrow, August 8th:

Hello all!

If any of you will be in downtown Seattle this Saturday, Bald Solidarity is doing a public head-shaving event to fight violent discrimination against women, including sex trafficking and female genital mutilation. We'd love to have any of you come and show your support, and invite any friends you have who would be interested in hearing about these issues. We'll be talking briefly about the scope and effects of human trafficking during the event.

A shaved head is a universal sign of grieving and shame. We think young girls being trafficked into sexual slavery is worth grieving about, and we think the shame these girls feel as a result of having their lives destroyed in this manner should be removed from them and put where it belongs--on the perpetrators of these crimes.

The event will be on Saturday at Westlake Center Park on 4th and Pine in downtown, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Hope to see you there!

For more information please visit our website at:


Thanks! See you all at our next meeting. :-)

--Bethany Roberts

Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Climb For Captives

The following email was sent to me via the Seattle Against Slavery network. If at all possible, please support this amazing endeavor. Part of me is a bit jealous - I'd love to summit Rainier but that isn't going to happen for a LONG time, if ever and to add to that the imperative task of raising money to rescue women and children caught in terror...

I urge you to do as Scot asks and imagine, for just a bit, what it must be like to be trapped in that world. I started to write out a scenario but realized I was breaking my own rule about this blog. This isn't supposed to be my opinion. However - if you can't imagine what happens to people who are trafficked, email me. I can relate a few stories I have heard.

However you reach the decision, if you can support Climb for Captives in any way, I strongly urge you do so.

From Scot Sulstad:

Dear Friends,

On August 14th a group of eight friends will set out to climb Mount Rainier as the Climb for Captives team. The Climb for Captives tradition began last year as a group of friends decided to turn their expedition into a life-altering CAUSE. Despite difficult weather and various challenges, the group successfully reached the 14,410 foot summit and raised almost $19,000 to help combat human trafficking in South East Asia. The climb left a lasting impression on the team and deepened their burden and desire to help set free those men, women and children who are enslaved.

Following the success of the Climb for Captives expedition last year, we decided to make the climb an annual event and raise the stakes. In a struggling economy, this was not an easy decision. Still, the correct action became clear when we remembered that the tough economy is only making those who profit from human trafficking more determined than ever. We have no choice but to match their intensity.

We have added new team members and have increased our planning and fundraising goals this year. We have partnered with the International Justice Mission to carry out an ambitious project in the notorious red-light district of Mumbai, India. The project is holistic in its approach. It is aimed at:

1. Rescuing 18 victims of sex-trafficking

2. Securing their placement in safe aftercare facilities

3. Pursuing the arrest of their perpetrators

4. Protecting other vulnerable children by restraining the hand of specific oppressors and bringing individual perpetrators to justice. Pursuing perpetrator accountability also creates a strong deterrent effect for future abuses

Continuing the transformation of Mumbai through the development of the local justice system
This project will require the hard work and relentless determination of many dedicated people and can only be carried out with your help. Our goal is to fund this entire project which will cost $40,000. We know our goal, like the project, is ambitious. However, when countering a crime as monstrous as sex for profit, we must be ambitious. These women and children need all of our support. Edmund Burke makes a poignant statement here: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.”

For more on the project, please CLICK HERE

I often wonder the extent we would be willing to go if we could feel, or even see the horror to which these women and children are subjected to daily. If we could feel a fraction of their pain or traumatic circumstances, for even a moment, how different would our response be? Modern slavery is an ugly reality, but still it is the entire reality for an estimated 27 million people at the current time. I urge you to let yourself think about it. To take a journey of empathy; to engage thoughts of what it must be like having your whole life left to the disposal of another person.
Please join us in our cause! Here are some ways you can get involved:

1. Give a financial gift online by clicking here: GIVE NOW

2. Create an “I Support Picture” details here: I SUPPORT

3. Purchase Climb for Captives gear: GEAR

4. Follow the Climb for Captives blog: BLOG

5. Go 10x10! Give $10 (or more of course) yourself and commit to getting 10 people to give $10 and spread the word to 10 more people.

We look forward to updating you on new developments and the climb!

Find out more about the cause and the climbers at www.climbforcaptives.com

For Justice,

Scot Sustad

Click here to join us on Facebook

Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

International Justice Mission

As found on the International Justice Mission's IJMinstitute.org site, posted by Bethany Hoang:

Double success!
I am thrilled to bring you this report today from yesterday’s operations - significant rescues were secured in two nations last evening:

• Last night (July 28), IJM Cambodia and local police conducted a successful rescue operation at a remote brothel: 20 girls and young women were removed from the building in the coordinated operation, and all perpetrators were arrested. The brothel owner, formerly an officer in the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, initially attempted to escape by jumping from a second floor balcony over a brick wall, but was pursued by police and ultimately found hiding in a shed. The brothel was particularly cruel; the girls and women there were never free to leave alone and were sent to service customers at local casinos each night. One of the girls said to IJM staff, “Now we’re out of hell and going to paradise!” The victims are receiving care from IJM social workers as they share their stories with local authorities. IJM will ensure that each victim is equipped with the aftercare services she needs in collaboration with local partners. The accused perpetrators are in police custody.

• Additionally, last night, one of IJM’s South Asia teams conducted an operation in collaboration with local police at a brothel – the operation, a result of IJM investigative work, brought freedom to seven trafficking victims. Six suspected perpetrators were taken into police custody duing the rescue operation. The freed women and girls are being cared for by IJM social workers as they share their stories with authorities.

