Videos to challenge and inspire

•October 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment
Here are a few video resources for information, education, prayer, and action!  Please be aware that most of these films are not advisable for younger audiences, and use discretion.
1) The Whistleblower, directed by Larysa Kondracki and starring Rachel Weiz. August 2011 release. Highlights the sex trade in post-war Bosnia and the UN’s role in the whole story. Has generated a special screening for the UN (this October) which will be followed by a discussion of the issues brought forth in the film. See more at:
2) Lilya 4-Ever, written and directed by Lukas Moodysson. 2002 release. Estonian girl is trafficked into prostitution in Sweden. Spiritual themes make for interesting discussion.

3) Amazing Grace, directed by Michael Apted and starring Ioan Gruffudd and Albert Finney. The abolitionist William Wilberforce maneuvers his way through Parliament, endeavoring to end the British transatlantic slave trade. 2006 release.

4) Human Trafficking, a two part mini-series directed by Christian Duguay and starring Donald Sutherland & Mira Sorvino. 2005 release. Details 3 consecutive (and linked) trafficking stories. Set in the USA, Prague, Philippines and Ukraine. One of the best depictions of reality.

5) Trade, directed by Marco Kreuzpaintner and starring Kevin Kline. 2008 release. Set in Mexico and USA.

6) Sex Traffic, directed by David Yates and starring Anamaria Marinca and John Simm. 2004 release. A two part British-Canadian TV drama.


1) Stolen. BBC1 Drama, directed by Justin Chadwick and starring Damian Lewis. Aired on BBC1 July 2011. (They are working on finding out when and how non-UK residents can view it – I’ll keep you posted).
1) Very Young Girls – Rachel Lloyd / GEMS production. Details the commercial sex trade in the USA. Please see the GEMS website for more info. Very Young Girls is available for rental and instant viewing through Netflix in the US.
2) Bought & Sold – Global Survival Network / WITNESS production. Directed by Gillian Caldwell. 42 mins running time. Available on
3) Nefarious: Merchant of Souls – Exodus Cry production. Covers the global sex trade in USA, Europe, Eastern Europe and SE Asia. Please contact them directly to order:

3) Born into Brothels, directed by Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman.  2004 release.  This film focuses on children growing up in brothel communities in India.

4) “Sex Slaves” is written and directed by Ric Esther Bienstock, and produced in association with CBC-TV, Channel 4 and Canal D (Canada).  This gripping documentary exposes the inside of the global sex trade in women from the former Soviet Bloc.  (You can view this film online at

5)  Witness: Fighting the Global Sex Trade is an Al Jazeera documentary from November 2010 profiling Stella Rotaru, who combats trafficking in Moldova.  Particularly realistic picture of trafficking in Eastern Europe.  Watch it at


Two Little Girls.  I like this simple, two-minute introduction to the issue, and find it useful for younger audiences.  ‘Two Little Girls” was shown as part of the exhibition ‘not Natasha’ by Dana Popa at Impressions Gallery, Bradford, in partnership with Autograph ABP. Find the video clip online at

Healing for victims of abuse…and their abusers

•June 7, 2011 • Leave a Comment

If no one remembers a misdeed or names it publicly, it remains invisible. On one level, the victim is not a victim and the perpetrator is not a perpetrator; both are misperceived because the one’s violence and the other’s suffering go unrecognized. A double injustice occurs, the first when the original deed is done and the second when it is made to disappear.”  – Miroslav Volf

How do we deal with sexual abuse as a community of faith?   How can we become a source of hope and help to those struggling with the pain of abuse?  Are we willing to listen to people’s stories, bear witness to the misdeed, and walk with them on their journey of restoration?

This sermon from Wheaton Bible Church courageously asks some of those questions, helping us as congregations to understand the nature of abuse and the needs of both the victim and the abuser.  In many cases, both are in our churches – and both need God’s help, and ours!   Navigate under the heading Titles to “Present Help in Present Trouble (Week 4)” to view this exceptional sermon.

How dreams become nightmares…Two Little Girls (video clip)

•May 21, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This short animated piece is suitable for young people.   It tells a simple story about what happens when good desires are exploited by bad people…a story that is repeated hundreds of thousands of times across the world, with devastating results.

Petition: No apps for exploitation!

•May 15, 2011 • 2 Comments

Apple has just approved the June release of a new app that lets you use your phone to find partners willing to exchange money for sex.  As one blogger writes, “Location-based software plus smartphone plus lust equals this application.”   (Read his blog post “Hire a Hooker?  There’s an app for that” here.)

SugarSugar, creator of the app, is a ‘dating site’ connecting men with money to women with financial need…in exchange for “companionship”.  This app would allow people looking for a ‘sugar’ relationship (exchanging money for sex) to locate other potential partners nearby.

It is unthinkable that Apple (a company that has routinely rejected apps for porn) would release an app facilitating prostitution.  This app clearly violates their own rules, and hopefully we wil see them move speedily to correct this lapse in judgement.


A petition has just been launched at asking Apple not to release this app.  Remind Steve Jobs that he doesn’t need the money…or the reputation his company will get for facilitating the sale of human beings.

Click here to be redirected to the petition.  Please sign it … and send it on!  No apps for exploitation.

Children at risk: what can we do?

