Human trafficking for labor and sex, considered a worldwide epidemic, is of such heightened concern for this year's Super Bowl that one Catholic social activism group has trained more than 400 volunteers to canvas the New York and New Jersey region during the week-long extravaganza to raise awareness. Other groups, including churches, are taking aim at the problem as well.
In another instance of action against the form of modern-day slavery, Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale in Florida, is using the month of January, tagged Human Trafficking Awareness Month, and coupled with their own Super Bowl efforts to encourage Christians to join a team planning to meet in Brazil for the World Cup.
"You've read the devastating statistics (An estimated 27 million are enslaved in the world today; Approximately 80 percent of human trafficking victims are women and are children (boys and girls); human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world-second only to drug trafficking.)," states Calvary Chapel on its website. "But did you know that this epidemic is running rampant at one of the largest sporting events in the world? more >>
The United Nations is urgently calling on the nations of the world to donate $6.5 billion this year to combat the growing humanitarian crisis in Syria, noting that this aid is the difference between life and death for millions.
"Humanitarian aid is the difference between life and death, hope and despair. It has already assisted millions of people affected by this crisis," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said during the Second International Humanitarian Pledging Conference on Syria in Kuwait on Wednesday. "I count on you to show the Syrian people that the world is here to help."
Kim Dae Jin recalls the day when, as a prisoner in a North Korean labor camp, an informant betrayed a small group of prisoners who were Christian, which to be was forbidden.
"I watched as they (prison officials) grabbed hold of my friend's arm so tightly that it died and had to be amputated," he said. "After that, he and the other Christians were sent to an even stricter camp. You do not get out of a camp like that alive."
Sadly, Kim's tale is all too common in North Korea's brutal regime. In its newly released annual report on Christian persecution, Open Doors notes that up to 70,000 Christians are being held in horrific conditions in the North Korean prison "gulag." In them, everyone, from small children to the elderly, is subject to sub-human treatment, often for simply believing in Jesus. more >>
A Chinese doctor has been sentenced to a suspended death penalty after a court found her guilty of abducting and selling seven newborn babies over a two-year period. The doctor's case has shed negative light on China's child trafficking problem.
Zhang Shuxia, an obstetrician at a hospital in the Shaanxi province, was found guilty of selling seven babies to a human trafficking ring from November 2011 to July 2013. Zhang reportedly convinced parents of the newborn babies that their child was infected with a disease or disabled. Once she persuaded the parents to give up their children, the infants were sold to a trafficking ring, which in turn sold the babies to other families.
Zhang received on average 20,000 yuan each for a female baby, while one male baby she sold in 2011 sold for 47,000 yuan. more >>
Former NBA player Dennis Rodman apologized Monday for "the certain situations" currently going on in North Korea, saying he can't control what goes on in the country and that he's "not God." Rodman recently received criticism for comments he made regarding detained American missionary Kenneth Bae, who has been imprisoned in the Asian country for over a year.
After spending a week in the communist country to celebrate leader Kim Jong Un's birthday by hosting a basketball game, Rodman told media at Beijing's International Airport on Monday that he is "sorry for what's going on in North Korea, the certain situations."
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry I couldn't do anything," Rodman said. "It's not my fault. I'm sorry. I just want to do some good stuff, that's all I want to do." Rodman has defended his recent trips to North Korea as being a method of "basketball diplomacy," where former NBA players accompany Rodman to the Asian country to play basketball with the hopes of bridging differences between North Korean and western culture. more >>
A Chinese woman has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and has described herself as a "walking corpse" two years following a forced abortion, highlighting the dangers of the country's one-child policy rule, according to a pro-life group.
"It was the pain of my lifetime, worse than the pain of delivering a child. You cannot describe it," 25-year-old Gong Qifeng said in a recent interview, according to The Associated Press. "And it has become a mental pain. I feel like a walking corpse."
According to the report, two years ago when Gong was seven months pregnant with her second child in China's southern province of Hunan, and was in violation of the country's family size policy, she was taken by government officials who held her down and injected a syringe of labor-inducing drugs into her stomach. more >>