Do you know what I can DO with $200?!

Two Sundays ago while at Bay City Wesleyan Church, the pastor (my father) was talking about finances and how God can help us make the shift from being consumer-minded to steward-minded.  In it he talked about how on our own we think that giving money hurts and when we think about giving, say $200, we think to ourselves, “$200!  Think of what I could do with $200!  I don’t want to give that up.”  And what could we do really?  Get a new TV or a few new pieces of clothing?  When Pastor Mark said the words, “Do you know what I could DO with $200?” I immediately thought of what a underdeveloped village could do with $200.  I know that organizations like World Hope give out micro-loans of $200 or less to families in developing areas.  It goes to buy something like a goat or cow and it becomes a renewable source of income for the family and village.  Micro-loans like that can turn around the economic situation of an entire village!  And when families and villages are economically healthy their men , women, sons and daughters are much less prone to being taken and trafficked into modern slavery.

Do you know what I can do with $200?  I can turn things around for people I haven’t met yet.

Here’s the challenge.  If you’re like me and actually get money back from the government come tax time, consider spending $200 on this site: World Hope International’s Giving Page, and you will greatly increase the impact of that bit of money.  We can have such a large impact for such a simple gift.

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How to Turn Your Daughter into a Prostitute

1) First and foremost it is important that your tear down your daughter’s confidence and sense of self-worth.  Tell her she’s not pretty, she’s looking fat so she should go on a diet, she’s stupid and will probably end up doing nothing with her life.  When she has a lack of self-worth she will be vulnerable and more likely to agree to do things she wouldn’t normally do in order to get affection and affirmation.

2) Allow abuse to go on in your home. Do nothing to stop it. Let it happen to you. Show her that it is perfectly acceptable to be beaten, disrespected and used by someone with more power than yourself.  It is especially helpful if you or someone else abuses your daughter directly. If she tells you this has happened to her or if you suspect it has, DON’T RESPOND.  Allow this to continue as long as possible so she will get used to being treated sub-human and will come to believe there is no escaping situations when men force themselves on her.  

3) Don’t ask where she’s going and where she’s been when she goes out. In fact, start as young as possible (12 or 13 years old) just letting her go out on her own with no parental supervision and no questions asked.  This will help her understand that you don’t really care what happens to her and what is going on in her life and it will push her towards making big life decisions without any input from you.

4) Don’t get to know her friends.  So what if she’s been seeing some older guy and he’s been buying her expensive gifts?  Hey! At least that’s one less thing she’ll bug you to buy for her.

5) KICK HER OUT OF THE HOUSE.  Someone else (your friendly neighborhood pimp) will take things over from here.  With nowhere else to turn and no sense of self-confidence or security she will be easy prey when that older guy comes and tells her she’s beautiful and so mature and can come live with him.  “He’ll take care of her.  She’s his girl.”  But then he’ll rape her and share her with his friends and she won’t run partly because she’s scared to, partly because he says he loves her and she’s starved for affection, and partly because you’ve taught her that being abused is all she’s good for.  He’ll have her working the streets in under a week.  

If you have accomplished all these steps and have introduced your daughter to life as a prostitute by the time she turned 15 years old, you did pretty good, but not as good as most.  The average age a girl enters into prostitution in the United States is age 13. 

WHAT!?  Read the following note before you write me hate-mail:

If you are reading this thinking, “What!?  How could you write anything like this?  What parent would want to turn their daughter into a prostitute?  This is horrible!” I want to say — EXACTLY MY POINT.  No good parent would want to raise their daughter in such a way that they will live a life of being raped for money.  I know I don’t want that for my baby girl.  But the more I’ve learned about sex-trafficking in the United States the more I realize that some really poor parenting is contributing to the problem.  Many parents are unwittingly making their daughters perfect prey for pimps by doing the things I’ve mentioned in this tongue-in-cheek essay.

I write this hoping to open your eyes.  Remember that every prostitute is someone’s son or daughter.

Here are some resources that may illuminate things further.

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A Change Is Gonna Come!

Just Listen.

Sam Cooke’s song has meant a lot of things to a lot of people over the years.  You can tell it’s message holds meaning to so many partially by the number and variety of artists who have covered the song since it came out in 1964.

A Change Is Gonna Come -- cover on YouTube

Here’s a few examples (in no intentional order).  Aretha Franklin, SealLauryn Hill, Luther Vandross, Ottis Redding,  Gavin DeGraw, R Kelly, Beth Hart (CHECK IT OUT!  It’s intense.), Tina Turner, and several YouTube hopefuls such as this young lady who definitely listens to one of my favorite bands, Metric (or at least she should).  But I digress.

This song makes us think of the change we want to see.  The change we hope to see.  The following are a sampling of the changes that cross my mind today as I listen to Mr Cooke sing.

What Change Am I Looking For?

Many years have passed since slaves were held on cotton plantations in America and some have passed since segregation was the legally mandated norm.  But our country has not fully realized the dream that Americans of all races have equal opportunity and be treated with honor and respect.

