Sunday, February 28, 2010

Learning From the Sin of Sodom

NY Times
Published: February 27, 2010

For most of the last century, save-the-worlders were primarily Democrats and liberals. In contrast, many Republicans and religious conservatives denounced government aid programs, with Senator Jesse Helms calling them “money down a rat hole.”

Over the last decade, however, that divide has dissolved, in ways that many Americans haven’t noticed or appreciated. Evangelicals have become the new internationalists, pushing successfully for new American programs against AIDS and malaria, and doing superb work on issues from human trafficking in India to mass rape in Congo.

A pop quiz: What’s the largest U.S.-based international relief and development organization?

It’s not Save the Children, and it’s not CARE — both terrific secular organizations. Rather, it’s World Vision, a Seattle-based Christian organization (with strong evangelical roots) whose budget has roughly tripled over the last decade.

World Vision now has 40,000 staff members in nearly 100 countries. That’s more staff members than CARE, Save the Children and the worldwide operations of the United States Agency for International Development — combined.

A growing number of conservative Christians are explicitly and self-critically acknowledging that to be “pro-life” must mean more than opposing abortion. The head of World Vision in the United States, Richard Stearns, begins his fascinating book, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” with an account of a visit a decade ago to Uganda, where he met a 13-year-old AIDS orphan who was raising his younger brothers by himself.

“What sickened me most was this question: where was the Church?” he writes. “Where were the followers of Jesus Christ in the midst of perhaps the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time? Surely the Church should have been caring for these ‘orphans and widows in their distress.’ (James 1:27). Shouldn’t the pulpits across America have flamed with exhortations to rush to the front lines of compassion?

“How have we missed it so tragically, when even rock stars and Hollywood actors seem to understand?”

Mr. Stearns argues that evangelicals were often so focused on sexual morality and a personal relationship with God that they ignored the needy. He writes laceratingly about “a Church that had the wealth to build great sanctuaries but lacked the will to build schools, hospitals, and clinics.”

In one striking passage, Mr. Stearns quotes the prophet Ezekiel as saying that the great sin of the people of Sodom wasn’t so much that they were promiscuous or gay as that they were “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” (Ezekiel 16:49.)

Hmm. Imagine if sodomy laws could be used to punish the stingy, unconcerned rich!

The American view of evangelicals is still shaped by preening television blowhards and hypocrites who seem obsessed with gays and fetuses. One study cited in the book found that even among churchgoers ages 16 to 29, the descriptions most associated with Christianity were “antihomosexual,” “judgmental,” “too involved in politics,” and “hypocritical.”

Some conservative Christians reinforced the worst view of themselves by inspiring Ugandan homophobes who backed a bill that would punish gays with life imprisonment or execution. Ditto for the Vatican, whose hostility to condoms contributes to the AIDS epidemic. But there’s more to the picture: I’ve also seen many Catholic nuns and priests heroically caring for AIDS patients — even quietly handing out condoms.

One of the most inspiring figures I’ve met while covering Congo’s brutal civil war is a determined Polish nun in the terrifying hinterland, feeding orphans, standing up to drunken soldiers and comforting survivors — all in a war zone. I came back and decided: I want to grow up and become a Polish nun.

Some Americans assume that religious groups offer aid to entice converts. That’s incorrect. Today, groups like World Vision ban the use of aid to lure anyone into a religious conversation.

Some liberals are pushing to end the longtime practice (it’s a myth that this started with President George W. Bush) of channeling American aid through faith-based organizations. That change would be a catastrophe. In Haiti, more than half of food distributions go through religious groups like World Vision that have indispensable networks on the ground. We mustn’t make Haitians the casualties in our cultural wars.

A root problem is a liberal snobbishness toward faith-based organizations. Those doing the sneering typically give away far less money than evangelicals. They’re also less likely to spend vacations volunteering at, say, a school or a clinic in Rwanda.

If secular liberals can give up some of their snootiness, and if evangelicals can retire some of their sanctimony, then we all might succeed together in making greater progress against common enemies of humanity, like illiteracy, human trafficking and maternal mortality.

Friday, February 26, 2010

EWOP Meeting!

