It’s in our backyard

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That’s what shocked Dr. Katharine (Kate) Bushnell in the nineteenth century.  Authorities wouldn’t believe her stories of girls enticed, held captive, and abused in the pristine forests of northern Wisconsin. And today we’re hearnig such a story right in a Cleveland neighborhood- three girls held captive for ten years and no one knew?

For the last five years — off and on– I’ve been writing Kate’s story. A valiant, fearless, unconventional woman living in the Victorian era, it was a lot more difficult for Kate to talk about prostitution, rape, brothels, bondage then than it is in today’s far too open society. The pendulum swings from one side to the other. As the first book Boundless reaches completion, I’ll be writing more about what I’ve found — not only what’s happening today, but how society dealt with “trafficking” more than one hundred years ago.

Share your thoughts and stories.  It’s not a pleasant subject, but it is among us, and I believe God cares about those who are caught in this desperate quickisand.

 

 

 

 

Changing directions

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I’ve shared my joys and concerns over my trip to South Africa — and if new issues arise I’ll get back to it.  But I want to begin sharing what I see going on as threats to women around the world.  Check out the progress of Boundless, my new book about Dr. Katherine Bushnell, who spent her life trying to release women from cruelty, trafficking and disabling attitudes.

Here are two short pieces about women’s response to recent acts of violence:

In the Muslim world, society often judges a victim of rape, rather than the perpetrator.  In spiet of this, women in Turkey are now rallying around a 26-year-old mother of two who killed a man who repeatedly raped her while her husband was away on a seasonal job.  She shot the rapist as he again returned to force his way into her house.  She then turned herself in to the police, saying she preferred to die but had cleansed her honor for her children’s sake.  Intercede for the protection and salvation of this woman and her family.  Also uphold Turkish politicians who wrestle with women’s issues in a harsh male-dominated environment. TWO

India (MNN) –
Remember that rape case in New Delhi that got international attention recently?
Six men assaulted a woman aboard a moving bus, and she later died from her
injuries. The defendants’ lawyer blames her for the attack. “That attitude
is very common in India. To blame a woman for dressing inappropriately or being
in a certain place at a certain time: these are just not constructive, not helpful attitudes.” Brent Hample of India Partners says the culture is a big part of the problem. “Even before they’re born,girls are discriminated against.” If they make it past birth, young girls
are often sold into sexual slavery. “Pray that God would do a miracle within the culture of India [and] within the people of India — within their hearts.”

woman and men created equal

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As I finish editing Boundless, the story of Dr. Katharine Bushnell, I’m overwhelmed at the persistence and bravery of this nineteenth century woman. She spent her life exposing sexual slavery and calling on legislators to pass laws to raise the age of consent and outlaw White Slavery (trafficking then.) She was passionate to serve God and to teach about the value He placed on all humanity. The Bible compelled her, at great personal cost, to fight against those who devalued women in her day. And little has changed – I was heart-sick to read about little girls SOLD BY THEIR PARENTS for as little as $10US dollars. Read on. . .

Asia—2014– In Nepal and India, extreme poverty results in malnutrition, disease, illiteracy, and often deep spiritual depravity.
Little value is placed on women and girls in these countries where they are sold into sex slavery by members of their own families for as little as $10 USD, depending on their age and beauty.

They refer to themselves as “the walking dead” for they are without hope. Girls as young as 7 have been sold into slavery. These women and girls are confined in a room called “the cage” where they are beaten, starved, and raped until their will is broken. Then they are forced to service customers to repay their debt–a debt that incurs more in interest than they are paid for their services. those brothels, conditions are filthy and sickness is rampant. Girls who succumb to infection are turned out on the streets to die. (Just like infected girls were turned out of the brothels in the British military cantonments in India in the 1890’s)

Vision Beyond Borders launched its Vision for Women to answer the growing crisis. The safe house they helped fund just 6 months ago is full, and more women are ready to come out of the industry.
Adapted from Mission Network News by Joan Kramer

At least today exposing trafficking does not depend on a lone woman here and there to fight against the evil. The Bible teaches that men and women were created equal in God’s sight, and equal to work side by side: “God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female created he them. So God blessed them and told them, ‘Multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters over the fish and birds and all the animals’ . . . Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way”. Genesis 1: 27-29, 31.

