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Archives for August 2018

August 24, 2018 - No Comments!

Sowing Tears Into Japan

Last month, ZOE Japan sent their very first Japanese short term missions team to ZOE Thailand. Below is a beautiful testimony of one of the members that joined the trip.

I left ZOE Thailand having shed tears, yes. But the tears I shed were not the tears I expected. Psalm 126:5 says that those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy. It was as if I got to experience the reaping of the tears sown at ZOE. I’m convinced ZOE Thailand has sown countless tears over many years and the reaping of joy overflows to bless even the short term mission teams like us who come.

During the weekly prayer night they have had for over a decade, I began by praying alone before the Lord. Not too long later and to my surprise, I felt two precious hands rest upon my arm. I opened my eyes to see two little girls praying for me. The love of Christ is tender…

Outreach with ZOE to over 250 kids that arrived from surrounding villages – theme: anti-human trafficking. A gut response was to think “are these kids old enough to be learning about these “adult” subjects?” But this is their potential reality: either learn about it or fall victim to it. It was humbling and inspiring to see the ZOE ministry school students and the Child Rescue Center staff inform the kids about anti-human trafficking while loving them and having fun with them. The love of Christ is just…

As an engineer, I was particularly intrigued by their near self-sustaining capacity. From their growing medical and professional counseling capabilities to their extensive agricultural endeavors, ZOE Thailand touches almost every corner of life. Yet all of their capabilities are rooted first in Christ. The gospel isn’t just for Sundays but builds communities that become cities on a hill to shine for the nations to turn. The love of Christ is thorough…  

I am grateful for what I experienced at ZOE Thailand. I will carry the experiences of tenderness, the zeal for justice, and the thorough reformation of the love of Christ back with me to Japan, where God has called me and where my heart is. Knowing the tears of Thailand, the taste of joy was ever so sweet, but I desire to sow tears into Japan; the tears of Psalm 119:136 – “My eyes shed streams of tears, because people do not keep your law,” and ZOE Japan still needs a flood of tears before Japan will begin to reap with shouts of joy.

 

August 24, 2018 - No Comments!

The Link Between | Domestic Violence & Human Trafficking

The Home Front and the Fight Against Human Trafficking – Part I: Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence

If you are reading this, you are probably already aware of the fight against human trafficking taking place all over the world.  However, you may not know what you can do right in your neighborhood, even from your very own home, to join the fight against trafficking.

This is the first in a series sharing some practical tips for fighting trafficking on the home front.

“Domestic Violence.”  To most people, this phrase conjures images of a battered wife or child cowering in a corner.  Similar to human trafficking, domestic violence is often a “hidden crime,” happening behind closed doors and away from the public eye.  Typically, domestic violence, like human trafficking, is defined by an imbalance of power. We see this when a vulnerable person suffers at the hands of someone who controls or manipulates them in a verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual context.

Researchers have identified correlations between the crimes of domestic violence and human trafficking. Two studies from the 1980s, by different research groups, found that between 70-80% of commercially sexually exploited youth had a histories of sexual abuse.1

A more recent London-based study referenced in the U.S. Department of State’s 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report found that almost 70% of adult female trafficking victims experienced domestic violence prior to being trafficked.

After more than two decades, this statistic has remained virtually unchanged.  Domestic violence is an indicator of, and directly leads to, vulnerability to human trafficking.  As long as domestic violence continues to flourish, it will create vulnerability that human traffickers will exploit.

Domestic violence breaks relationships, leaving fear, shame, and depression in its wake.  One trafficker stated in an interview that he would target girls who had “daddy issues,” referring to a broken father-daughter relationship.2  These girls were vulnerable to manipulation, intimidation, and, ultimately, control.

Ester Yu, Assistant USA Regional Director of ZOE International, noted, “Strong similarities exist in the coercive patterns that both abusers and traffickers use to gain and maintain control over a victim. Physical, verbal, and emotional abuse and manipulation are often used to pressure or force a partner into engaging in commercial sex in what is called ‘intimate partner trafficking.’ Traffickers often lure, pressure, or force young girls into child trafficking by first acting as a boyfriend and someone who cares for them. This relationship soon turns controlling, abusive, and exploitative, leaving young girls in a situation where they have no choice and are dependent upon their abuser.”

An estimated 1 out of 4 women experience domestic violence on the level of severe physical violence by an intimate partner during her lifetime.3  However, for female victims of human trafficking, approximately 3 out of every 4 had already experienced domestic violence, before they were trafficked.

Domestic violence doesn’t just create victims of human trafficking, it also creates perpetrators.  The study, "From Victims to Victimizers: Interviews with 25 ex-pimps in Chicago," by researchers Jody Raphael and Brenda Myers-Powell, found that 88% of those surveyed experienced physical abuse growing up, while 76% endured sexual abuse. In many cases, the abuse forced them to leave home early and turn to exploiting others to survive.3

As we stand against human trafficking, one very practical action we can take is to keep our eyes open for signs of domestic violence.  These signs include5:

  • Personality changes, like low self-esteem in someone who was always confident
  • Constantly checking in with or overly worried about pleasing a partner
  • Skipping out on work, school, or social outings for no clear reason
  • Wearing clothes that don’t fit the season, like long sleeves in summer to cover bruises and giving excuses for injuries
  • Sounds and signs of domestic violence or abuse

Signs of abuse can also be an indicator of someone who is currently being trafficked.  Many human trafficking survivors experience physical abuse that can be visibly seen, similar to domestic violence.

