End It Movement

Today, February 27th, is being used as a day to highlight the scourge of modern day slavery.

Why the 27th?


For starters, best estimates of the number of slaves right now is 27 million.

That is 27 million people that don’t have the freedom to come and go as they please. People that live under fear and coercion, who suffer violence or the threat of violence daily.

They may be child sex slaves in southeast Asia or eastern Europe. It might be a family stuck in bonded labor in India, trapped on a brick kiln. It could even be an immigrant held against their will in the United States.

I’ve long advocated for the fight against modern slavery. It breaks my heart to know that their are people caught in such a horrible web. It hides in the dark, so it takes a lot of people shining the light to help expose it.

Please take a moment today to educate yourself a little on this issue. In my sidebar on the right I have listed several organizations that work in the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery.

Twitter is a great place to find organizations that fight this. Some that I know about are:
@IJM – International Justice Mission
@EndItMovement
@NFS – Not For Sale
@SavingInnocents
@AgapeIntMission – Agape International Missions
@TraffickingEnd
@TheSoldProject
@TheA21Campaign
@ECPAT – ECPAT International
@F2W – Free2Work
@SomalyMam
@Polaris_Project
@Love146
@FreeTheSlaves
@GEMSGirls
@CNNFreedom – CNN Freedom Project

There are others out there. It only takes a minute to look one up and find out what you can do in daily life to make a difference. If nothing else, put a red “X” on your hand today. When people ask you what it means, tell them you’re shining a light on modern slavery.

Most of all, pray for the victims. Pray for those on the front lines of the fight. Pray for justice from the God of justice.

We can make a difference!

Let’s do it.
—-

The Locust Effect

What are you reading?

My goal for 2014 is to read more non-fiction. I read fiction all the time to study the craft, support friends, and review Christian speculative fiction. I want to balance it out more this year.

My latest book I’m reading is The Locust Effect by Gary Haugen and Victor Boutros.

Imagine living in a world where if something horrible happens to you or a loved one, such as an assault, rape, or other injustice, you have no place to turn for redress. No one to stand up for justice.

That happens too often in the world, and that is the subject of The Locust Effect. Their premise is that without effective justice in the form of appropriate and honest law enforcement and judicial system, the issues of global poverty, human trafficking, and violence will never see resolution.

This Thursday, February 27th, is a day to focus on the scourge of modern slavery. I will be posting in support of his initiative, and if you are interested in the fight against injustice and modern slavery, I believe The Locust Effect will be a key factor in the future battle.

I’ll post more when I’m finished. If you want to know more, go to the Locust Effect website.

The Just Church

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy

and to walk humbly with your God.  

The words of the prophet Micah are spoken in churches all over the world. Believers love this simple declarations of what Jesus asks of His people.  

Christians try hard to walk humbly with the Lord. We strive to show mercy to people. However, we often ignore or struggle with the clause of “acting justly.” Especially for Western Christians, the command for justice is flat-out missed or simply misunderstood.  

There is a new move of the Spirit, awakening His people to the need to provide justice for those who cannot speak up for themselves, to proclaim freedom to the captives, to minister to the widow and orphan. It is a slow burn, but it is exciting to see the embers leaping into flame in various places of the body.

 A new spark is being provided by the new book The Just Church by Jim Martin of the organization International Justice Mission (IJM).

IJM has been fighting for justice for many years now and is one of the leading organizations battling injustices like forced labor, human trafficking, sexual exploitation of women and children, and modern-day slavery in all its forms.  

Jim Martin has been working with them after transitioning out of the pastoral role in his church, becoming a church liason with IJM. This experience made him especially qualified to write The Just Church.  

This book is a challenge to the body of Christ to reclaim the lost aspect of Micah 6:8 and to actively act justly in the world. There are other books that try to awaken Christians to the need of justice and to expose the problems of modern slavery and other forms of bondage towards vulnerable peoples that is easy to overlook in our daily lives. The Just Church is a book that takes the church on journey to forming a viable justice ministry to compliment evangelism and mercy ministry.  

The book is laid out in three sections. The first section establishes a theory that faith doesn’t really grow without significant risk and suggests that justice ministry is a needed part of the church and can help develop a healthier discipleship in His people. The second section takes the reader through a practical journey on establishing a justice ministry in the local church. It isn’t a step by step approach, allowing for the individual characteristics of any body guide the process. The last part of the book is a series of appendices with Scriptures on justice, resources for following through, and study materials. Each chapter ends with a QR code that can be scanned by a smart phone or tablet, leading to a video with Jim summarizing each chapter’s main point.  