But I know a change is gonna come.

Though it is legal nowhere, modern slavery is practiced everywhere.  Approximately 30 million people are enslaved worldwide —  most of them women and children.  They are threatened, coerced, beaten, and stolen to feed our greed.

But I know a change is gonna come.

Many injustices continue in our world unchecked because good people haven’t stood up, found their voice, or played their part in setting our world aright.

But I know a change is gonna come.

What Change Are You Looking For?

In our world?  In your home?  In your mind and spirit?

What does this song say to you today?

Want more inspirational music?  Check out Meaningful Media.

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Want to End Human Trafficking? There’s an App for That!

Want to End Human Trafficking?  There’s an App for That!

Actually there are a few apps for that and no, I’m not kidding.  Hey people, let’s use technology for all it’s worth.  We know traffickers are, right?  I have downloaded each of these applications onto my iPhone for free.  If you have a smart phone, go to your application store and search for the names in blue.  

Call+Response

This app enables the everyday abolitionist to send the message to companies that there is a market for slave-free products.  You see, we know that the bottom line for businesses and companies will always be the bottom line so C+R is asking consumers to use their iPhone app to convince companies that slave-free is profitable.

Janice Hanawi demands that Forever 21 be SlaveFree.

The new C+R iPhone app collects undeniable data that consumers are demanding slave-free products. And you can participate wherever you are. Take a picture for SlaveFree Label and the app uploads it and geolocates you on a public map. Register your mobile phone on Blood Phones and it maps your location and phone’s brand. The app is also tied to social media, so you can post to Facebook and Twitter about the actions you just took and challenge friends to do them too. You and your network can make a daily impact with just a few minutes of your discretionary time wherever you are.

International Justice Mission

An app to keep you informed. It will enable you to:

IJM's App for that

  • Get breaking news updates from the field – and post notes of encouragement for IJM’s field teams;
  • Receive personalized updates on topics you are most passionate about;
  • Find the latest action steps you can take to support IJM’s work;
  • Connect with IJM events and groups in your area, or create a new group of your own;
  • Use tools to raise awareness about IJM’s work in your community;
  • and more!

IJM’s FREE app is available for iPhoneAndroid and Windows Phone 7 users.

Free2Work

An organization called Not For Sale created the Free2Work App to help us to use our buying power for good — instead of evil (I couldn’t resist.)  Want to know the likelihood that the item you are thinking of purchasing was made with forced or child labor?  Simply scan the bar code and see the grade Free2Work gave it.   Free2Work conducts extensive research before assigning grades on a scale of “A” to “F” to each brand. They look at company efforts in four main categories: policies, monitoring, transparency, and worker rights.

For more information on their grading process, visit the Free2Work Website.  Through the site you can also access in-depth information about industry issues through their industry pages and news feeds, and you can learn more about trafficking and supply chains through their blog posts.

Check out this video.

What tools have you found?

Have you found an app that helps you as an abolitionist?  Are there other ways you use technology to fight human trafficking?  Tell us about it in a comment!

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Top 10 Facts About the “S” Word

What stood out to you?

To me what stood out was the number one fact.  It really blew me away to think about it.  I heard in another video I watched recently that the old abolitionists were able to bring down the transatlantic slave trade in 20 years.  How would our world change if we found a way to end modern slavery in just 20-25 years.  You and I could see the end of it!  Our children’s children would have to read about it in books and wonder what they would have done if they were in our shoes, living in a world with slavery still alive and well.  Today we everyday abolitionists take courage from folks like Harriet Tubman and William Wilberforce.  Tomorrow our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will take courage from our stories… IF we rise up and all play our part in bringing them a world without slavery.

Here are some ideas on how you can get started:

5 Easy Ways to Fight Human Trafficking

Take Action

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Indiana Wesleyan University Students Against Human Trafficking

IWU Student, Katie, Joins the Polaris Project’s Anti-HT Campaign

After reading the post, Valentines Against Human Trafficking my sister, Katie, got her paper, pen and iPhone out and went to work.  Here’s what she and her friends are sending in from Marion, IN.

Thank you for participating

The photos have been sent in.  I look forward to seeing them on the Polaris Project’s blog.  In the mean time, here’s a thank you note (post) from Polaris Project.  

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Valentines Against Human Trafficking

Share the Love and Fight Slavery This Valentine’s Day

The Hunters: Into each other. Not into Human Trafficking.

The Polaris Project is currently running an HT awareness campaign called  “___________” against Human Trafficking that ends on February 14th, Valentine’s Day 2012.  It’s an EASY way to raise awareness among your friends.  Just take a pic, post it on Facebook and email it to Polaris Project so they can post it on their blog too. Then ask your friends to do it as well.  It may give you the opportunity to have a conversation about this issue for the first time with some people. And it will definitively help Polaris Project send the message that everyday folk like you and me may have many interests, but we all care about modern slavery and want it to stop.  An important message to send to legislators and companies alike.

