American pastor and missionary Thomas (Tom) Randall has been imprisoned in Manila, Philippines on allegations that an orphanage he and his wife founded in the country has been operating as a front for human trafficking and that dozens of poor children living at the facility had been suffering sexual abuse for years.
Randall was on a mission trip in the country when state and social welfare authorities apprehended him and two workers on Jan. 12 at the Sankey Samaritan Orphanage in Lucena City, Philippines, reportedly on allegations that he had been negligent regarding alleged abuse and sex trafficking at the facility.
Filipino media reports that Randall was charged with obstruction of justice, while orphanage manager Perfecto "Toto" Luchavez and his son, Mark "Jake" Luchavez, were charged with violating the country's anti-human trafficking laws. Another worker, who reportedly remains at large, Melvin Garcia, was charged with rape, along with Mark Luchavez. The men also allegedly allowed friends to abuse female victims. more >>
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 >>
Did you know that January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month? According to the White House, this is a time to reflect on modern-day slavery and "renew our commitment to ending this scourge in all its forms." A project of the United Methodist Church, on the other hand, is committing to emphasize "reproductive services" for victims without regard for their emotional, physical and spiritual health.
Forced slavery is a $32 billion industry. It exists everywhere and knows no borders. An estimated 21 million people are trafficking victims. According to the International Labor Organization, 11.4 of those victims are women and girls. And 4.5 million of the total enslaved are victims of sexual exploitation,
In an attempt to assist these female victims, the United Methodist Church's General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) and Healthy Families, Healthy Planet project hosted a webinar "Hope Through Healing: Addressing the Reproductive Health Needs of Human Trafficking Survivors" on January 15th, 2014. Speakers included Susan Burton, the Director of Women's and Children's Advocacy, and Katei Zeh, director of the GBCS's project. 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 >>
A youth pastor was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography after police found thousands of images of female babies, toddlers, prepubescent girls and other children being raped on his home computer in Cockeysville, Md.
The investigation by Baltimore County Police found that Robert David Wright, 35, who led a youth group at Clynmalira United Methodist Church in Phoenix, Md., also allegedly shared the images with others online.
According to the Baltimore Sun, Pastor John Dailey of Clynmalira released a statement on Monday in which he confirmed that Wright is a member of his church and was a volunteer leader of the congregation's youth group, while adding that church officials are taking the allegations against him "very seriously." more >>
A documentary film featuring actress Mira Sorvino's fight against sex slavery in Cambodia made its US debut at Bayside Church in the Sacramento, Calif. area recently, highlighting the work of several Christian organizations combating the issue.
The film, "Freedom Project: Every day in Cambodia," was produced in partnership with CNN International during a 2013 trip to expose child sex trafficking and virgin sales, the center of Sorvino's activism for years.