It is well-written with an easy conversational style. Jim lays out the challenges inherit in this type of ministry and doesn’t sugar-coat it. It won’t be easy. But he recognizes the hope that is out there for people if Christians will rise up and stand in this gap, so the book is infused with this balance of challenge and hope.  

Any critiques are minor. The videos are a very nice multimedia touch in this day and age – but I’m a fast reader so I’d rather not slow down and watch a movie. Those who like this feature will be pleased. Also, sometimes the book seems too much like a selling tool for IJM. I realize Jim works with them and is most familiar with their work, but there are other fine organizations out there doing similar work as well. This isn’t a big issue, and I support IJM financially myself.  

Overall I am thrilled to have had a chance to read this book and see the new horizons coming in the fight against injustice. The need is starting to become known in the western Church. The Just Church takes the movement to the next step and provides a practical tool to those churches looking into how they can join in the justice ministry sphere. It isn’t for special groups like IJM or others listed on my links on my blog. The Bible speaks very clearly about God’s love of justice and it is every Christian’s responsibility to see the threefold thrust of Micah 6:8 walked out in the world today.  

I’m thankful to Jim Martin and IJM for their work. I did receive a preview copy for promotional purposes, without any expectation of a positive review. My endorsement is heartfelt. The Just Church is a powerful tool in the battle against modern injustice. I highly recommend it.
 —

Justice Awareness

Computer problems are not conducive to blogging.

With that out of the way, I wanted to quickly point out a couple of resources for people interested in justice issues and fighting things like human trafficking.

Half The Sky is a two part documentary on the plight of women worldwide, as there are so many instances of oppression on women throughout the world. The documentary shows things like rescuing girls from brothels, providing learning opportunities, and exposing the issues that affect so many women in the world. It is airing on PBS tonight and tomorrow night. It looks to be a powerful way to show the needs of fighting for women without rights or opportunity. Like the title implies, half of the population is treated less than human and is discriminated against in too many ways, especially in the Two-Thirds World.

Next week is the launch of the book The Just Church written by Jim Martin of International Justice Mission. I’m reading it to help promote the launch and it is challenging so far. I’m planning to have a review of it next week.

Two quick items to let people know about. These are major things in the world today. I believe they are very close to God’s heart, even if Half The Sky is a “secular” production.

Displaced People

Are you glad you have a home? Are you proud to be an American?

What if that were taken from you?

Did you know that there are people in the world that aren’t refugees that do not hold a citizenship in any country? There are people that haven’t been chased out of one country into another due to war or persecution, but they just aren’t counted.

One situation is in the hill tribes of northern and western Thailand. They are technically eligible for Thai citizenship, but the regulations for getting it are often too cumbersome for rural tribes.

Why does this matter?

It limits these people in getting jobs or accessing services, and it makes them especially vulnerable for human trafficking, from labor-based slavery to sex slavery. They are not protected by laws that are otherwise designed to be a resource for workers. They can’t even own the land they live on.

The good point is that organizations like International Justice Mission are working with these tribal groups to facilitate registration and walk them through the confusing processes that are in place currently. By being an advocate, they do prevention work to keep these people from being so vulnerable for abuse.

These things happens nowadays. Thankfully there are many groups working to help this problem. Sometimes we can make a difference before the problem of trafficking actually happens, and working with vulnerable peoples and lifting them up economincally and providing avenues for justice will be the ways we eventually end the problem of modern day slavery.

Displaced People

Are you glad you have a home? Are you proud to be an American?

What if that were taken from you?

Did you know that there are people in the world that aren’t refugees that do not hold a citizenship in any country? There are people that haven’t been chased out of one country into another due to war or persecution, but they just aren’t counted.

One situation is in the hill tribes of northern and western Thailand. They are technically eligible for Thai citizenship, but the regulations for getting it are often too cumbersome for rural tribes.

Why does this matter?

It limits these people in getting jobs or accessing services, and it makes them especially vulnerable for human trafficking, from labor-based slavery to sex slavery. They are not protected by laws that are otherwise designed to be a resource for workers. They can’t even own the land they live on.

The good point is that organizations like International Justice Mission are working with these tribal groups to facilitate registration and walk them through the confusing processes that are in place currently. By being an advocate, they do prevention work to keep these people from being so vulnerable for abuse.

These things happens nowadays. Thankfully there are many groups working to help this problem. Sometimes we can make a difference before the problem of trafficking actually happens, and working with vulnerable peoples and lifting them up economincally and providing avenues for justice will be the ways we eventually end the problem of modern day slavery.