Praise God for his great love and rescue! As always, any comments you leave will certainly be shared with the team who fought so hard to bring this victory. And please continue to pray for them, as the rescue operation is only the beginning in the justice journey.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Friday, July 24, 2009

IJM SEEK JUSTICE CHALLENGE: September 12 in Sammamish

An email received from Mike Hogan with the International Justice Mission:

Bike, Walk or Run to Support International Justice Mission

As a supporter of IJM, you know the incredible misery one human can inflict on another. You’ve read about the sexual and violent oppression and shed tears for the victims. You’ve felt deep, aching compassion for the pain of someone on the other side of the world as they endure brutal abuse in the hands of a slave owner. This September, you have the opportunity to stand up with your local community and fight back. This time with the “weapons” of compassion, love, mercy, time and money.

We cannot walk in their shoes. But we can walk, run or bike, with our friends, neighbors, co-workers and families to help the victims find a new path—a path of hope illuminated by someone across a vast ocean who cares.

On Saturday September 12, the greater Seattle/Eastside community is coming together to help release these victims from their crushing oppression. The Seek Justice Challenge in Sammamish will offer an opportunity for families and individuals to:

participate in your choice of a 5K run, 5K walk, or 27 or 62 mile bike ride;
fundraise to support the work of International Justice Mission;
raise awareness of human trafficking, exploitation and modern day slavery;
build community and relationships and enjoy a meal together.

Much more information such as how to register/fundraise, routes and event day details can be found at http://www.spconline.org/sjc.

If you have additional questions, please send us an email at seekjusticeinfo@spconline.org . We look forward to seeing you September 12th!

Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

L.A. Times Article: Africa's bitter cycle of child slavery

Another amazing article on child slavery and human trafficking. Slavery is a lot like homelessness - it is a generational thing. Despite the hope of "better" for their children, often what feels a hopeless situation resigns a parent that their children will not have better and instead offer them to what they know. Others do not give up but are duped - often by their own family. A very powerful read:

Africa's bitter cycle of child slavery

Proverbs 31:8-9

Monday, July 20, 2009

Shared Hope International: Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Project

Shared Hope International announced today they will publicly release The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking at a Congressional Briefing tomorrow, July 21, 2009.

Below are the contents of the email I received:

Dear Aaron and Bonnie:

Shared Hope International is headed to Capitol Hill and we want you to join us!

A Congressional Briefing: American Child Sex Slaves Are Being Arrested, not Rescued

American children are being sold for sex to American men in the hundreds of thousands every single day. This is child sex trafficking - the victimization of a child through prostitution, pornography or sexual entertainment. Some in our government know this is happening in startling numbers and have been working to fight the crime at a prosecutorial level, a legislative level and a prevention level. But much more needs to be done. As Shared Hope International works to bring awareness to the public across the United States, the cry for action will be heard by constituents of every city, county and state - be part of the cry for action to your legislators.

Shared Hope International will publicly release The National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America's Prostituted Children on July 21, 2009, at a Congressional Human Trafficking Briefing sponsored by the Caucus on Victims' Rights and the Caucus on Human Trafficking. Shared Hope International has researched the scope of child sex trafficking in America and the responses to this crime by those who come into contact with the victims with support from the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Justice. Reports assessing this victimization in eleven site locations across America have been written and posted on our website: www.sharedhope.org.

The findings and recommendations from Shared Hope International's National Report will be revealed at the Briefing on July 21, as we stand together with the U.S. Department of Justice Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section of and Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, U.S. Ambassador Louis C de Baca of the U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), and Polaris Project to discuss what is being done and what can be done to help the fight against child sex trafficking in America. We need your help!Every Congressman was hand-delivered a copy of the National Report today. Call your Congressman and encourage them to read the report and request that he/she attend the Briefing on Tuesday. You can find the contact information for your representatives and senators at: www.congress.org - simply enter your zip code and choose the "contact" tab for their information. Help us make this a priority for them!

Key Points for your call to Congress:

The Report confirms that hundreds of thousands of American children are being sold in prostitution every year from every state, including yours.

American child sex trafficking victims are being arrested and detained rather than treated as a victim. This must stop! American child sex trafficking victims deserve the same rights and services as foreign victims of human trafficking.

Traffickers and buyers of children deserve harsher sentances. Often the child is arrested while the abusers walk free. Demand that American children exploited through commercial sex be viewed as victims worthy of rescue and justice.

Be A part of History!

Also, we extend a warm welcome for all to attend the Briefing! Stand by our side as we present the reality on child sexual slavery in America.

Schedule for Tuesday:
Congressional Human Trafficking Briefing July 21, 2009
Rayburn 2226
Audience: Hill Staff, Advocacy Groups

10:00-10:30am Ambassador Louis CdeBaca, State Department, TIP: Overview of 2009 TIP Report

10:30-10:50am DOJ Panel Discussion
*Andrew Oosterban, Criminal Division, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS)
*Robert Moosey, Civil Rights Division, Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit

10:50-11:00am Q&A

11:00-11:45am NGO Panel Discussion on Domestic Trafficking
*Former Congresswoman Linda Smith, Shared Hope International
*Ernie Allen, President and CEO, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
*Brad Myles, Deputy Director, Polaris Project

11:45-noon Q&A ****************************************************************

I hope to see you there!!


Linda Smith
Founder and PresidentShared Hope International
You have NO idea how I wish I lived closer to Washington, DC!
Proverbs 31:8-9
Tim Matsui will present on his work in Cambodia as a photographer at Columbia City Gallery on July 29th at 7pm.