We have our next ALL-EWOP meeting on the books and YOU need to be there! We always have a ton of great information, ways to get involved, resources, and Freedom Stones Jewelry. There is a chance that we might have NEW *** Freedom Stones *** jewelry for the SPRING in our hands, too (keep your finger crossed).

As always, feel free to bring a friend. You DO NOT need to go to OCC to be in Eastside Women of Purpose.


Monday, February 22, 2010

Taking Down Trafficking Registration

The Taking Down Trafficking site on the OCC web has been updated to have it’s own page!
(there is a “Register” button at the bottom that will link you to online registration)

If you want to direct people right to the Registration Page, here is the link:

PLEASE share this with friends and post it on your facebook pages! It is going to be a great event, and we really want to pack it out!

Don't Miss Out on the FUN!!!

The BAG O FUN, that is!!

I normally don't do personal plugs but this blog is all about justice and what is more about justice than adoption?!?!

Our good friends, Mike & Jodie Howerton (check out her blog HERE), just found out that they were approved to go and pick up their son in Africa! Their court date is in ONE MONTH!! They need help fundraising so our other good friends, the McQueen's (their blog) have put together a Bag O Fun to raffle on the behalf.

Here’s the Bag O’Fun:


Does it look like fun? Don’t be deceived- here is what’s inside:


PF Chang -$50 + Nordstrom - $50 + Itunes - $15 + Cold Stone- $15 + Jamba Juice- $15+ AMC Entertainment -$25+ Barnes & Noble - $25 =$175 OF FUN!!

Here’s how this will go:

Raffle tickets are 1 for $5, 3 for $10 or 8 for $20.

Go HERE to buy the raffle tickets. Leave a comment here about how many raffle tickets you purchased. And Thursday at 11pm (PST) we’ll randomly select a lucky raffle ticket and announce the winner on Friday morning!

Now go get your raffle ticket because it will be FUN and because soon a boy who has no one will be part of a very amazing family…forever!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tee Off is Back!!

Registration is UP and space is limited!

You can register to participate as a Golfer and
join us for a beautiful Luncheon and Silent & Live Auction
OR you can sign up to participate in our Luncheon and Auction Only.

Our location has changed this year and it is REALLY amazing. Check it out.
The Golf Club at Echo Falls

Get a group together or sign up on your own and help us

Friday, February 12, 2010

UNBOUND Conference

April 16-17, 2010
University Presbyterian Church
Seattle, WA

On April 16-17, 2010, the 2nd annual UNBOUND conference will be hosted by Freedom Initiative, a team of university students in the Seattle area who have joined forces to combat human trafficking. This multifaceted and complex social issue demands an intricately strategic solution that can only be accomplished by the skillful collaboration of abilities, perspectives, and passions from a variety of individuals and organizations. Thus, by bringing together community-based organizations, government agencies, educational institutions, and individuals who are active in the fight against modern day slavery, the Freedom Initiative team aims to educate people on the issue of Human Trafficking, to empower individuals to develop a personal response to slavery, and to mobilize them to action in the fight against it.

For more information:
or visit

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ignore No More Forum 2010

Register Now! for the Zonta Club of Everett’s
Ignore No More Forum 2010: Economic Solutions to Slavery Today

Then, please share this information with your friends!

Date: February 27, 2010
Time: 8:00 am to Noon
Place: Everett Community College’s Parks Student Union

Online Registration: Go to
To register by mail: Go to
Click on “Show Other Payment Options” then “Pay Offline”

Monday, February 8, 2010

Learn More: Human Trafficking Statistics


The following is a list of available statistics estimating the scope of Human Trafficking around the world. Actual statistics are often unavailable, and some may be contradictory due to the covert nature of the crime, the invisibility of victims and high levels of under-reporting. Further obstacles include inconsistent definitions, reluctance to share data, and a lack of funding for and standardization of data collection. Particularly lacking are estimates on the number of American citizens trafficked within the U.S.

Human Trafficking Worldwide

27 million – Number of people in modern-day slavery across the world.
Source: Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves.
-According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP Report), estimates vary from 4 to 27 million.
-The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates 2.4 million people were victims of human trafficking from 1995-2005. This estimate uses the UN Protocol definition of human trafficking, and includes both transnational and internal data.

