I decided to start this blog with a picture of me and 2 very special girls, Evelyn and Jazmin who live in the Esther House in Back2Back's hope program. It is girls like them who are often targeted specifically by traffickers.
This week I "attended" a webinar titled "Saving Orphans from Sex Slavery". It was difficult to listen to, in fact at one point I just broke out crying. I want to pass on to you some statistics that were presented.
- Every year 1.2 million women and children are sold into sex slavery, that means it is happening every 2 minutes.
- These women and children are forced to have sex as many as 40 times a day.
- Revenues are $32 billion dollars a year, the 2nd largest in global crime. The largest right now is drugs, however illegal sex trafficking is expected to take over this year as number one. Why? Because a body can be sold over and over and over...
- 25% of the women and children enslaved are from Europe, mostly the extremely poor countries. For example the country of Moldova right now has the highest number of trafficked victims.
- Only 1 in 100,000 Europeans involved are convicted. Why? Police Corruption.
- Only 1-2% of these girls are ever rescued.
- 300,000 women and children have been trafficked into the United States, this doesn't just happen in 3rd world countries.
Girls who have lived in orphanages, or children's homes as we call them here, are at extremely high risk for being preyed upon. Without strong family support she is a target for traffickers who try to trick girls with promises of good jobs as nannies, models, executive secretaries.... A young girl may go willingly with a man thinking he is getting her a good job, but then she is forced into a brothel or other prostitution ring. Other young girls are simply kidnapped off the streets, again without strong family support no one may even be looking for her. Another issue is family members selling their daughters, nieces, cousins into slavery.
It's overwhelming I'll admit, but that doesn't mean that the body of Christ shouldn't act. I am proud to work with a ministry that has started a program to house kids leaving the children's homes so that they can get an education. Not only are we offering schooling, but also protection while these girls grow up and learn how to take care of themselves.
What will we do here in Cancun specifically? We are in constant prayer about what part we will play. We live in a city where sex tourism targeted at children is lucrative. Starting a Hope Program to shelter children leaving the homes after Jr. High until they can finish high school seems like a huge step in the right direction toward prevention. Join with me as we continue to pray as a staff team about making this happen!
I hate to end this blog on a sad note, but just to underscore the severity of this problem I wanted to state that over 15 girls have been taken into sex slavery in the time it took me to write this blog.
If' you'd like to listen to the webinar I am referring to please do so. It's free and you can find it at www.christianalliancefororphans.org