Here is the blurb from Columbia City's Gallery:

Tim Matsui's photographs are from his ongoing work documenting the complexities of human trafficking and exploitation in Cambodia. While the story can be as simple as a child sold by his or her parents, the complexities lie in education, poverty, health care, and gender equality; these turn human trafficking, he believes, into a mere symptom of a greater problem.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Friday, July 17, 2009

American Man Arrested in Thailand

Traveling to Thailand for sex is a huge business. It has been estimated that 25% of the men who travel overseas for sex are Americans. Sex Tours, etc. are a booming business.

The following story shows just one aspect of this issue:

Proverbs 31:8-9

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another Pimp Arrested

Another woman forced to prostitute herself for a man who considers violence against women an ok way to make a living.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Thursday, July 9, 2009

July 11-12, 2009

Tim and Anne (from the Western Washington Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking) have just found out they have been accepted to the upcoming Innovative Aftercare Training Program in San Francisco, CA at the end of this month. What an awesome week this sounds like it will be!

In order to help raise the funds they will need for this trip, they are holding a yard sale this weekend, July 11-12, 2009. The address for the sale is: 22398 - 32nd Ave. W in Brier (98036). They are one block west of Brier Rd. at 224th. If you have any questions, please contact them via email: nabs4freedom@comcast.net.

If you are in town this weekend, head on over and see what treasures they have. It is a family yard sale and on the list to be sold so far: PartyLite items, a few antiques, a rocking chair, other furniture, kids' stuff and other miscellaneous items.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Abolitionist Events

As always, Sarah is such an awesome source of information. At our Western Washington Coalition Against Human Trafficking meeting this last Monday evening, the following calendar of events was provided.

July 18-19, 2009 (Sat. & Sun.) - Mill Creek Festival: NCPC Stop Human Trafficking Ministry Team and WWCAHT will be hosting a non-profit table. If you are available to volunteer for a shift, please email Sarah at sweeneysps@comcast.net.

July 31, 2009 (Fri.) - Tee It Up To Drive Out Human Trafficking Golf Tournament: hosted by Free At Last Ministries of Christ the King Church - "Offering Hope to the Enslaved." Avalon Golf Links, Burlington, WA . Information & registration at http://www.freeatlastministry.org/. (Proceeds go to International Justice Mission (IJM) - banquet speaker is Brian Cress, West Coast Director of Development for IJM)

August 26, 2009 (Wed.) - Child Sex Trafficking Conference: sponsored by the U.S. Attorney's office, WASHAct and Internet Crimes Against Children. South Seattle Community College - 8AM to 5:30 PM. Registration $30 - more information to follow.

September 13, 20, 27 & October 4th - Fair Trade: Using Our Purchasing Power for Justice and Hope: Community Awareness class - maximum of 40 registrants. Taught by Sarah Sweeney, President of the Western Washington Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Not for Sale campaign's WA State Director. North Creek Presbyterian Church's Fireside Room (6:30 PM to 8:30 PM). For directions go to http://www.northcreekpres.org/. Registration is $10 and to register, email Sarah at sweeneysps@comcast.net or register on the church's website (fee will be collected at 9/13 class).

September 26, 2009 - Walk to Stop Child Trafficking Now: sponsored by Stop Child Trafficking Now. Warren Magnuson Park (11 AM to 3 PM). Table fair, food, music, concert, speaker (Phil Manginelli). Contact - snapp_er2002@yahoo.com

September 26 (Sat.) - Golf Tournament: sponsored by Frontline for Justice (World Concern Women of Purpose Chapter). Willows Run golf course in Redmond. Details to follow.

October 2-3, 2009 (Fri. & Sat.) - Seattle Missions Fest: Westminster Church in Bellevue. Workshop: "Mobilizing Your Church & Community in Fighting Modern Slavery" from 5:30 to 6:30 PM on Saturday, October 3rd.

October 8-9, 2009 - Global Forum on Human Trafficking: Carlsbad, CA. Speakers include: Lou de Baca, David Arkless, Anna Rodriguez, David Batstone, Anuradha Koirala and more. Check the link for more information.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Free At Last Ministries

...is hosting a golf tournament/silent auction at the Avalon Golf Course in Burlington, WA on July 31, 2009.

Proceeds from this fundraiser will go to the International Justice Mission (IJM).

For more information, click

Proverbs 31:8-9

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Polaris Project and Not For Sale Update

The Polaris Project has announced the implementation of a national database to aid in the fight against human trafficking. They have partnered with LexisNexis in creating this database and look to it to assist the National Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC). The NHTRC runs the national human trafficking tipline for the U.S. For more information on this exciting project, click here.

The Not for Sale campaign is joining forces with MISSSEY to offer their first Innovative Aftercare Training from July 27th to the 31st, 2009 in San Francisco, CA. This training is open to the first 26 applicants and is being offered on a first come, first served basis. If you have a heart to care for those who have been victims of modern day slavery, this training will give you the tools and instruction you need to become a "smart activist" on their behalf.

If I could, I'd be there in a heartbeat. This is not the year for me to be spending money on these things, though.

You can click here to get the details or email aftercare@notforsalecampaign.org for more information and an application. If you go, please let me know how it went when you get home!

Proverbs 31:8-9

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thomas Lubanga Update

There are several articles this month reporting on the trial of Congolese Warlord Thomas Lubanga:

This trial has brought to light again the continued debate over the extent of involvement the United States is willing to have in the ICC:

I apologize the following articles are more about Angelina Jolie than the trial but keep in mind the positives here:

1. Children are testifying against Mr. Lubanga.
(There was concern earlier this year that the children were being threatened and were too frightened to testify, a natural reaction considering what they've been through)
2. The trial is moving forward.
3. It is receiving international attention.

I will continue to update you as I find out more information!