Freedom Sunday

There is a movement rising.
Over the last several years there has been a huge increase in awareness about the problem of human trafficking around the globe. Many groups have sprung up to take direct part in the fight to end the scourge of modern slavery. I have listed several of these on my sidebar.
One such group, Not For Sale, is organizing Freedom Sunday for another year. This started in 2010, and it has been growing among churches since.

This year Freedom Sunday is being held globally on February 26, 2012. It is not necessary to join or participate on that specific weekend, but it is a great time to come together as one voice in the body of Christ to bring freedom to the captives, and light to the oppressed.

They provide many resources that churches can use, from videos that can be shown for a quick overview, to sermon or Bible study notes, to songs that speak of justice, plus many more.

I encourage you to bring this to the attention of your church leaders. I know they have many pressing things on their plates, but remember Jesus’s words, “If you do this for the least of these, you have done them to me.”

Freedom Sunday

There is a movement rising.
Over the last several years there has been a huge increase in awareness about the problem of human trafficking around the globe. Many groups have sprung up to take direct part in the fight to end the scourge of modern slavery. I have listed several of these on my sidebar.
One such group, Not For Sale, is organizing Freedom Sunday for another year. This started in 2010, and it has been growing among churches since.

This year Freedom Sunday is being held globally on February 26, 2012. It is not necessary to join or participate on that specific weekend, but it is a great time to come together as one voice in the body of Christ to bring freedom to the captives, and light to the oppressed.

They provide many resources that churches can use, from videos that can be shown for a quick overview, to sermon or Bible study notes, to songs that speak of justice, plus many more.

I encourage you to bring this to the attention of your church leaders. I know they have many pressing things on their plates, but remember Jesus’s words, “If you do this for the least of these, you have done them to me.”

The Problem With Freedom – Day 3

There is a concept in medicine called “herd immunity.”

If you are trying to immunize a population of 100 people against some nasty disease, you don’t have to reach everyone with the vaccine. That is hard to achieve. The concept of herd immunity means that if you manage to treat a certain number of the population – for argument’s sake we’ll say 80 – then the disease does not have enough places to live.

It survives by infecting a host and reproducing, passing itself to the next victim. If one person gets the disease, but doesn’t run into one of the other twenty unvaccinated people, then the disease can’t continue the process. It will die out in its host whether their immune system takes it out or the host expires. Now there is one less option for spread.

I think the concept of herd immunity is key when discussing sex trafficking and reducing demand.

I’ve spent the past couple of posts talking about the problem with freedom. (Day 1 and Day 2) To sum up: in Western culture and especially America, we like to say that people should have the freedom to do whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t hurt others. The problem becomes that we don’t always realize the unintended consequences of our actions, and more people are hurt than we realize.

We may enjoy our chocolate, but the cocoa beans sold to our favorite candy company finance a brutal regime. We may want a purebred puppy, but this supports puppy mills that churns out animals that are unhealthy and contributes to an overpopulation of pets.

Men may think they can look at pornography or solicit sex with a prostitute, and it is only their business. It’s not hurting anyone, and they have the right. Right?

My second post on this topic connects the increasing demand for porn and prostitution with the exploitation of children in the sex industry, as does this excellent Newsweek article. I started this whole series because of an article in the Village Voice trying to debunk statistics regarding human trafficking and attacking the campaign by Ashton and Demi’s DNA Foundation that wants to eradicate child sex exploitation and trafficking.

I’ve described the problem. The solution is always harder than identifying the problem.

Men, we have to realize that we are contributing to the exploitation and ruination of thousands of teen girls and vulnerable women. Our lust is providing a disease with plenty of hosts. The young and vulnerable women who are exploited by this industry are the victims, being ravaged by abuse, violence, and neglect. Whereas the DNA Foundation, IJM, Free the Slaves, and GEMS among others work to help these women, the Village Voice continues its defense of its adult services site Backpage.

As the Newsweek article details, the anonymity of the internet has created a huge increase in the demand for sexual buyers. Men think we can do what we want in private without hurting others. Whether downloading items off the net or arranging services at a clandestine location, it is a right. However, it feeds an industry that is devouring more and more of the “herd”.

If men would stand up and say “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls,” if men would realize that these activities are not harmless or private, but contribute to a larger problem, then perhaps we would start seeing some herd immunity develop. If enough men were vaccinated, as it were, then the demand would lessen and there wouldn’t be as much exploitation of the vulnerable.

