Slavery At The World Cup

I’m sick.

I’ve caught the fever. Well, you won’t notice with a thermometer. But I have come down with World Cup fever.

As an American soccer fan, it doesn’t generate as much excitement here as other places. But when I was in Germany in 2006 when they hosted the Cup, it was incredible.

Super Bowl? World Series?

Nothing.

Not compared to the World Cup played in a soccer mad country like Germany then or Brazil starting today as they host the 2014 Cup.

But as excited as I am to see some amazing soccer, I’m also saddened. Because I know with all the spectators and chaos, there’s going to be something going on in the shadows.

Events like the World Cup are prime times for sexual abuse and child prostitution/sex trafficking.

Numbers are hard to come by since it is conducted in the dark places, but it is well-known phenomena at large events like this for an increase in human trafficking, forcing people into prostitution against their will.

Thankfully there is much more awareness about this issue all the time. According to Free the Slaves, Brazil has an innovative program to help stop forms of human slavery.

There has also been a major campaign to educate visitors that it is illegal to pay to have sex with anyone 17 and under in Brazil. It’s A Penalty has used media all over Brazil, and their videos have even been shown on flights to Brazil.

So what can we do at home to make a difference against human trafficking during the World Cup?

First of all, if you’re watching a game, take a moment to pray for the vulnerable street children and others who could be prey to a trafficker. Let’s enjoy the football but be mindful to intercede for those who could be in harm’s way.

If you want to be more educated about this or support a group fighting human slavery and child exploitation, check out my Twitter list of organizations and people involved in the fight.

Here’s to an exciting and safe World Cup for all the people of Brazil!

Keep The Readers Hooked

arrowAs I continue to write and revise, I am learning all the time. What a surprise – we don’t learn it all at once. I know all of us writers can say that.

When I hired a freelance editor this winter to help me with my manuscripts, one of the things he picked up on was my chapter endings. Early in the story I had a tendency to wrap up the scene at the end of a chapter instead of leaving people hanging for more. Toward the end of the book I did better with the cliffhangers, but I needed to stretch it all the way through the book.

I saw his point and worked on making sure I did more to make people want to read on. But then I started watching the show Arrow on the CW network.

Holy hanging by a thread, Batman.

The show is a modern version of the DC Comics superhero Green Arrow. They’ve made him gritty, realistic, and the show is a mix of adventure and adrenaline mixed in with some amazing story hooks.

And cliffhangers.

The bad guy shows that he’s got a new trick up his sleeve. The one person that was killed – are they really dead? On and on it went, never a dull ending.

There is not an episode that doesn’t end leaving the viewer crying, “More!”  That worked when we were catching up on Netflix, but now that my boys and I are caught up, we’re stuck waiting.

And we’re dying.

I thought I had the trick of keeping a reader hooked figured out, until I started watching Arrow. Now I know what it is really like. Of course the types of media are different and the type of episodic programming of TV doesn’t fully translate to writing a novel. I can’t have such major events happening each chapter.

But it doesn’t hurt to try.

So Ben Wolf, mr. freelance editor (who did a fantastic job BTW, I would highly recommend him), we’ll see what I can come up with now.

Check out this video for a slight hint on what Arrow is like each weekend.