Unfortunately, even when we see these signs of domestic violence, we sometimes lack the courage to act.  We may believe the situation will get better on its own. It rarely does. We may believe that, if the person really wants to get out, they can.  But in reality, victims are controlled through emotional manipulation as well as physical threats. Many feel fear and guilt. Some fear for their lives, the safety of their children, and even the well-being of their abusers.  We may believe the situation doesn’t involve us, since it’s a private issue. But if we don’t speak up, who will?

Sometimes, we simply don’t know what to do or whom to contact (see the information below).

The truth is that you can make a difference.  By speaking up, you may save a person from a lifetime of violence and possibly even rescue that person from a future of enslavement at the hands of a human trafficker.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) – online chat option available also

http://www.thehotline.org/help/

http://www.thehotline.org/help/what-to-expect-when-you-contact-the-hotline/

Additional Resources: TED Talk Videos about Human Trafficking & Abuse

Woman who was trafficked for 10 years shares how it started with her running away from abuse at home:

https://youtu.be/U_kXuQHZmWs

Child bride (a form of human trafficking) shares about abuse and recovery:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPAG3I8P34k

Why domestic violence victims (similar to human trafficking victims) don’t leave:

https://youtu.be/V1yW5IsnSjo

ZOE International, a U.S. 501(c)(3) NGO, has been combating human trafficking on the ground for 15 years in Southeast Asia and is active in Thailand, Japan, Australia, Mexico, and the United States.

1) Bagley & Young, 1987; Silbert & Pines, 1982

2) Nefarious Merchant of Souls movie

3) https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf

4) http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-09-15/news/ct-met-pimp-study-20100915_1_pimps-sexual-abuse-prostitution

5) https://www.verywellmind.com/signs-someone-is-being-abused-66535  & https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-domestic-abuse-signs#2

August 22, 2018 - No Comments!

In Our Backyard

by Ester Yu

Last month, ZOE was invited to participate in a roundtable discussion about federal and local efforts to combat human trafficking and the ongoing opioid epidemic. This meeting was hosted by Representative Steve Knight (R-CA) and House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) and included local government officials, state legislators, law enforcement agencies, and representatives from local nonprofit organizations like ZOE.

Opioids is a significant problem in Santa Clarita Valley. In the roundtable meeting, it was discussed that there have been seven overdose deaths this year alone and that Santa Clarita is a “corridor” for drug and human trafficking. The Signal Santa Clarita Valley recently produced a series (https://vault.signalscv.com/addicted) documenting the local opioid crisis.

ZOE was able to suggest some action items related to human trafficking. We appreciate opportunities to learn from, network with, and share our knowledge and experience with those who are on the front-lines combating human trafficking through roundtable and task force meetings such as this one, the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force (LARHTTF), a Human Trafficking Congressional Advisory Committee, and others.

Human trafficking and the opioid epidemic don’t just affect one region of the country or any specific demographic,” said Rep. Knight These are national issues that hurt our neighbors in all of our communities. Chairman McCaul and the Homeland Security Committee have been extremely effective in pushing aggressive legislation that will help address many of these most pressing challenges. I want to thank him for his continued leadership and for making the trip out here to bring his expertise to these roundtable discussions.”

Today’s events were very beneficial and a huge success,” said Chairman McCaul “In order to effectively fight human trafficking and the opioid epidemic, we need to coordinate local and federal law enforcement, engage private sector non-profits, and enact many of the bold policies we’ve been advancing in the House. Rep. Knight brings invaluable experience to these discussions from his career as a police officer and I’d like to thank him for hosting me in California’s 25th District.”

Press Release: https://knight.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=2083

August 22, 2018 - 2 comments

Partnering and Impacting

On a recent trip to Australia, ZOE founders Michael and Carol Hart along with ZOE missionaries, David and Andrea Cross, had the privilege of teaming up with the Entrust Foundation to host an awareness dinner about ZOE’s work in Thailand as well as internationally.

Entrust Foundation’s passion is to serve the poor and oppressed in partnership with donors and project implementers. They support individuals and communities living in tough places and see themselves as the link between donors who wish to make a difference and trusted local partners working to change lives.  The Entrust Foundation works in 15 nations with people of all cultures, genders and religious beliefs, to enable long-term change through co-operatively funding community development projects in some of the toughest places on earth.

The Entrust Foundation gives towards ZOE’s prevention program in South East Asia and helps to fund ZOE prevention campaigns in schools as well as outreaches in transient and vulnerable areas such as Thai migrant and refugee camps.

There were so many positive comments throughout the evening as well as words of encouragement about the work going on at ZOE.  The thing that stood out the most though was how impacted the wait staff working at the venue were. They stopped what they were doing and listened so intently as Michael, Carol and David shared. We trust that the message was just as impacting for them too.

It was obvious that not only the guests but that every single person in the room that night got to hear about ZOE’s work walked away excited and determined to see child trafficking eradicated as well as more aware of what can be done to make that happen.

August 13, 2018 - No Comments!

What’s your role?

by Abigail Jennerson

“I dive for passion and always wondered if it would have purpose. Last two weeks was what I prepared for my entire life.”

This is a quote from a British cave diver who, last month, found the 11 boys who were trapped in a cave in Thailand. If you didn’t see it all over the media, just type “Thailand”, “cave”, “boys”, and “trapped” into Google, in no specific order, and you’ll find countless blogs, videos, and news articles covering the story.

This international mission broke out to find a group of boys who needed rescue. People offered their expertise. They gave up their fields. Their lives. All of these people playing a unique role, yet each with the same purpose of seeing these 11 boys rescued.

It filled me with such hope! The world came together with such passion and selflessness to ensure FREEDOM for these 11 boys.

Did you know that there are 20 million people still awaiting their rescue?

JOIN THE INTERNATIONAL MISSION. What’s your role?