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Monday, October 11, 2010

Life Changing Event

This past weekend my husband and I went to the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta with a few other leaders from our church. This was a life changing experience. We had the privilege of listening to great speakers such as Andy Stanley, Beth Moore, T.D. Jakes, Craig Groeshel and many, many more. We had the privilege of learning about many organizations that have chosen to make a difference in this world we live in.

One of the women who stood up in front of about 13,000 people was Christine Cain. She opened my eyes to something that I have NEVER really thought about. I mean, it's passed through my mind but what she said really hit me like a ton of bricks and made me change my outlook on the topic. I would like to share with whoever is reading this what I've learned.

Christine is the founder and director of the A21 Campaign. It's current mission focus is on human trafficking in Europe and around the world. Did you know that in our world RIGHT NOW there are 27 MILLION slaves? .... Yes, 27 MILLION!! That's more NOW than ever in history.

What hit home with me, especially considering I'm from Georgia and all, is that Atlanta is one of the number one cities for sex trafficking. After doing some research when I got home I learned that 7200 men purchase sex from adolescent girls each month in Georgia. How horrible is that? I found out that information on a website called A Future. Not a Past. They are hosting a 5K Run/Walk in Atlanta in November.

Christine Cain changed my way of thinking when she began calling out the difference in compassion and empathy or sympathy.

em·pa·thy [em-puh-thee]
–noun
1. the intellectual identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.

sym·pa·thy [sim-puh-thee]
-noun
1. harmony of or agreement in feeling, as between persons or on the part of one person with respect to another.

com·pas·sion
[kuhm-pash-uhn]
–noun
1. a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

Christine Cain made it very clear that it doesn't help for someone to have an emotional experience. It helps when someone has an emotional experience and then acts on it with help! People will find excuses as to why they can't help someone or a cause. She said we need to get our "buts" out of the way ... ex: "I wanna help, but ... ".

"A million is just a number until we meet one" - Christine Cain

Meet Rani Hong. At the age of 7 Rani's dad lost his job and his family was hurting for money. A well-respected lady in their community offered to help by taking Rani into her home and helping her with an education and the essentials needed for life. Within one month this woman sold Rani into slavery. Within one year, EIGHT YEARS OLD (think of what you were doing at 8) ... Rani had been beaten everyday. Raped everyday. Told she was never going to be anything and broken. She was physically sick and worn out ... Imagine having to service 40-50 men a day at eight years old. It's horrible.

She was placed up for adoption and eventually adopted out to a woman in Canada whom died when Rani was 16 of cancer. She fended for herself and eventually met her husband and they found out they had more in common than they thought because he went through the same thing. Together they have started the Tronie Foundation which helps the survivors of human trafficking.

StreetGrace.org - An alliance of faith-based churches in Atlanta who have come together to stop the sexual exploitation of children. Check out their movie that's going to be showing at the Fox Theater, Stop the Candy Shop.

Here's my search for "Sex Trafficking in the United States". Very sad.

While I was eating at The Varsity Friday on our way back home I looked out across the skyline. I was thinking, Wow, Atlanta: Home of the Braves, The Falcons, The Trashers, Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium. And one of the number one cities for Human Trafficking.

Do not turn your heads and look away!!

ECPAT USA (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes)', an Anti-Trafficking agency, states that the average age of entry into street prostitution is between 12 and 14 years old, though there have been cases of girls as young as 9 years old. (source)

Human Trafficking Statistics.

21 Ways to Help!

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