800,000 – Number of people trafficked across international borders every year.
Source: U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: 2007.
The TIP Report in 2001 and 2002 estimated this figure at 700,000;
The TIP Report of 2003 reported 800,000 to 900,000 victims;
The TIP Reports of 2004 through 2006 reported 600,000 to 800,000 victims.

1 million – Number of children exploited by the global commercial sex trade, every year.
Source: U.S. Department of State, The Facts About Child Sex Tourism: 2005.

50% – Percent of transnational victims who are children.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Report to Congress from Attorney General John Ashcroft on U.S. Government Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons in Fiscal Year 2003: 2004.

80% – Percent of transnational victims who are women and girls.
Source: U.S. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report: 2007.

70% – Percent of female victims who are trafficked into the commercial sex industry. This means that 30% of female victims are victims of forced labor.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons: 2004.

161 – Countries identified as affected by human trafficking:
Source: UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Trafficking in Persons: Global Patterns: April 2006.
-127 countries of origin; 98 transit countries; 137 destination countries.
-Note: Countries may be counted multiple times and categories are not mutually exclusive.

32 billion – Total yearly profits generated by the human trafficking industry.
Source: ILO, A global alliance against forced labor: 2005.
-$15.5 billion is made in industrialized countries.
-$9.7 billion in Asia
-$13,000 per year generated on average by each "forced laborer." This number can be as high as $67,200 per victim per year.

Human Trafficking Statistics Polaris Project Polaris Project P.O. Box 77892, Washington, DC 20013 Tel: 202.745.1001 © Copyright Polaris Project, 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Potential Trafficking Indicators


The following is a list of red flags to keep in mind that may indicate a potential situation of or a victim of human trafficking. Each indicator taken individually may not necessarily imply a trafficking situation. Furthermore, items on this list are not meant to be interpreted as present in all trafficking cases, neither is the list intended to be exhaustive. This list is intended to encompass transnational and domestic trafficking, as well as both sex and labor trafficking. Some indicators may be more strongly associated with one type of trafficking. Common Work and

Living Conditions: The Individual(s) in Question…
-Is not free to leave or come and go as he/she wishes
-Is under 18 years of age and is providing commercial sex acts
-Is in the commercial sex industry and has a pimp/manager
-Is unpaid, paid very little, or paid only through tips
-Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
-Is not allowed breaks or suffers under unusual restrictions at work
-Owes a large and/or increasing debt and is unable to pay it off
-Was recruited through false promises concerning the nature and conditions of his/her work
-Is living or working in a location with high security measures (e.g. opaque or boarded-up windows, bars on windows, barbed wire, security cameras, etc.).

Poor Mental Health or Abnormal Behavior: The Individual(s) in Question…
-Exhibits unusually fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid behavior
-Reacts with unusually fearful or anxious behavior at any reference to "law enforcement"
-Avoids eye contact
-Exhibits a flat affect.

Poor Physical Health: The Individual(s) in Question…
-Presents with unexplained injuries or signs of prolonged/untreated illness or disease
-Appears malnourished
-Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture.

Lack of Control: The Individual(s) in Question…
-Has few or no personal possessions
-Is not in control of his/her own money, and/or has no financial records, or bank account
-Is not in control of his/her own identification documents (e.g. ID, passport, or visa)
-Is not allowed or able to speak for him/herself (e.g., a third party may insist on being present and/or interpreting)
-Has an attorney that he/she doesn’t seem to know or to have agreed to receive representation services from.

Other: The Individual(s) in Question…
-Has been "branded" by a trafficker (e.g. a tattoo of the trafficker’s name)
-Claims to be "just visiting" and is unable to clarify where he/she is staying or to provide an address
-Exhibits a lack of knowledge of whereabouts and/or does not know what city he/she is in
-Exhibits a loss of sense of time
-Has numerous inconsistencies in his/her story.

Potential Trafficking Indicators Polaris Project Polaris Project P.O. Box 77892, Washington, DC 20013 Tel: 202.745.1001 © Copyright Polaris Project, 2009. All Rights Reserved.