(Aashima Samuel, the National Director of EFIC@R, interviewed by CEDAR)
“In Indian villages, when we and church pastors advocated anti-child trafficking, some Hindi nationalists accused us of, or even attacked us for ‘brainwashing’ villagers to convert them into Christians. In fact, among them, there were traffickers slandering us to extinguish our anti-trafficking voice,” said Aashima Samuel, the National Director of Evangelical Fellowship of India Children At Risk (EFIC@R), CEDAR’s partner.
[“SHARE” OCT – DEC 2018 ] FOCUS ~ Christian Response to Poverty
Written by: Raymond Kwong (CEDAR’s Chief Executive) and Jady Sit
In recent years, the international development sector began to emphasise the importance of human inner transformation for uprooting poverty. For instance, Cornell University Professor Kaushik Basu, who serves as the chief economist of World Bank from 2012 to 2016, shared in a public lecture, that no matter what kind of models of poverty alleviation is, one of the key factors to its success is whether people are willing to let go of some of their own interests or economic benefits and seek higher purposes, with which human being in general are common, and so, he advocates strengthening values education in society. This is about changing hearts and minds.
Impoverishment is a consequence of mankind’s broken relationship with God, with each other, and with the rest of the Creation. This broken relationship does not limited to the poor, but also to the non-poor. That is to say, for the sake of ending poverty, inner change has to happen with both the haves and the have-nots.
A group of former trafficked and prostituted women gather to pray at the Salvation Army centre
As you may have read our July – September newsletter or ePrayer articles over the past few weeks, we are focusing on human trafficking issues this quarter. We have shared about how CEDAR and our partners fight against human trafficking particularly in Asia. Through Rescue, Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Prevention, we serve trafficking victims as well as high-risk groups.
Slavery is often thought of as an archived piece in the history of humanity existed only in the poorest corners of the earth full of conflicts and incivilities. The sad fact is that the total number of slaves is at a historic high today, spanning across the globe.
It is estimated that globally about 20.9 million are affected by forced labours and among them, 4.5 million (22%) are victims of forced sexual exploitation. Many of the 20.9 million are also victims of human trafficking. During the course of my serving as a project officer in the past 19 years for CEDAR, I have the opportunity to read documents, review proposals, talk to field partners and hear from community members about human trafficking issues. It is an issue that everyone wants to tackle and stop.
[ePrayer – Pray for those people vulnerable to human trafficking]
In the 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report, the U.S. government has downgraded Thailand, Malaysia and Venezuela to Tier 3, the lowest ranking of fighting against modern-day slavery. Ironically these 3 countries are among those that promote themselves as modern and fast-developing countries.
The report cites evidence of forced labour and sex trafficking in Malaysia and Thailand. It highlights Malaysia’s problem with migrants from other Asian nations who seek work on farms, factories and construction sites only to be trapped and have their passports taken and wages withheld.
In Thailand, according to the report, there are tens of thousands of migrants from neighboring countries being exploited in the commercial sex industry, on fishing boats, and as domestic servants. This downgrading could cause some multinational companies to reconsider investments in industries accused of using trafficked labour such as fisheries, which is a lucrative business in Thailand (Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of shrimp).
And in Venezuela, women and girls are often lured from poor interior regions to tourist centers with the promise of false job offers. When they arrive, they are often forced into prostitution.
More than 20 million people worldwide are believed to be ensnared in some form of forced labour, according to the International Labour Organisation. [TIP Report, CNN, CNBC]
Meditation on Scriptures:
‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.’ Proverbs 31:8-9
When we think that human trafficking is far from us, are we aware that the prawns we eat may be caught by the modern slaves working on the fishing boat, the clothes we wear may be sewed by the forced labourers in the factories, and the domestic workers in our society may be treated as slaves and with their wages withheld. They are voiceless and destitute. Will you speak up for them?
Pray for those people vulnerable to human trafficking:
Pray that the government of Thailand, Malaysia and Venezuela will respond actively to their human trafficking issues;
Pray that God will rescue and heal those people who suffer from modern slavery;
Pray for good cooperation between nations and international NGOs, and for a comprehensive and feasible strategy to stop human trafficking.