The holidays are not the only time to give back. For me, the winter holiday apathy creeps up it's ugly head almost every year (all the pointless, obligatory activity can snatch at us and lull us to sleep). I think, do we really need so much more stuff, when there are orphans barely getting a meal all over Africa or Russia, or when there are little girls being sold for sex in mass quantities...?
Unfortunately the holidays can too easily become a distraction from real living; not that they have to be. We have a choice in the matter. What choices am I making?
Last month I wrote this to some new friends, after reflecting on my need to give back:
Our world is in such mess in so many ways. It's so important to want to be part of fighting for justice for the oppressed, hungry and enslaved... through the love of Christ in us. His love compels us, and strangely and surprisingly we can find our own emancipation in helping others. I think it's because we are all interconnected in some way, part of one another.
Thinking back on it, we all suffer because of the mess the world is in. I for one, can put forth some effort in giving back, rethinking my holiday present giving. I'm not saying I'm against holiday gift giving at all. I for one like giving and receiving genuine gifts. My friend Nicole really blessed us with an awesome package, and we really NEEDED the scarves and hats she got my daughter! Her gift was amazing and from the Holy Spirit in so many ways. Gifts are good when they are fueled by love, rather than pointless obligation, to keep up appearances, or maintain old traditions that are perhaps in desperate need to be changed...!
But back to what I was getting at, I want to really make a difference for those who have no voice, especially children; who doesn't? They are part of us and we can't ignore them. "Wanting" to do something is not enough. What stops us from fighting against injustice? There are many forces pining for our time, and so many distractions (I think especially during holidays; I can really hate them sometimes. It's a love-hate relationship...)
So these holidays, the needy can't fall by the wayside while we accumulate more crap that is just hard to keep track of (I'm speaking for myself. What do I really need...?)
Father help us look to the needs that are much greater than ours.
God is the one who seasons our heart to love, but we must respond before we are lulled into a dreary sleep. He whispers little ideas of how to make a difference, but we too easily forget or ignore
Oh, to really give back...
Here's some sobering facts from Love146 Statistics:
Trafficking in persons is modern-day slavery, involving victims who are forced, defrauded or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) now believes that the number of children trafficked annually is around 1.2 million. (2006)
It is estimated that two children per minute are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Annually, according to U.S. Government-sponsored research completed in 2006, approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders, which does not include millions trafficked within their own countries. Approximately 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. The majority of transnational victims are females trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. (2007 Trafficking in Persons Report, U.S. State Department)
It is estimated that at least 27 million people are currently enslaved around the world, many who have been enslaved through being trafficked. This is more than double the number of Africans enslaved during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade.
The U.N. and other experts estimate the total market value of illicit human trafficking at $32 billion - about $10 billion is derived from the initial "sale" of individuals, with the remainder representing the estimated profits from the activities or goods produced by the victims of this barbaric crime. (UNODC)
These numbers make trafficking in persons the second most lucrative crime in the world. The first is drug trafficking. (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2006).
About $28 billion of this is generated from commercial sexual exploitation. (International Labor Organization)
The organization to End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes believe that 45,000-50,000 persons are trafficked into the U.S. each year, 15,000 of them are children. (ECPAT-USA)
Common methods of trafficking:
- physical force
- coercion (debt relief for family, job, marriage, etc.)
- physical and emotional abuse
- threats against self and family
- passport theft
these statistics were copied from here: Love146
their home website is www.love146.org