Blogging for Freedom – Episode 1: ‘Do Something Now’!
Posted by hilarymak
My interest and research into modern-day slavery and human trafficking has continued. Starting whilst watching the ‘Passion’ conference, and being amazed at the students commitment to do something about this issue, I then became aware that Jan 11th was ‘Human Trafficking Awareness Day’. Thanks to the power of the internet, especially in the form of google and twitter searches, I found a whole raft of information and organisations that are practically working in this area across the world. My daily twitter feed is now looking quite different!
One of them particularly caught my attention, the A21 Campaign, aiming to abolish injustice in the 21st Century. Check out their website for more info! They list 21 possible ways to get involved in seeking to end modern-day slavery and I decided to go through this in some detail and just think through what I could realistically do. This blog post is one opportunity I am taking. One of the 21 suggestions is to blog / write / draw / make a video to highlight the issues. There is also an encouragement to focus efforts around the 21st day of each month for the whole year. SOOO….. here goes, I am aiming to blog, fast and pray on or around the 21st of the month for the year, raising the profile and calling out to God to break the chains of oppression and injustice in the world.
I have just finished my first ever 24 hour fast (I’m even slightly ashamed to admit I’ve never got that far before!) but its not going to be my last. It really does focus the mind, your body tells you something is different and there is more time available for praying as you aren’t eating. A small step but it feels significant.
So what else is A21 doing? Well, these are some of the problems as they see them. They are particular focussed on Europe and explain the reason for this.
THE STATISTICS: FOCUS EUROPE
- Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today, generating approximately 31.6 billion USD each year. Specifically, trafficking for sexual exploitation generates 27.8 billion USD per year.
- There are 1.39 million victims of commercial sexual servitude worldwide.
- Over 25 percent of sex trafficked victims are trafficked from Southern and Eastern Europe.
- 90% of victims trafficked into the European Union member states will end up in the sex industry.
- Tragically, only 1-2 percent of victims are rescued, and only 1 in 100,000 Europeans involved in trafficking are convicted.
Its a pretty horrific story. I also heard from another source that the town of Croydon, an outer London suburb and just a few miles from where I live, is the British centre for human trafficking. So its a real problem , close to home and its not going to go away unless we take action.
So this is what A21 are doing:
They are particularly working in Ukraine, which is a primary source of girls trafficked into the sex trade across Europe. There is a schools awareness programme, helping young people to become aware of the dangers of trafficking, and support with employment and training so other options for making a living are available rather than taking the risks of dubious job offers overseas.
Their other main country of work is Greece, a main destination for girls trafficked into the sex trade. They opened a Crisis Care centre there for rescued victims in 2008 and also are working to educate young men about the effects of prostitution on victims. They are also running a transition programme to help those who have been rescued to stay free and not get retrafficked.
The rest anyone can read up on the website, and consider joining in the support. An impressive group of people really wanting to ‘do something now’ to stop the traffic of human beings into sexual slavery.
So … watch this space for a once a month blog on different aspects of modern-day slavery and especially what hope is being brought and what efforts are made to bring freedom to those caught up in this evil in our world.
You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted;
you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,
defending the fatherless and the oppressed,
so that mere earthly mortals
will never again strike terror.
Psalm 10 v 17 and 18