I am not naive enough to believe we can eradicate this problem fully. I do believe we can work to educate men, the demand part of the supply and demand equation, that their actions are harmful and reduce the problem this way. Look at the major public education campaigns in the past:

  • Telling people how HIV is transmitted and how to protect themselves.
  • Reducing CFC’s to protect the ozone.
  • Eliminating racist words from being used in mainstream culture.
  • Abolishing the slave trade in the 1800’s through William Wilberforce and others.

The problem of men flouting their freedom and fueling a sick industry is real and worsening. People are waking up to this and speaking out, like at the DNA Foundation. The position of the Village Voice is wrong not because I am a religious fanatic or zealot. Their position is wrong because it hurts many people and deserves to be debated and debunked.

Community is not built by everyone having their own way. Community is built by people agreeing to limit themselves for the greater good, by seeing that limits are required to live together and provide true freedom for all.

The Problem With Freedom – Day 3

There is a concept in medicine called “herd immunity.”

If you are trying to immunize a population of 100 people against some nasty disease, you don’t have to reach everyone with the vaccine. That is hard to achieve. The concept of herd immunity means that if you manage to treat a certain number of the population – for argument’s sake we’ll say 80 – then the disease does not have enough places to live.

It survives by infecting a host and reproducing, passing itself to the next victim. If one person gets the disease, but doesn’t run into one of the other twenty unvaccinated people, then the disease can’t continue the process. It will die out in its host whether their immune system takes it out or the host expires. Now there is one less option for spread.

I think the concept of herd immunity is key when discussing sex trafficking and reducing demand.

I’ve spent the past couple of posts talking about the problem with freedom. (Day 1 and Day 2) To sum up: in Western culture and especially America, we like to say that people should have the freedom to do whatever they want, as long as it doesn’t hurt others. The problem becomes that we don’t always realize the unintended consequences of our actions, and more people are hurt than we realize.

We may enjoy our chocolate, but the cocoa beans sold to our favorite candy company finance a brutal regime. We may want a purebred puppy, but this supports puppy mills that churns out animals that are unhealthy and contributes to an overpopulation of pets.

Men may think they can look at pornography or solicit sex with a prostitute, and it is only their business. It’s not hurting anyone, and they have the right. Right?

My second post on this topic connects the increasing demand for porn and prostitution with the exploitation of children in the sex industry, as does this excellent Newsweek article. I started this whole series because of an article in the Village Voice trying to debunk statistics regarding human trafficking and attacking the campaign by Ashton and Demi’s DNA Foundation that wants to eradicate child sex exploitation and trafficking.

I’ve described the problem. The solution is always harder than identifying the problem.

Men, we have to realize that we are contributing to the exploitation and ruination of thousands of teen girls and vulnerable women. Our lust is providing a disease with plenty of hosts. The young and vulnerable women who are exploited by this industry are the victims, being ravaged by abuse, violence, and neglect. Whereas the DNA Foundation, IJM, Free the Slaves, and GEMS among others work to help these women, the Village Voice continues its defense of its adult services site Backpage.

As the Newsweek article details, the anonymity of the internet has created a huge increase in the demand for sexual buyers. Men think we can do what we want in private without hurting others. Whether downloading items off the net or arranging services at a clandestine location, it is a right. However, it feeds an industry that is devouring more and more of the “herd”.

If men would stand up and say “Real Men Don’t Buy Girls,” if men would realize that these activities are not harmless or private, but contribute to a larger problem, then perhaps we would start seeing some herd immunity develop. If enough men were vaccinated, as it were, then the demand would lessen and there wouldn’t be as much exploitation of the vulnerable.

I am not naive enough to believe we can eradicate this problem fully. I do believe we can work to educate men, the demand part of the supply and demand equation, that their actions are harmful and reduce the problem this way. Look at the major public education campaigns in the past:

  • Telling people how HIV is transmitted and how to protect themselves.
  • Reducing CFC’s to protect the ozone.
  • Eliminating racist words from being used in mainstream culture.
  • Abolishing the slave trade in the 1800’s through William Wilberforce and others.

The problem of men flouting their freedom and fueling a sick industry is real and worsening. People are waking up to this and speaking out, like at the DNA Foundation. The position of the Village Voice is wrong not because I am a religious fanatic or zealot. Their position is wrong because it hurts many people and deserves to be debated and debunked.

Community is not built by everyone having their own way. Community is built by people agreeing to limit themselves for the greater good, by seeing that limits are required to live together and provide true freedom for all.