A Chocolate Holiday

holidats.001
It’s hard to believe that the holidays are already upon us!  In all of our celebrating we must not forget those who are often used in slave labor to make the products we will be purchasing to give to our loved ones or place on our dinner tables.  It feels and often is nearly impossible to find items that are made completely without slave labor.  Yet, we can start in one simple area…chocolate.

According to the World Cocoa Foundation we consume 3 million tons of cocoa beans annually…68% of which is sourced from Africa, 17% from Asia/Oceania and 15% from Americas (Brazil, Ecuador and Colombia).  Simply put, that’s a lot of chocolate sourced on the backs of children, men and women who are paid nearly nothing (if anything) and live in horrible conditions, they are modern day slaves for our sweet tooth.

So during this upcoming holiday season, let’s take a step in the right direction of ending human trafficking and slavery and purchase our chocolate from companies who are sustainably sourcing their cocoa beans, using transparency in their supply chains, working to empower and create positive change in the communities they are sourcing from.  Here are some companies that are doing just that:

Lindt Chocolates 
http://www.lindt-spruengli.com/sustainability/sustainably-sourced/

Divine Chocolate Co.
http://www.divinechocolate.com/us/

The Endangered Species
http://www.chocolatebar.com/?page_id=18

You can also do a search on “Slave Free Chocolate,” for more options and don’t forget coffee too!

#untilallarefree #endmoderndayslavery

What ideas do you have to help fight slavery this holiday?  What are your favorite fair trade products?  Share with us!

 

a broken heart.

Today my heart feels broken.

Broken for the forgotten.

Broken for the hurting.

Broken for the abandoned.

Broken for the children who are currently being targeted by traffickers and no one knows it.

Broken for the people who go about life and do not know what is happening to the children within their zip codes.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month and my prayer is that the community in my state…in my nation awakens to this issue and decides to be apart of a solution.

There are so many who are working to fight trafficking in the United States and globally, but we need more.  We need more people to have their hearts broken for these enslaved souls and take a stand to say, “Not in my community!”  As this month goes along I ask that you would educate yourself on this epidemic, share the knowledge (because knowledge is meant to be shared) and decide how you can help end human trafficking in your community.  There are thousands of broken hearts and souls trapped in slavery today in the United States and they need your heart to help end it.

WHAT CAN I DO?

**Educate yourself on this issue.  Then share the information.

Some great websites include sharedhope.org, polarisproject.org, exoduscry.org, you can also check out the “Love Doesn’t Exploit” page of this website for some information.

Books to read: The Slave Across the Street by Theresa Flores, Renting Lacy by Linda Smith, Made in the USA by Alisa Jordheim

**Decide to do something…anything…just refuse to do nothing

You can play a part, no matter how big or how small it is all important!  You can give financially (or raise money) to an organization that is fighting trafficking, you can volunteer your time at an organization or outreach, you can host a speaker at your church, library, coffee house, etc.  There are many things that can be done to help victims.

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, but let’s not let it end there.  Your heart is needed.

Until every heart is free.

One Simple Act

AFrankQuote

Reading the book, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, again has brought to my heart an encouragement of great proportions.  If so many could risk their lives to hide and save thousands of Jews, elderly, disabled, young men and others the Nazis deemed unworthy during that nefarious regime, we can surely do something to rescue those who are led away to captivity today.  We can certainly refuse to do nothing.  There is an estimated 27 million people enslaved in the world today and millions more who know nothing about it.  Millions of fellow human beings, who if they all did just one simple act, would make, at the very least, a profound dent on modern day slavery.  What is one simple act that every person could do?

*Participate in an activity that is raising funds to fight trafficking, especially if it is for a safe house for victims of human trafficking.

*Donate to safe houses, projects bringing awareness or organizations that are actively working with victims.

*Educate yourself on the evils of trafficking and then spread the news, the more who know the better.

*Encourage law makers to create laws to fight trafficking and protect victims.

