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.
The year 2013 is quickly drawing to a close, but there is still plenty of time to do some good, and at the same time, maybe even help lighten your tax burden for the upcoming filing season. Here are 10 ways you can help provide essential resources to those in need in the U.S. and around the world.
World Vision Clothing and shelter, access to education, and even soccer balls are just some of the items donors can choose to provide for economically challenged children living in countries like Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Ghana. A donation of $100 provides a family with a goat and two chickens — or healthy milk, cheese and yogurt and fresh eggs. Learn more: www.worldvision.org
charity: water Working to provide clean and safe drinking water "to every person on the planet," charity: water has managed to fund nearly 9,500 water projects in 20 countries. One hundred percent of donations goes directly toward a water project. Charity: water's online store, with merchandise ranging from playing cards and T-shirts to campaign posters and Pure Fix Cycles, is also an option since a percentage of every purchase supports the nonprofit. Learn more: www.charitywater.org more >>
What was the world like in 2013 for the planet's most marginalized and vulnerable communities?
1. Syria's Civil War more >>