It Was Easy

You can try what I did.  It was easy.  I made one sign that had a space and then said “Against Human Trafficking.”  Then I cut up another paper into 6ths, wrote the appropriate descriptive category on one and taped it to the poster.  After I did my pic I picked up a marker, the tape and the other 5 pieces of paper and went around replacing the category piece for each person who participated.   If you don’t want to drive around town tracking down your friends, post your pic on Facebook or text it to friends and ask them to do the same.  EASY.  If you’d like to do this, just get the pics emailed to info@polarisproject.org by Valentines Day. 

For more information on this campaign visit the North Star blog entry: “__________” Against Human Trafficking

Here are some my friends and I did so far.

Laura: Into gaming. Not into modern slavery.

Nikki: Into motherhood. Not into human trafficking.

Mark: Into granddaughters. Not into modern slavery.

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Fashion for Freedom Success!

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Well folks, it was a success.  On January 20th 2012 Sara, Lynda and I threw a jewelry party to raise money for Destiny Rescue.  The jewelry was hand-made by girls in Thailand that were rescued from forced prostitution and the money raised goes back to the organization to help them continue their work discovering, rescuing, and restoring these precious girls who are victims of modern slavery.

Our goal was to make $500 and I’m proud to say we surpassed it.  (Drum roll please…)  We made a total of $766!

Thank you, all who participated.

And to those of you who are thinking of throwing a Destiny Rescue party yourself, I highly recommend it.  It was super easy, lots of fun, and an effective way to introduce the topic of human trafficking to our friends, family and coworkers.

As a result of this party, not only did we raise funds for a great cause, but we also got a few more people who told us they want to be involved in planning our next abolitionist event!  How great is that!?  I guess we’ll have to get a bigger table for our next meeting at Brewtopia (our coffee shop).

For more information about Destiny Rescue or how you could host your own party visit Sara’s post and then head to Destiny Rescue’s official website.

 

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Ready for a party!

20120119-233152.jpg

My friends and I have decorated and set out the jewelry. Lynda even made cookies with uplifting messages, all for our Destiny Rescue jewelry party tomorrow night. What a fun and easy way to fight modern slavery.

If you want to learn more about Destiny Rescue or would like to have a jewelry party of your own visit our page on Destiny Rescue under Organizations that Make a Difference.

See many of you tomorrow!

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Street-corner prostitute: “working girl” or slave?

What comes to your mind when you hear the word, prostitute?  Do you picture something like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman?  You know, a “working girl” who happened to choose the “oldest profession in the world” to make her living?  Do you see someone dirty, crass, and really into sex who thought she might as well make money at what she loves?  What do you see in your mind’s eye when you try to picture a prostitute?  If you were to ask me this a few months ago I would probably describe a prostitute as a woman wearing too much make up and too little clothing and who chooses to sell her body for money.  But these days the image of the prostitute girl has begun to come in a little clearer.  And it’s not what I thought.

Did you know the average age a person becomes a prostitute in the United States is 12-14 years old?  12 years old!  That’s a child.  That’s right.  Child prostitution is happening in the United States.  And it’s the NORM.  Now how does a 12-14 year old get into the “oldest profession?”  Not on their own that’s for sure.

It’s starts out something like this: she meets someone.  He’s a little older but he tells her she’s beautiful.  Special.  He takes her shopping.  Buys her gifts and makes her feel like he’ll always provide for her and take care of her.  That he loves her.  He gets to know her hopes and fears.  Maybe meets her family.  Tells her she’s too mature to let her parents tell her what to do all the time.  Tells her she can live with him.  Then he rapes her.  He tricks her, coerces her, beats her, breaks her– sells her… because he owns her.

He owns her because she is now completely dependent on him for clothes, shelter, affection.  He owns her because she knows he’ll kill her, she knows it, unless she makes him money.  He brands her with his sign — tattoos his name in her skin.  He puts a price tag on her (figuratively and sometimes literally).  He takes her out of her home town from city to city where she won’t get help and he won’t get caught.

Does this sound like she’s working or more like she’s enslaved?

My concept of a prostitute was inaccurate on many counts.  When I picture a WOMAN I’m wrong because she probably started when she was a GIRL (or BOY for the guys).  When I see her as CHOOSING I don’t realize she’s probably been COERCED.  I thought a prostitute SELLS HER BODY, but in actuality her body has been claimed as someones PROPERTY so how can SHE sell it?  And last but not least I thought she did it for MONEY, but I now see the prostitute does it for so much more.  She does it for SURVIVAL.  To survive the wrath of her owner — I mean pimp — for one more day.

I’m still learning everyday about human trafficking.  It turns out that it’s as close as the street corner.  Here’s a little of what I’m reading/watching.

The South Los Angeles Report |.

Visit Shared Hope International and see what grade your state got in their report cards for preventing sex trafficking.  My state, Michigan got an F.

Watch an ABC Nightline clip on teen prostitution in America.

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