Angelina Jolie attends war crimes trial in The Hague

Angelina Jolie Attends Trial of Congo Warlord Charged With Using Child Soldiers

Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Battle Changes Direction

We'll have to see what it means when Craigslist says "The "erotic services" section will end within seven days and be replaced by an "adult services" category where advertisements will be individually screened by Craigslist staff, Craigslist said in a statement on Wednesday."

Craigslist to drop "erotic services" ads

Whatever they mean by "individually screened" remains to be seen. And we're watching...we won't back down if this means nothing more than a title change in their advertising.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Love in Thailand

It's Sunday. It's a beautiful Sunday. I have the opportunity today to spend time with family. It's going to be a good day.

For so many men, women and children around the world, though, their options aren't anywhere near as vast as mine and that gnaws at me. Every time I am able to enjoy a gift from God, I think of those who do not have that choice and it bothers me to no end.

That's why I do this blog. That's why I donate my time and money. That's why I will continue working for as long as God will allow me, however He wants me to.

A friend of mine told me about this site today. NightLight is an organization that works directly with the women in the bars in Thailand's red light district. In addition to offering the love and hope of Jesus Christ, they offer these women an alternative to working the bars.

They make and sell jewelry.

I have yet to buy a piece to see its quality but the pictures are beautiful. There is one piece in particular that I want so I am going to order it. I'll let you know what I think once I receive it.

In the meantime, head on over and read through the site yourself.


Proverbs 31:8-9

Friday, May 1, 2009

Give It All Away In May

Good Friday, Everyone! First, I have to apologize - my blog has been very quiet for a while. I've been quite sick off and on for the last several months and I just went through another "down" time. I haven't felt like writing. Haven't felt like researching. Just haven't felt...beyond miserable. Hoping I have turned another corner and will be on a straightaway for a bit so I will write more consistently.

I received an email today from the International Justice Mission. I'm going to share the body of it with you here:

This month, drinking great coffee can literally change lives.

During the month of May, Storyville
is dedicating 100% of its revenue to IJM - up to $1,000,000 - to stop slavery, human trafficking and other forms
of violent oppression.

Simply go to www.STORYVILLE.com,
purchase coffee, receive fresh roasted coffee beans in the mail, brew and enjoy
- or consider a gift of gourmet coffee for Mother's Day or to celebrate
graduations this month.

Storyville is based on the idea that coffee is a ritual that gives us time
to think, create and dream. In dreaming, we remember those who
cannot. Your support can enable victims of modern-day slavery to
dream again and to build new lives.

Spread the word by forwarding this information to a friend.

Warm Regards,

Pamela Livingston
Vice President of Communications
International Justice Mission

If you drink coffee or know someone who does (that should cover everyone), head on over and take a look. 100% of their profits for one month! Let's help them make this the best month they've ever had!


Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Malaysia in the News

I found this article today:

Malaysia vows action on Myanmar human trafficking

I pray the Malaysian government does not sit on its hands and goes to work on eradicating slavery from within their borders immediately and stops the selling of refugees even faster.

The Dominican Republic has amended its constitution for the first time to prohibit all forms of human trafficking. Praise God! May that mean they combat human trafficking and also that they rescue and aid victims.

And the charges continue: Human trafficking charges brought. I pray the 16 year old who was lured is reunited with her family and given help.

Our children are so incredibly vulnerable to trafficking, especially because they think they are invincible and technology has made the world so much smaller yet so isolated! We need to continue to educate the public, our children and work together to end trafficking. We should not condone, under any circumstances, the buying and selling of people. Period.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Sunday, April 19, 2009

We Certainly Live in a Fallen World

I receive the New York Times headlines via email daily.

This was in the Sunday Paper:

My hope is you're actually able to read it - the Times requires you to "subscribe" to their paper. It doesn't cost you anything, you just have register and tell them who you are.

Human trafficking is mentioned at the bottom of the article. No surprise to me that prostitution and trafficking are flourishing in Iraq again. Read Revelation lately?

It could be very easy to give up, lose hope and not press forward. The problem is huge and human beings are quite resourceful in coming with new ways to profit from old crimes. We have to fight on, though. In this article, there is some "shoulder shrugging" mentioned - by the police. We can never accept that prostitution and trafficking are "just the way things are."


Proverbs 31:8-9

Saturday, April 4, 2009

An Article Worth Reading


I found that article today as I was searching the internet to see what's new in human trafficking.

I haven't seen the movie "Taken" as yet but hope to soon. It has been said by several people I know that it's a really good movie as far as explaining human trafficking.

Awareness. Awareness. Awareness. We need to continue working to get the word out. People are only starting to believe this MAY be happening on the large scale that it is.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Human trafficking law used in sex case

Go King County!!!

Human trafficking law used in sex case

Thank you to The Seattle Times for reporting the story.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


So... I learned a new term today. It's called Sexting. Sexting is sending sexually explicit pictures via cell phone. I learned of it via a news story on King 5 picked up from MSNBC and the Today Show.

I haven't delved into this too much, however, what I watched today was quite disturbing. The most disturbing of which is the young woman who hung herself because an ex-boyfriend sent nude pictures of her to several people. She took them herself but that doesn't excuse the young man's humiliation of her. Shame is a powerful consequence and in this case, it cost her her life. I'm a bit curious, though as to that ex-boyfriend's reaction to her death. Did he care? Does it bother him that his actions had a direct role in the death of a young woman he had, supposedly at one point, anyhow, cared about?