Appeal postponed

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Fifth appeal postponed for Asia Bibi
Pakistan (MNN) — Imprisoned in 2010 and sentenced to death for blasphemy, Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi has had her appeal postponed for the fifth time. No new date has been set for her to appeal her death sentence. Blasphemy is a serious crime in Pakistan, and anyone accused receives harsh treatment from the courts. Asia is the mother of five. Her husband and children have gone into hiding. Asia is held in solitary confinement many miles from her family. Several Pakistani leaders who have attempted to help mitigate her case have been killed, so it’s possible the judge is afraid to reverse her death penalty—hence the postponement.

This young women in her late twenties faces a different enslavement from trafficking. But she is locked into a life of hopelessness– a life of fear and loneliness. Her crime? She defended Jesus Christ, her Lord, when a group of villagers working in a fruit orchard refused her water because she was a Christian.

One can only imagine the word battle that followed as she defended her right to drink from the village well. A likely scenario– the irate women went home to their husbands angrily denouncing Asia’s religion, accusing her of blasphemy against Mohammed. The news spread, a crowd gathered and raced to the police station. Once the accusation was carried to the police, there was no turning back. Asia was found guilty of blasphemy, sentenced to hang and has languished in a dirty, bug-infested, prison, cooking her own meager meals to avoid being poisoned by guards or other inmates for almost four years. Its reported that her family– husband and five children– are moving from house to house, even to other cities, to seek safety.

Jesus came to free captives unjustly held–captives bound by every kind of evil. His mission statement in Luke 4 was based on the words of Isaiah the prophet. “The Spirit pf the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has appointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to announce that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. Isaiah 61:l,2.

Many are working behind the scenes to free Asia. Those of us who can’t lobby, work through the halls of justice and power, can at least pray for her health, and peace of mind that God has not forgotten her.

A ready market in the Magreb of Africa for young girls.

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Professor Lawrance of the Rochester Institute of Technology said that if he were to visit any number of West African countries “I would have no difficulty, within a matter of hours, in finding a place to procure children.”

While the imagery of a slave market conveyed by the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, may have been aimed partly at attracting attention, Professor Lawrance said, “it is not a stretch of the truth to imagine where you could buy children, sitting and waiting to be sold.”

Child trafficking is considered such an insidious problem that the United Nations Human Rights Council has assigned special rapporteurs to investigate it for nearly 25 years. The last rapporteur, Dr. Najat Maalla M’jid, a Moroccan pediatrician who specializes in the protection of vulnerable children, said in a report to the council in March that they were more at risk than ever to sexual slavery. “Millions of girls and boys worldwide are victims of sexual exploitation, even though this issue in recent years has gained increased visibility,” she said.In report she issued in December, Dr. Maalla M’jid said that in recent years, the increase of child trafficking has been greater for girls.

Rights advocates say many cases go undetected. Susan Bissell, the chief of child protection at Unicef, said Wednesday in a phone interview that there were 1.2 million known cases a year of child trafficking globally, “and that’s a gross underestimate, because of situations in this context; it’s totally clandestine.”

Rights groups have conducted numerous studies documenting the trafficking of girls and women in Africa, which is often done through deceptive means. In a 2010 report, for example, Human Rights Watch found networks in Ivory Coast and Nigeria that systematically trafficked in Nigerian women who had thought they were being recruited as apprentice hairdressers or tailors or the person who took them would hurt them.”

Ms. Bissell said part of the enforcement problem lay in many victims’ lack of official identities — 230 million children do not have birth certificates, which makes them virtually impossible to trace.
Adapted from New York Times May 8,2014

This evil seems to have no end. Can you imagine what would happen if these perpetrators had grown up in a loving home with parents who modeled honesty and respect for each other? Parents who made sure children were educated–or at least taught basic values like love, kindness, integrity, a work ethic,– and that God, who loves them, created both boys and girls as equally valuable and full of potential?

Doubly cursed

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Why would this young woman be attacked and murdered? Because of ser sex? Because of her religion? or both?

April 8, 2014 (MNN) — Muslim Brotherhood radicals are being blamed for the horrific murder of a 25-year-old Christian woman in Egypt. According to reports, Mary Sameh George was in a suburb of Cairo delivering medicine to an elderly woman near a church when the attack took place.

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs writes that she “literally was dragged out of her car by a mob of radical Muslims. They had just left the Mosque after Friday prayers in a suburb of Cairo. Their prayer service had been generating some anger.”

One report indicated the woman had a cross in her possession. “The mob started banging on her car. [They] eventually climbed up on top of the car. The roof began to collapse. Then they dragged her out and beat her and stabbed her until she was dead.”

The message this attack is sending to the world is obvious, says Nettleton. “Radical factions of Islam are still very strong in Egypt and are still vying to have control or to have influence in the country.”