Again, we can all refuse to do nothing because one simple act can mean everything to one trapped in captivity.  As Dr. Seuss once said, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”

Check out A Light in the Night 5k/Fun Run, Walk to END Human Trafficking at alightinthenight.org

Love doesn’t exploit.

lovedoesn'texploit.001

Characteristics of Love Series

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It ALWAYS protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:6-7  (emphasis my own)

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and with more people enslaved now than ever in history we can safely say that we have a monstrous problem on our hands.  Human beings are buying and selling each other; men, women and little children.  While I say the word “human beings” I recognize what drives this industry…evil, pure evil.

Women and children are forced to sell their bodies (actually someone is selling it for them), forced to have abortions, and are becoming drug addicts just to try to mentally, emotionally and spiritually escape their daily horror.  There have been times when I have looked at what seems like an unconquerable situation, where heartache reigns and evil triumphs.  Then, I remember what love is and who love is and my heart is renewed within me.  Isaiah 61 promises that Christ came to set the captives free and God isn’t a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19) and it also says that He has given us what we need to overcome.

We can have faith, we can have hope, but the greatest of these is love (1 Corin. 13:13) and love is the greatest thing we can give.  Remembering, that real love doesn’t exploit and it is the action of love that will bring an end to this atrocity.  Love will not buy sex, love will not sell another human being, love will rescue, love will heal, love will reach out and love will not exploit because it always protects.

Next time you see a picture in the news of a woman arrested for prostitution, don’t skip by the article, don’t skip by the picture.  Look at her, have compassion and pray for her (act in love).  Next time you hear about a prostitution ring (trafficking ring) being busted, don’t ignore it…thank God (the One who is love).

I also urge you to get involved, even if it’s only for January…do something because someone needs you…heck the world needs you.  Be the love someone needs because they matter.  Make a decision to protect…make a decision to love.

Characteristic of Love #6…love protects (it doesn’t exploit) 

Want to learn more about human trafficking and what you can do?

Contact Us

Sharedhope.org

Polarisproject.org

Exoduscry.com

Books about trafficking:

Renting Lacy by Linda Smith

Refuse to Do Nothing by Shayne Moore, Kimberly McOwen Yim

The Slave Across the Street by Theresa Flores

Movies:
Nefarious, Merchant of Souls
Not My Life
Not For Sale
Born into Brothels
Half the Sky

A little issue called hate.

Hate is nothing new and really isn’t a little issue.  It is bred in unforgiveness, prejudice, jealousy, and leads to one thing in particular…lack of value for human life or maybe lack of value for human life leads to hate.  I believe this grieves the heart of God to the deepest of levels.  God is love and He created us in His image, so we were made to love and care for one another.  We can see the opposite of this at work in our world today, heck it has been at work since the beginning of time, after all Satan didn’t deceive Eve because he had her best interest in mind.

We have seen so much of hate in the news lately and I see this issue operating successfully each day in my line of work.  In the fight against exploitation and trafficking I see human beings have a complete lack of value for their fellow humans.  At the core of it is a complete lack of value for themselves, to allow their own bodies into these situations where they abuse the body of another either visually or physically.

The answer must be in the love of Christ.  He, who laid down His own life and body for the lives of many to come because of love.  Yet, can we love unconditionally when we don’t even realize our own value?  Maybe.  Maybe not.   Change in the world does, however, begin at home and in ourselves.  I pray that we realize our inherent value and worth…what the Creator of the world thinks of us and in turn we begin to realize what our fellow human beings are worth.  I pray we begin to realize that God loves us unconditionally, without expectation and in turn we begin to love others unconditionally.  What a slap in the face to the enemy of our souls if we live as we were meant to live, loving others.  There is too much hate in the world, too much hate that people experience every day.

So please, never underestimate a little act of unconditional love…you may be giving someone a great thing that they have never experienced before.  A little act of unconditional love is a greater blow to evil and hate than you may make think.  A little love always outshines hate.

Love_Shines_Bright_by_xBAZAximage credits:deviantart

Awakening the Heart of the Warrior

She is someone’s daughter, sister, and niece.  She is someone who needs a warrior.

