India suffers from an abysmal literacy rate, weak infrastructure and rampant poverty. But one of the toughest challenges the world's second largest country must confront in the 21st century is how it will better serve its declining and vulnerable female population.
The causes discouraging families and communities from raising and protecting girls and women are explored in "Veil of Tears," a new documentary from Gospel for Asia, which releases in the U.S. on March 28. more >>
A recent BuzzFeed article questioning whether fighting human trafficking was "a new mission for the religious right," suggests that young evangelical Christians were more inclined to put their efforts into the war on modern-day slavery than enter the marriage and abortion fray.
But Louie Giglio, Atlanta pastor and founder of the annual Passion Conference, suggested in an interview with The Christian Post that it was pointless to pit social justice against the culture war when young people are simply concerned about using their lives to elevate the lives of others.
Giglio debuted the anti-slavery "End It" movement at the 2012 Passion Conference that attracted 40,000 college students and reportedly raised an estimated $3 million for the cause. While noting the impact of Giglio's movement — which had caught the attention of the White House — BuzzFeed, paraphrasing National Association of Evangelical President Leith Anderson, suggests that the "End It" campaign was instrumental in expanding modern-day slavery from "a niche concern among liberally-minded 'social justice Christians' to an increasingly prevalent platform plank for Evangelicals across the political spectrum." more >>
After being told by his doctor two years ago that he would not be able to run again, Pastor Matthew Barnett of the Los Angeles Dream Center will run a full marathon Sunday to raise support and awareness for women exploited through human trafficking.
"It's very emotional for me because two years ago, I had a pulmonary embolism that almost took my life. I've lived in fear of this changing my lifestyle forever. The marathon is a way for me to face these fears once and for all in the ultimate test," Barnett told The Christian Post. "I'm a pastor and I probably need more faith but this has tested my breathing and my confidence. I believe running for a greater cause will push me over the top."
Over 100 Dream Center staff along with several human trafficking survivors will also participate in the 5K charity relay and marathon and are urging the Christian Community to help sponsor them. Their goal is to raise $50,000 and as of Thursday morning, over $43,000 had been donated by supporting individuals and churches throughout the country, as shown on Barnett's fundraising page. more >>
When "12 Years a Slave" Director Steve McQueen accepted the Oscar for "Best Picture" on Sunday night, he dedicated the award to the 21 million people still in slavery today. Experts drew a comparison between sex trafficking and the struggles of Solomon Northrup, the film's main character, and also compared modern slavery and Christian persecution.
"Everyone deserves not just to survive, but to live. This is the most important legacy of Solomon Northup," McQueen declared in his Oscar acceptance speech. "I dedicate this award to all the people who have endured slavery, and the 21 million people who still suffer slavery today." Fact-checking website PolitiFact rated his statement "Mostly True," since he cited the 2012 estimate from the International Labor Organization, a United Nations agency.
Taryn Manstrean, director of Communications at Shared Hope International, a group dedicated to fighting human sex trafficking, compared the struggles of the Oscar-winning film's main character, Solomon Northup, to those of women in the sex trade. "He was a free man and was taken into slavery – he struggled to escape and survive," Manstrean explained. "In the exact same way, most of these girls did not start a slave." more >>
The only thing remotely religious about the Project ROSE program that seeks to rehabilitate sex workers in Arizona is that it is hosted by the Bethany Bible Church in Phoenix. It is also completely voluntary.
Recent media reports on the three year old project that was conceived through a partnership between the Arizona State University School of Social Work, the Phoenix Police Department and a number of other public and private agencies, however, have painted a different picture.
"Project ROSE is a Phoenix city program that arrests sex workers in the name of saving them. In five two-day stings, more than 100 police officers targeted alleged sex workers on the street and online," charged a VICE report. more >>