Monday, June 28, 2010
I've been hearing great things about an organization called Justice and Care. Check out their Web site in the list of links on the right!
Sunday, April 6, 2008
I hope to start posting more frequently again soon, but we'll have to see how that goes. In the meantime, if you want to keep up with the latest news of the Carolina Clapham Circle, and especially if you live close enough to join us, sign up on the form to the left, and I'll add you to the e-mail list.
Monday, February 18, 2008
In a chapter on the Clapham Group, Hildebrand notes a dozen characteristics of this group that accomplished so much in the abolition of legalized slavery in the 1800s:
They set clear and specific goals
They researched carefully to produce reliable and irrefutable evidence
They built a committed support community. The battle could not be carried on alone
They refused to accept setbacks as final defeats
They committed to the struggle for the long haul, even if it took decades
They focused on issues, not allowing opponents’ vicious attacks on their person to distract them or provoke them into similar response
They empathized with opponents’ position so that meaningful interaction could take place
They accepted incremental gains when everything could not be achieved at once
They cultivated grassroots support when rebuffed by those in power
They transcended single-issue mentality by addressing issues as part of [the] overall moral climate
They worked through recognized channels without resort[ing] to dirty tactics or violence
They proceeded with a sense of mission and conviction that God would providentially guide if they were truly acting in His service.
I don’t know if they had the wisdom to incorporate these characteristics right
from the start, or if the characteristics came from lessons learned in the public square, or if the group simply stumbled upon them as they went, but they certainly are the kinds of characteristics that can help win the day. May our group, and all modern-day abolitionists, develop these characteristics as we fight this battle.
Sunday, January 27, 2008
There’s something about distorted guitars and basses that I really enjoy. But more than that, when someone is screaming lyrics at the top of his lungs, it makes me think, “Hey, this guy really means this.” And when those lyrics glorify and honor God, that’s pretty cool.
Recently I’ve come across a group called Pillar. They’ve been around for years, but I had never really noticed them before. I’ve purchased a few of their songs and one video from iTunes, and I like what I’m hearing. One song, “Frontline,” seems to apply not only to Christians in general but also to those of us who want to make a difference in the fight against human trafficking. The chorus says:
Everybody, with your fists raised high
Let me hear your battle cry tonight
Stand beside, or step aside
We’re on the frontline
You should hear lead singer Rob Beckley screaming those lyrics—it’s inspiring. Well, I suppose if hard rock turns you off, you may not find it so inspiring. But I know that the members of the Carolina Clapham Circle feel that, if we’re not on the frontline already, that’s where we want to be. We’ve felt a call from God that makes us believe that’s where He wants us, too, and I pray that we’ll be obedient and ready for the fight. Let me hear your battle cry!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
There is one place in the world where there is an aggregate, an accumulation, of human suffering—that is, in the heart of God. God then takes some of those heartaches and funnels them down into the hearts of His servants so that they might sense His burden and proclaim His message. This holy anxiety is an indispensable prerequisite to significant communication.
I think this holy anxiety is also a prerequisite to significant action, and when I look at my friends in the Carolina Clapham Circle and at other Christ-followers who are fighting human trafficking, I think we’ve experienced exactly what Zacharias was talking about. God has given us a glimpse of the suffering of slaves, and this compels us not only to proclaim a message of freedom but to work for it as well.
I also like what Zacharias said about God’s funneling some of humanity’s heartaches into our hearts. If we try to look at all the world’s suffering, our concern remains intellectual—it doesn’t become a burden. Sara Groves has a song on her cd “Tell Me What You Know” that says “At two you’re at abstraction.” I think she means that when we see one person’s suffering, it hits us a lot harder than when we see masses and statistics.
So God often gives us a picture of one person—maybe a girl in a Cambodian brothel (see the award-winning video at Love146) or a man who was enslaved in Brazil’s charcoal industry (see excerpts from the “Bound by Promises” video). The image stays with us, and we can’t stand the thought of that individual being enslaved.
I hope God will give you this kind of burden and that you will join the fight to eradicate slavery and restore its victims.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Lederer talks about the case that drew her to this cause as well as her own faith journey. Along the way, the article gives some basic facts about human trafficking in general and about sex trafficking in particular. And near the end of the article, Lederer makes a couple of interesting points. First, she talks about the role of the church:
“I’m convinced faith-based communities all around the world are the only ones qualified to provide long-term care for trafficking survivors. It’s the area of biggest need concerning sex trafficking, and I think it’s a perfect area for the church to take leadership.”
Second, she talks about the Christians who are involved in the fight against human trafficking, and her words remind me of my fellow Carolina Clapham Circle members:
“I’m hopeful because so many good people are beginning to work on this issue. We’re building a critical mass; it’s a new human-rights movement. And it’s filled with Christians and others who understand we have to be shoulder-to-shoulder to fight an epic battle with these new contemporary forms of slavery.”
I’m hopeful, too, when I see the caliber of people who are fighting against human trafficking. But most of all, I’m hopeful because I know God hates oppression and is powerful to save, and if He is calling us to fight this battle, He will equip us for what we need to do.
Monday, January 14, 2008
• Making contacts in India
• Working on construction of safehouses
• Being invited to speak at a women’s conference
• Looking for ways to network and learn about the problem on an upcoming mission trip to Cambodia
• Corresponding with legislators about strengthening state laws
• Locating a human trafficking curriculum that can be used by church groups or others
• Getting coverage of this issue into a local newspaper
Our special guest was Sandra Johnson, director of Triad Ladder of Hope, a shelter in High Point, NC. Sandra has been fighting human trafficking for several years and has worked alongside both the FBI and ICE, in addition to presenting training sessions for law enforcement and others. Sandra encouraged us to help facilitate training for law enforcement, hospitals, housing inspectors and others in our own communities. And even in just the past few days, we’re already starting to do just that! I hope we can keep Sandra and her staff booked solid with training opportunities.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Some are holding press conferences. One group obtained space on buses for public service posters about human trafficking. Some groups are holding training sessions, candlelight vigils or exhibits of art created by trafficking survivors.