It is said that in the United States every 30 seconds a young woman becomes a victim of sex trafficking, it is estimated that 100,000-300,000 minors are at risk every year.  The average age for entry into sexual exploitation is 12 years old.  Trafficked victims are forced into prostitution, escort services, pornography, strip clubs and more.  Prostituted women and children are forced to make hundreds of dollars each night to fill quotas set by their traffickers and pimps.

When a young woman is brought into the sex trade she is often forced to watch pornography and is often forced to participate in the making of pornographic materials such as movies and photographs.  “…Pornographers, like other pimps, learn how to exploit economic and psychological vulnerabilities to coerce them to get into and stay in the sex industry.  Other times they threaten or use alcohol and drugs to induce compliance…”    www.covenanteyes.com

She is someone’s daughter, sister, niece who has often been manipulated because of her vulnerability, threatened by violence, controlled by the choice of her pimp or trafficker.  She is not there by choice.

To effectively fight sex trafficking and exploitation we need men of valor to awaken the warrior heart within themselves, within each man, the heart that was created by God to stand up and become protectors of the vulnerable.  She is someone who needs a warrior to value her life, to honor her with his actions, to stand and speak for her freedom.

A covenant warrior’s promise:

*Pledge to value all women, regardless of background and history
*Pledge to teach sons, nephews and those who look up to you how to value women and protect them
*Have accountability outlets (for internet, etc.) set up for men of all ages in your home
*Sow financially into organizations who are reaching out to victims, rescuing and restoring victims
*Find ways to bring public awareness to what is happening to the daughters of America.

They need warriors…they need you.  Take the pledge.

A Heart for the Daughters

Reading the news about oppressive circumstances happening somewhere else in the world is one thing and going to see the oppression is quite another.  Recently returning from a nation where so many things are exalted except one very important thing…human life.  The life of a girl…to be more specific.  Asia is filled with crimes against women, including sex trafficking, exploitation, gendercide, caste systems, child brides, parents selling their own children…not for food, mind you, but for TV’s and the thirst for money.  Poverty and lack of education certainly plays a role in this oppression, but you see it isn’t just the poor children who go missing in India…it’s the daughters of the wealthy too.  There are approximately 27 million people enslaved in the world today…that is more than at any other point in history.  There are more educated people in the world today than ever and yet slavery is still at an all time high.  That is because it is the matter of the heart, a problem within the heart of man to enslave another.   To exploit girls for sexual gratification (or anyone for that matter), to wail in despair because you have given birth to a daughter instead of a son, to oppress women daily is all a matter of the heart (in addition to evil).  As the Bible says…“out of the abundance of the heart…”

A few facts for India:
*15-20 children go missing daily in Delhi alone.
*According to BBC News in 2011 alone there were more than 24,000 reported cases of rape in India….Delhi is the rape capital.
*According to the BBC News the trafficking of women and children has RISEN 122% over the previous year

Education or the throwing of money at a centuries old problem will not solve it…only the passionate, furious, jealous love of Christ will.  You see, only the blood of Christ can cover sins so great, heal the broken souls and free the millions held captive.   Only God can change a matter of the heart, especially one so entrenched.

A nation is at an all time low when the worst sentence to be uttered is…“it’s a girl.”

Yet, in a dark moment the knowledge and witness of God’s passion for the abandoned, enslaved, the destitute, the captive has wrecked not only every preconceived notion I had of God, but has also captivated my heart.  His love is beyond anything we can comprehend.  That in a human being’s darkest moment He reaches out from Heaven and rescues His daughters and sons.  Phew…..takes my breath away.  God, give us a heart for your daughters.photo

Oh India…

“No longer will they call you deserted or name your land desolate.  But you will be called Hephzibah (means ‘my delight is in her’), and your land Beulah (means ‘married’); for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married.”  Isaiah 62:3-5

I was privileged to work with a ministry that is working hard to save girl children from horrible fates, educate and empower women and work to heal the broken hearts with the love of Christ.  For more information on how you can help email forsuchatimeministries@gmail.com

*Facts taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-20863860