In addition to that, a young man sits in prison for distributing child pornography after sending nude pictures of his 16 year old ex-girlfriend to "get back at her." As you watch the video, that young man says he's "made a mistake - a very small mistake..." Another 18 year old from Florida laments that he shouldn't be on the same registered sex offender list next to rapists and murderers and that his sending nude pictures of his ex-girlfriend to over 70 people shouldn't ruin his life.

Honestly? I'm a bit stunned and angered by the story to know quite how to react. I believe the 15 year old girl in Pennsylvania arrested for creating child pornography (she took and distributed through MySpace nude pictures of herself) might be going a bit far but while attorneys and 18 year old men are crying foul...

How do we handle the idea that 70% of the teenagers asked admitted to participating in sexting?

Why do our teenagers think it is no big deal to do this? Not just the sending pictures around but taking or allowing nude pictures to be taken of them? How is shaming another person like this a "very small" mistake? What would that young man be saying if it was 25 years from now and it was his own daughter's picture being sent around?

Have we stopped teaching our children the sacredness of their sexuality? Of their bodies? The heartbreak so many kids feel when breaking up with someone is compounded and amplified if they have had sex with that someone. I have heard it said time and again "that's just the way it is." For some things (you get cancer, you get laid off from a job, your house catches fire), that's very true. For things such as teaching respect, responsibility for one's actions, long-term consequences of actions - for that matter simple courtesy - those things or lack of them are not "just the way it is."

I know - kids are tough and teenagers are the toughest kids. They really don't have any idea of the impact their decisions can have on the rest of their lives so talking to them and telling them the dangers of what they are doing would have limited effect. Perhaps we go the other way. Are we allowing them too many freedoms with the technology we have? Do they really need cell phones? Do they need instantaneous connectivity with thousands if not millions of people at once?

Do we drill into our children from a very early age that our bodies are the ONLY thing we have that is truly ours to give away? What else can we tell them? In all honesty, almost everyone has to learn things the hard way it's just... the penalties are getting steeper and as adults/parents what is our job in protecting our children?

I have more questions than I have answers. My heart just breaks for these young women (by the way - not a single story reflected young women sending around pictures of naked young men...) and for that matter, the men (at 18 they want to be considered men, apparently, for everything except when they break the law...) who perpetuate this.

Pornography, by the way, is usually a stepping stone to pimping/prostitution and trafficking... We thought the internet was an "immediate" enough problem. Now the cell phone takes that idea to a whole new level.

Anyone else feel sick to their stomach?

Proverbs 31:8-9

Monday, March 2, 2009

Backyard Abolitionist Tour

A quick reminder - this upcoming Sunday, March 8th, David Batstone will be at North Creek Presbyterian Church with the Backyard Abolitionist Tour. The performance will run from 1:30-3:00 pm.

It's not too late to request tickets. Email sweeneysps@comcast.net with your name and number of tickets. They will keep them for you at the Will Call Table.
Proverbs 31:8-9

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Couple of Interesting Articles Today

These headlines jumped out at me today. Please pray for the innocent children caught up in this evil. Not just the ones they rescued today (10 in Seattle) but those they haven't found. Also, please pray the evidence to convict the traffickers holds up in court and that justice is served.



Additionally, this article is in today's Seattle Times.


What do you think of what they're looking to do? I know what I think but unless I lose my temper again, I'm trying to avoid stating my opinions too much (ok - I'm from Jersey. I can't help but express my opinions so I'm sure my earlier rant won't be my last one...).

Proverbs 31:8-9

Monday, February 16, 2009

Things to make you go grrrrr....

This blog isn't supposed to be about my opinions but today I have to vent a bit. In my search for some information on a subject, I came across a post titled "Friend Pimps." The woman that wrote the post used the terms 'whore' and 'pimp' to talk about how she and her husband look for friends for one another.

She's younger - in her 20's I guess and I'm NOT saying she's a bad person. I am, however, asking why people don't think about what they're saying and why do they not realize just how powerful their words are?

Do people really know what a pimp is? A "pimp" is a man who controls women - forcing them to have sex with his "clients," collect money and then turn it over to him. Perhaps the woman is *cough* "lucky" and her pimp will set her up via parties. If not, he forces her out onto the street to stand on the corner, walk the road, etc. until she has made her quota. What is her quota? Who knows. That's up to the pimp. She, after all, doesn't get to set her own hours or her own rate. He will "train" her in what to charge for what service.

Now... let's do some math. What if he wants her to stay out until she makes $500 for the evening (mind you - that's low)? If he says she can charge $50 for intercourse that's at least 10 guys. Ten. Men. She. HAS. to. have. sex. with. Keep in mind this is not a choice for her - she does not get to stop working until she has made her quota for the evening. Oh... and if she doesn't meet quota fast enough and pimp wants to go home to sleep? IF he lets her back in the house, she's probably going to get beaten. If not? She's sleeping on the street because, after all, it's "his" house and she didn't "get her work done." Ah... and one other thing. Her quota usually has to be met 7 days a week. 365 days a year. Unless she has the misfortune of getting pregnant. Or AIDS. Or some other venereal disease. Or killed. She can take time off if she gets killed...

Do not - do not insult me - by trying to tell me these girls choose this life. A few of them might but that number is so incredibly low and if you don't think so, start doing some research and reading. I already have.

Most of these girls start much younger than 18. A lot of them have been kidnapped off the street (or out of the mall), drugged, often driven to another state, raped and beaten into submission. They don't always know where they are, they are confused and given enough drugs, they are turned into addicts. They are also told they are now "ho's" and "police arrest ho's." So... any, all, and every security they once knew or had has been yanked from under their feet. Society considers them dirty and disgusting, the police just want to arrest them and no one is looking for them (so that wonderful pimp has told them.).