Let’s do all we can to raise awareness. The traffickers have been able to hide in the dark for too long; the more people learn about this issue, the more our ranks will grow as we seek to rescue and restore victims, prosecute traffickers and finally abolish slavery forever.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
This morning I was reading Philippians 1, and Paul’s words reminded me of the Clapham Circle.
First, Paul says, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel” (Phil. 1:3-4, NIV).
I’m thankful for the co-laborers who have answered God’s call to fight against human trafficking and are working and praying together to find the most effective ways to do that.
Paul also records his prayer for the Philippians:
“That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Phil 1: 9-11, NIV).
I pray that same prayer today for the Carolina Clapham Circle and for all the others who are involved in this cause. Phrase-by-phrase, here is how I see this prayer applying to these friends:
“That your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best …”
Most of the modern-day abolitionists that I know are motivated by love. We don’t know the victims, or many of them, but somehow God has put His love in us and made us want to defend, rescue and restore them. May that love abound in knowledge and depth of insight so we may be able to discern what is best—in other words, we need to know the best way to defend, rescue and restore the victims of human trafficking. A couple of months ago, three of us got together and watched a short human trafficking video that broke our hearts. We spent about a half hour in prayer, amidst sobs, and at that point I was so ready to go out and fight the bad guys. But I had no idea how. We need knowledge and depth of insight if we’re going to be effective in this fight.
“… and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ …”
As we fight against forces that are truly dark and evil, we face risks. We can be driven by anger instead of love. We men, especially, can be drawn away by the very lust that fuels the largest segment of human trafficking, which is sex trafficking. And we can forget that the traffickers, too, are hopelessly lost and need to be saved from the evil that controls them. In all our efforts, we need to pray that we remain pure and blameless.
“…filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.”
When God makes us righteous—by grace, through faith in Jesus—it is not just so we can avoid hell. It is so we can join God in His work of redeeming the world, expanding His reign (the kingdom of God) in this world. The fruit of righteousness is the “produce” that comes when we live under the rule of God, and that produce includes the lives of people around us that are transformed, restored, filled with love, joy and peace. One of our Clapham Circle members has spent time volunteering at a safe house for young women who have been rescued from sex trafficking. She has told us of the wonderful changes she saw among those who had been at the safe house long enough to start building a new life. New lives, transformed by the love of Christ—this is the kind of fruit Paul had in mind for the Philippians, and it’s the kind of fruit I pray will be produced by the Carolina Clapham Circle.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Pray that God will free slaves today and that He'll use us to do it.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
- Raise public awareness of the genocide in Sudan
- Honor Sudanese refugees in Charlotte
- Encourage China to persuade Sudan to accept an effective security force on the ground to protect Sudanese civilians and to participate, in good faith, in the peace process
Although the scope of the rally goes beyond human trafficking, this is definitely the kind of event I want to be part of.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
I find that being reminded of the basic facts over and over again helps me to keep human trafficking on the front burner of my mind, and being told about abolitionist organizations gives me hope as I see our numbers increase. Little by little, I can see the anti-slavery movement reaching critical mass, turning up the heat on the bad guys and finding ways to shelter and restore those who are rescued.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The American Civil Liberties Union is petitioning the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on behalf of six domestic workers, asking that the United States be held responsible "for its neglect and failure to protect domestic workers employed by diplomats from human rights abuses and to ensure that these workers can seek meaningful redress for their rights."
The workers all describe things that are familiar to anyone who studies human trafficking—deception about pay and working conditions, confiscation of passports, workers forced to put in ridiculously long hours and forbidden to leave the house or talk with anyone. Beatings, verbal abuse and threats.
I've often thought poorly of the ACLU, but these workers seem to have a legitimate claim that the U.S. should have done more to protect them. Changing our laws and policies regarding diplomatic immunity would be a huge undertaking, I'm sure. But why should foreign diplomats be free to enslave people while living in this country? I encourage you to read the stories of these workers.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Several of our group members were able to attend a meeting Tuesday evening of the World Affairs Council of Charlotte, where we heard from Aaron Cohen, a pioneer in fighting human trafficking. Special Agent John Price of the FBI also spoke. I’m not sure how many people attended the meeting, but there were quite a few, and that was encouraging. One thing that stood out was the statement that additional shelter space for rescued victims is needed right now in Charlotte.
Then today, two of us were able to go to a training event at The Salvation Army. I was able to attend only the last couple of hours of the day-long event, but my friend Elizabeth attended the whole thing, along with about 30 others. The attendees represented some of the law enforcement and social service agencies that are most actively involved in fighting human trafficking in our region. They really know their stuff, and they’re exactly the kind of people our group has wanted to connect with so we can determine how we may be able to make a real difference locally.
Much of the information that I heard was geared toward social service providers who might need to screen people to determine if they are trafficking victims and then help them through the maze of governmental procedures, while trying to ensure their safety and healing from such deep scars.
It was a bit daunting, but I came away realizing that this is where we’ll see just how committed I really am. Do I just want to rant about the problem on a blog and hold meetings where we brainstorm about things we might do someday? Or do I continue to follow God step-by-step, listening to His voice and obeying Him even if it gets hard?