The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed in Egypt before the revolution. With elections approaching, Nettleton says, “This is really going to be a challenge for whoever the new leader is to get the Muslim Brotherhood under control and to really provide law and order and to provide protection for Egypt minorities including our Christian brothers and sisters.”
MNN

Throughout history women, as the weaker sex, have fallen prey to assault, rape, murder. When you combine her sex with her faith in Jesus a double message is sent: women are to be kept subservient, and Jesus is our enemy. If they only knew that Jesus loves her — and them.-

Trafficking at the world Cup

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Brazil (MNN) — The FIFA World Cup is among the world’s most widely-viewed sporting events, with the last event filling stadiums in South Africa with some 3.18 million fans.
With less than 90 days to go until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, tickets are in high demand. But so are Brazilian women and children.
Trafficking is already on the rise in Brazil; government reports indicate a 1,500% increase last year. The 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games are expected to bring another spike.

In the nineteenth century, when Kate Bushnell was asked to expose trafficking in the British military in India, her efforts had to be kept secret. She shocked a defiant parliament which refused to believe her findings. Today society is not not only keenly aware of the growing
epidemic (like at the World-Cup) but many organizations, public and private, are working to eliminate the scourge. Yet the plague continues without abatement. No wonder Kate’s mentor advised her to stop wearing herself out visiting “dens” and fighting authorities, and find ways to change men’s attitudes toward women as objects.

Is there a solution?

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One hundred ten years ago Dr.Kate Bushnell([see more under “about the books”} finally figured out that trafficking, a word unknown until a few decades ago,would never end until the hearts of men and women changed. And little has changed– young trafficked girls are like a chocolate bar at the checkout counter. Chocoholics can’t resist the temptation until they’ve changed their lifestyle and diet. Sexual addicts will always find a place to find available girls, until their moral and ethical values change.It’s like the drug traffic. America would be free of drugs if there were no buyers!

Read about a brave young girl in Guatemala who managed to stop a trafficker– in another way.

Guatemala (MNN) — An estimated 90% of sexual abuse cases go unreported in Guatemala. If a case is brought to court, the likelihood that the abuser will not be punished is also 90%. That’s what makes a recent trial so special for a girl in the Oasis program. Courtney, a 14-year-old girl had to testify against the man who prostituted her for several years.

“She really had a tough time in court but stood up to it extremely well,” says Corbey Dukes of the Oasis program, who acted as the girl’s legal representative.

“The defense attorney really tried to wear her down; she had over an hour of testimony. But at the end of it, he just threw his hands up and said, ‘No more questions’ and sat down. And he was the guy who was defeated.”

According to the U.S. State Department’s 2013 Trafficking In Persons (TIP) Report, Guatemalan women and children are “exploited in sex trafficking within the country, as well as in Mexico, the United States, and Belize.

“Foreign child sex tourists–predominantly from Canada, the United States, and Western Europe–as well as Guatemalan men exploit children in prostitution.”

Courtney was prostituted for approximately 60-cents per visit, says Dukes. And she wasn’t the only one, he adds. “She has two cousins here; one is two years younger than her and one is five or six years younger than her,” says Dukes. “They were all exploited in the same way.”

All three of the young women are involved in the Oasis program and taking strides toward a better future. The Oasis is a Christian safe haven for girls who have been forced into child labor, experienced physical and sexual abuse (often all three), and have either been abandoned or have fled for their safety and lives.

Adapted from Mission Network News

Growing awareness and support against trafficking

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In 1891 famous British abolitionist, Josephine Butler, co-opted two Americans– Dr. Katharine Bushnell and Mrs. Elizabeth Andrew– to secretly enter British cantonments in India to find proof that the military were illegally enticing and “examining” Indian girls in Locke Hospitals for the pleasure of British soldiers. Two women standing up to the entire British Raj!
(Watch for more information about Kate’s fictionalized story under “My Books.”)
Times have changed– many are banding together against this plague. But sadly the numbers of slaves continues to grow. Hopefully our government will recognize the seriousness of modern-day trafficking and take action recommended below:

On June 25, 2013 members of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, including National Association of Evangeliclas President Leith Anderson, wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry and Senate and House leadership encouraging support for legislation that would upgrade the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

The letter closed saying “We respectfully urge you to take any action in your authority to elevate the State Department Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons to a State Department Bureau.”

Twenty-four current leaders of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships signed the letter representing a broad spectrum of faith-based initiatives.