And we glorify pimps. We talk about pimping out our cars, our homes, our clothes, our jewelry... whatever we want and today I see "friend pimp" and all I can wonder is why? Really - is there no other phrase that can't express the point as clearly? Our words contain power - so we say and so we know. If our words contain power, why have we elevated the word "pimp" to the status it holds today? "Pimp" "pimped" "pimped out" are terms of endearment almost...terms our youth strive to achieve for themselves.

Those men - who ARE pimps - know the world is laughing along with them. Excusing what they actually do by glorifying what they are by minimalizing the degradation to which the word "pimp" alludes to.

When we desensitize ourselves to something, we condone it. We condone it. We condone it.

A "whore" does not always see any other choice. Sometimes a "whore" is a woman who was drugged, raped, drugged again, raped again, drugged again, raped again, beaten a time or two, unable to escape, until she is so addicted to the drugs she's been given and feels so bad about "allowing" herself to have been "duped" that she can't even look someone in the eye let alone ask for help...

How I wish you could see my anger could seethe in this post. How I wish you could see how physically ill it makes me to hear people toss these words around as if the people who you would actually label them by don't exist. Don't matter. Don't feel.

We hide behind what makes us comfortable... "It's her choice." "She decided to live this way." So we feel justified in using these words, knowing "those people" don't really matter anyway. We stay comfortable in our ignorance, hiding behind our doors, in our warm, safe homes with our spouses, 2.3 kids, dogs, picket fences....

While right down the road, right around the corner from your safe, suburban house - a 14 year old is being forced to walk the street by some man who has had his named tatooed across the back of her neck because she is "his" (property). And he is her pimp.

The next time you use the word "pimp" try to remember that it is the pimp who prostitutes women. Women are rarely prostitutes but are prostituted.

They deserve more respect than you offer them. They deserve your compassion and your action - against those who would choose to profit off of their backs. Our men need to be taught. Our sons need to be taught. Look at your son - do you want him abusing women that way? Look at your daughter. Can you see her servicing ten men a day as her "career choice?" Your son. Your daughter. Not any different than the men and women you glorify or demonize with your words.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

International Justice Mission

The annual IJM fundraising dinner will be Tuesday evening, April 21, 2009 at the Sheraton Grand Ballroom in downtown Seattle. I do not have a time yet for the evening but will post that as soon as I get it. Sharon Cohn Wu, IJM Senior Vice President of Justice Operations will be their featured speaker.

Tickets are $50 each or $500 for a table. You can register by going to:


I hope you can attend. I hope to fill a table. If you would like to sit with my husband and I, please let me know.

If you are a bit further south, IJM President Gary Haugen will be speaking at the Portland, OR event on May 14, 2009. That dinner will be held at The Governor Hotel. You can go here to find out more information:


Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Congo Warlord Update

Please pray this trial goes more smoothly, that witnesses do not panic for fear of facing prosecution in Congo (quote from article: The start was also delayed while it was explained to the young witness that he might face prosecution in Congo if he incriminated himself.), that justice is served for those who are victims of Thomas Lubanga.

I will continue to follow this story as much as possible.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Backyard Abolitionist Tour

David Batstone
Brant Christopher
will be at the NorthCreek Presbyterian Church in Mill Creek, WA
Sunday, March 8
1:30 - 3PM
For more information: Backyard Abolitionist Tour

Proverbs 31:8-9

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Case to Watch

This was in the headlines this morning. I will try to keep track of the trial and what happens through the year. As I read the article, I see they expect it to be a while before the trial ends.

World court told Congo warlord used children to kill
Proverbs 31:8-9

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Coalition Meeting

A reminder: Monday, January 26, 2009 will be the next Western Washington Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking Meeting. We will begin praying at 6:30 PM and the meeting will open at 7PM. We'll be at Mill Creek Foursquare.

Also, don't forget - Jane Talfel, the U.S. Executive Director for Hagar International will be joining us.

I hope you can come!

Proverbs 31:8-9

Friday, January 16, 2009

Focus on the Family Interview with Linda Smith

An amazing interview with Shared Hope International's Founder Linda Smith. She was on Focus on the Family recently and you can click the link below to listen to the interview.

Focus on the Family Interview with Linda Smith


You will probably be shocked to hear some of the things Linda has to say. As Linda answers several of their questions, one of the interviewers, Dr. Julianna Slattery, states "The natural inclination is to turn away from this. Even talking about it now, it's too evil to take a look at."

Human trafficking is evil in about its ugliest form, I believe. It preys on the weakest and poorest of us and it has grown to the point where it it isn't limited to the poor and weak. Our middle-America, middle-class children are being picked up at the mall, off the street as they walk to school - from places you wouldn't think about - and are being trafficked all across our country. People NEED to make themselves aware. Arm themselves with information. Linda Smith offers suggestions on what people can do about trafficking.

I hope you can take the time to listen. It's about a half hour and for this one you may want to have tissues handy, too.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Human Trafficking - Movie

This upcoming Sunday, January 18th, beginning at 7PM, ion television will be broadcasting "Human Trafficking" with Donald Sutherland and Mira Sorvino.

I saw this movie when it originally aired in 2005. When I saw the trailer for it on ion last night, I went looking for a brief description on the movie and this was the best I found (from the Frontline For Justice/Northshore Baptist Church recommended human trafficking books/dvd list):

"Human Trafficking" (NR) - A Lifetime miniseries (fiction), with Donald Suthlerland and Mira Sorvino. It is the story of a criminal sex-trade ring led by a Russian gangster, and the lives of the women and girls who are being exploited. It is difficult to watch, but will give you a feel for the people who are involved in this form of slavery. Not recommended for children.

It's a movie worth watching if you have the time. Again, ion television (for us that's channel 3, I don't know if that's the case for everyone) beginning at 7PM, this Sunday.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Guest Speaker

In at least one earlier post, I listed our next Coalition meeting on January 19th.

That is the wrong date. Please forgive my mistake - I'm a bit excited to get back to the business of the Coalition! It has been difficult between the snow and the holidays and I feel like a part of me has been missing.

We will be meeting on January 26th, beginning at 7PM (6:30 for prayer, if you would like to join us) until 9PM at Mill Creek Foursquare Church.

In addition to getting back into the routine of meeting, I am excited about this upcoming Coalition meeting because we are having a guest speaker:

Jane Talfel is the U.S. Executive Director for Hagar International. Hagar International is an amazing NGO committed to the recovery and empowerment of women and children who are victims of abuse, particularly domestic violence, human trafficking and sexual exploitation. This mission is achieved through Hagar commercial enterprises and social programs and in strategic partnerships with the private sector, governments and NGO’s. Hagar support entities operate in Australia, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United States. Hagar is currently expanding its programs into Afghanistan, India, Laos, and Vietnam.

Proverbs 31:8-9

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

January 11, 2009
The third National Human Trafficking Awareness Day
The following is taken from a report sent to someone in our Coalition by a Catholic nun who has been devoted to the cause of human trafficking for many years:

"No one is free, until everyone is free." Vivet Pandik

God of life, truth and freedom, to you we speak:

O God, you give peace and you desire justice for all people, hear our prayers for the enslaved members of our global human family, our sisters and brothers, our children and young men and women, held in slavery, brutalized and traumatized by the horror of human trafficking. Hear our anguished cry for them, see our hidden tears for them, as we pray together to you, at this moment, in their name.


Abuses against women are relentless, systematic, and widely tolerated, if not explicitly condoned.

Violence and discrimination against women are global social epidemics… Our duty as activists is to expose and denounce as human rights violations those practices and policies that silence and subordinate women. We reject specific legal, cultural, or religious practices by which women are systematically discriminated against, excluded from political participation and public life, segregated in their daily lives, raped in armed conflict, beaten in their homes, denied equal divorce or inheritance rights, killed for having sex, forced to marry, assaulted for not conforming
to gender norms, and trafficked into forced labor. Arguments that sustain and excuse these human rights abuses - those of cultural norms, “appropriate” rights for women, or western imperialism - barely disguise their true meaning: that women's lives matter less than men's.
Litany of Remembrance for those who are enslaved:
For child soldiers, child laborers and children exploited in pornography, we pray:
Response: Deliver them from darkness into your wonderful Light.
R. For young girls, exploited on city streets and hidden in brothels,
R. For enslaved women, desperate, alone, and abandoned,
R. For men in bondage, betrayed, forgotten and despairing,
R. For all Human Family members currently enslaved around the world, we pray:

Litany of Thanksgiving for the Spirit’s Action in our World:

Leader: For UN and world leaders, state and local government officials,
Response: Give them with wisdom, confirm them in courage,bless them with perseverance.

R. For members of NGOs, anti-trafficking organizations, women’s and children’s rights groups
R. For members of religious communities and women’s organizations working for justice and equality
R. For children and youth engaged in their own struggle for security, independence and freedom
Other intercessions as desired. . .
Closing Prayer - Leader:
O God, You know the anguished pain we feel for those who are trapped in slavery. May this sorrow move us to action for justice, contemplative prayer and daily conversion of heart. Together we pray:

All: Give us Wisdom, that we may know how best to serve. Give us trust that our lives and works for others may bear lasting fruit. Give us courage, because life is short and each day a gift, given to share. We ask for faith, because we see sorrow and death around us. We ask for hope, because you are the God of Life. We ask for gratitude, because you call us each by name and daily promise us to make all things new. Amen, Alleluia
Song: Amazing Grace (written by John Henry Newton*)

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…that saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now I’m found…was blind, but now, I see.
Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear…and Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...the hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares...we have already come.
Twas Grace that brought us safe thus far...and Grace will lead us home.
The Lord has promised good to me...His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...as long as life endures.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years...bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise...then when we’ve first begun.
“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound…that saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found…was blind, but now, I see.

*John Henry Newton (July 24, 1725 – December 21, 1807) was an Englishman, Anglican clergyman and former slave-ship captain. He was the author of many hymns, including Amazing Grace. Among his greatest contributions to history was encouraging William Wilberforce, a Member of Parliament, to stay in Parliament and “serve God where he was”, rather than enter the ministry. Wilberforce heeded the former slave ship captain’s advice and spent the next twenty years successfully working for the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire.
~ J. Cather snjm 2009

Proverbs 31:8-9

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Law & Order Comments

If you didn't watch last night's episode of Law & Order, nothing I say next will make any sense.

Let me open by saying I didn't like the ending. The idea of that boy spending any time in prison because he was forced into doing what he did just rankled me like fingers on a chalkboard.

Instead, I choose to view it as speaking to the need for advocacy on behalf of children like him. No person on this planet should be enslaved. Anywhere. Ever. That it is done with an attitude of "What? We're HELPING the boy..." boggles my mind.

Yes - I know. It was a fictional story but I can see it unfolding in real life almost as it did on TV and then what? A child, stolen from his home, forced to sleep in a closet (often in conditions a LOT worse than where the family "used" to keep the litter box), work until all hours of the night, not play, not go to school - ends up in prison. Tried as an adult? Or...spend what's left of his already non-existent childhood in juvenile detention.

Possibly. I also know there are provisions set in place by the TVPA (Trafficking Victims Protection Act) that might put him in a place other than prison (it seems I need to brush up on it again because nothing specific comes to mind!). But that line of adults in handcuffs... How much trauma should a trafficking victim have to endure before someone figures out the "right" place for them? Immediately upon recognition as a victim of trafficking, there should be a place for the victim to go, to be and feel safe.

Truth is - jail is usually the best they have. There aren't shelters for victims of trafficking. They barely exist in this country. There are people trying to change that but MORE people need to step up and help.

This issue, the possibilities and all of the horrors it can entail seem to be a tunnel so dark we will never, never see the light at the end. The attitudes - after all - what a lovely couple the traders made, hmm? They were giving these children a "better life." How many people justify such treatment with that statement. Right - the children were no longer living in a one room cardboard hovel with 9 siblings and a single mother who can't work because she's sick and the father is either long gone or dead.

Anything would be better than that.

It's the "anything" that gets you. No - scrubbing floors and dishes, doing laundry and ironing, dusting and vacuuming, sweeping and raking leaves and whatever other horrible job the family doesn't want to do, from 4 or 5 AM until midnight or later does not qualify as "better." In addition to being malnurished, the child ends up with rashes and skin issues from cleaning supplies. They rarely eat better than they did before they were bought...their enslavers often withhold food as a form of punishment for a job not done up to "standards." They are beaten, forced to sleep on the floor without blankets or pillows of any kind, they are often kept barefoot (can't run away quite so easily if you don't have shoes) and unwashed. They are often raped. They aren't taught English. They aren't taught anything, actually. Well...not beyond how to fold a fitted sheet properly, anyhow.

This blog wasn't supposed to be about my personal opinions (although they were going to creep in now and again but I am trying to keep them to a minimum) but even though last night's show barely scratched the surface of what is happening around the world - and right in our own backyard, it kindled the anger again. Ok - it sent up flames of anger so big I'm amazed the ceiling in my bedroom isn't scorched. The buying and selling of people needs to stop.

Look over your fence - if it's not in the house next door, it's a few doors down. Trafficking is not just for pushing people into the sex trade (although that is probably happening in your neighborhood, too).

People are not a disposable resource. Under absolutely no circumstances should they be considered as such.

It's not a new issue. It needs to become a done issue. While last night's show was more tame than some I have seen and didn't focus as hard on the victims of trafficking, I am grateful each and every time human trafficking gets attention. I pray it touched you - touched you to want to find out more.

And you're still invited January 19th to our next Coalition meeting.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Law & Order Tonight - Human Trafficking Episode

This is an email I sent out today to just about everyone in my address book. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I just copied it here.

Good morning, everyone. I wanted to send this quick email to give you the information regarding Law & Order tonight. Most of you know how I feel about the issue of human trafficking. I have not seen this episode but if you choose to watch it - have tissues handy and be prepared to feel numb at the end. Even in its most benign form in any TV show, I end up in tears. It is hard enough to imagine - it is even harder to watch, even if it is just being acted out and isn't "real." The real stuff is impossible to watch for more than a few seconds.

If you do watch the episode and have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask. And - if you decide you want to know more about getting involved, our next Coalition meeting is Monday, January 19th. I'd be more than happy to have you attend that with me.

Thanks for reading & I hope you are able & choose to watch tonight.


--- On Tue, 1/6/09, Peggy Callahan Free the Slaves wrote:
From: Peggy Callahan Free the Slaves Subject: Free the Slaves: Child Slavery on Law & Order tomorrow night 10 PM/ 9c NBC

Law & Order tells a compelling story of child slavery in New York on Wednesday night on NBC at 10 PM/9 central.

Two detectives on the show are investigating a double murder when they uncover and a child slave trade ring between Haiti and New York. “This is one of those rare episodes that touched everyone who worked on it,” says Executive Producer Rene Balcer about what he calls probably the most powerful episode of the season. Rene told Free the Slaves, “Even our crusty thick-skinned editors were moved to tears by the ending. It also opened a lot of eyes to the present-day, modern-world reality of slavery and indentured servitude. I would urge everyone who, as a result of this e-blast, watches the episode to call NBC thanking them for allowing the writers and producers of Law & Order to shine a spotlight on this issue.” [NBC Viewer Services at 212-664-5740]

Getting slavery into the mainstream is a core goal of FTS. We’re thrilled that one of the most popular TV shows in history is highlighting slavery. The producers of the show were inspired to write the episode, “Chattel”, after reading ‘A Crime So Monstrous’ by Ben Skinner. Ben traveled around the world researching slavery and visiting FTS’ partners including in Haiti. The show illustrates some of the psychological complexity of working with the victims of slavery who have spent years living with deprivation and fear. Keep in mind, the episode is not a documentary so when you hear Sam Waterson say there are no anti-trafficking statutes in New York – thankfully that is no longer true. In fact, New York recently passed an anti-trafficking law and is one of 40 states that have criminal anti-trafficking statutes on the books. But only half of those states have victim protection laws to help the survivors of slavery. You can find out more about child domestic slavery in Haiti [the restavek system] and what FTS is doing with partners to combat it here:

And…FTS is featured on the Law & Order website: http://www.nbc.com/Law_and_Order/

Please forward this to everyone you know in the universe.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Coalition Meeting

An early reminder ~

The next Coalition meeting for the

Western Washington Coalition to Combat Human Trafficking

Will be held on Monday, January 19, 2009.

Prayer begins at 6:30 PM and the meeting will begin at 7PM.

We will be meeting at Mill Creek Foursquare.

Hope you can join us.

Proverbs 31:8-9