•April 29, 2011 • 2 Comments

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.  – Edmund Burke

I know that many of you long to make a difference for victims of trafficking!  I am so thankful for those who ask, “What can I do?”   My answer today may not be glamourous, but it could not be more important.

Start with children.

Are you aware of families in your community that struggle?  Do you suspect that a child in your Sunday School class or neighborhood might be suffering the trauma of abuse?

KTUU, a television station in Anchorage, Alaska, recently ran an excellent series called “Stones in A Backpack”, highlighting the ways that childhood trauma contribute to ‘the burden of teen prostitution’.   Click here to link to the site.

Abuse and dysfunction in a child’s family lower her self-esteem, contribute to problems in school, and ultimately make her much more vulnerable to other predators…and commercial sexual exploitation.  It’s one of the major contributing factors to teen prostitution and child trafficking in Western society.

How do we prevent this harm?  And how can we respond to children who have already been victimised?

I believe the first step is education.  Not for the children, but for us.

Child sexual abuse is such a horrifying evil thing that we would like to pretend that it doesn’t exist.  But “child sexual abuse is not rare.  Retrospective research indicates that as many as 1 out of 4 girls and 1 out of 6 boys will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18.” (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network)

Signs which may indicate abuse include*:

  • an increase in nightmares and/or other sleeping difficulties
  • withdrawn behaviour
  • angry outbursts
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • not wanting to be left alone with a particular individual(s)
  • sexual knowledge, language, and/or behaviors that are inappropriate for the child’s age

So – what can you do if you suspect a child might be the victim of sexual abuse or exploitation?

Keep the CHILD in focus, not the abuse.  The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology offers recommendations.

What to Say
If a child even hints in a vague way that sexual abuse has occurred, encourage him or her to talk freely. Don’t make judgmental comments.

  • Show that you understand and take seriously what the child is saying. Child and adolescent psychiatrists have found that children who are listened to and understood do much better than those who are not. The response to the disclosure of sexual abuse is critical to the child’s ability to resolve and heal the trauma of sexual abuse.
  • Assure the child that they did the right thing in telling. A child who is close to the abuser may feel guilty about revealing the secret. The child may feel frightened if the abuser has threatened to harm the child or other family members as punishment for telling the secret.
  • Tell the child that he or she is not to blame for the sexual abuse. Most children in attempting to make sense out of the abuse will believe that somehow they caused it or may even view it as a form of punishment for imagined or real wrongdoings.
  • Finally, offer the child protection, and promise that you will promptly take steps to see that the abuse stops.

What to Do
Report any suspicion of child abuse. If the abuse is within the family, report it to the local Child Protection Agency. If the abuse is outside of the family, report it to the police or district attorney’s office. Individuals reporting in good faith are immune from prosecution. The agency receiving the report will conduct an evaluation and will take action to protect the child.

Continue reading this article here.  More guidelines and advice are available from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

Help is possible, and hope is only as far away as the nearest person who cares.  Recognize the signs of abuse…and find the courage to ACT.  You can combat trafficking by fighting for the future of children in your own community!

*Learn more by reading the Child Sexual Abuse Fact Sheet, which can be accessed through this link.

The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder discusses the impact of child sexual abuse here.

You can find more resources to deal with child abuse from the National Children’s Alliance here.

The Endangered Child Initiative provides more information on the connection between abuse and commercial exploitation (here).

ECPAT International provides news and ways to combat child pornography, prostitution, and trafficking.  Click here to go to their homepage.

CNN – Heroic enough

•April 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I don’t know why I’m so obsessed with heroes…except that they are so desperately needed!

Most of you are already aware that CNN has launched a new initiative:  the Freedom Project.  I think it’s fair to say that the project is neither totally heroic (since this is a response to a topic which already draws a huge audience) nor entirely self-serving (since they are attempting to cultivate anti-trafficking responses around the world).

Are they less heroic for serving a popular cause?  Perhaps…but they ARE serving it.

So are Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher.  After providing an interview with the Freedom Project earlier this week, their organization, the Demi and Ashton Foundation (DNA), was criticised by Fox News in a move that was certainly NOT heroic.  (Click here to read Fox’s critique.)

I am not suggesting that either CNN or DNA is perfect in motive or execution…but they are both creating awareness and momentum, which could help change the tide for people who are exploited!  Would I like them to change things?  Maybe.  Would I like them to stop?  CERTAINLY NOT.

Jesus addresses a similar question in Mark 9:38-41.

38 “Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

39 “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, 40 for whoever is not against us is for us41Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.”

I am thankful that there are people and organizations giving their time and talents to serve!  Thanks, CNN…and you, too, Demi and Ashton.

Follow CNN’s regular postings online at!  Learn more about the vision of the project here.

Required reading

•April 7, 2011 • 1 Comment

A friend wrote today to ask me to recommend a few books on trafficking.  Here are some of the top picks on my bookshelf (with links).  Amazon has thoughtfully reviewed them, so I won’t.  🙂

Not all of the authors are Christians; and not all of the Christians share my own faith perspective.  However, I think each of these authors has something important to say as we consider this issue and shape our own responses.

Happy reading!

Prostitution, Trafficking and Traumatic Stress, Melissa Farley PhD

Human Trafficking: A Global Perspective, Louise Shelley

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide (Vintage), Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy, Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild

Casting Stones: Prostitution And Liberation In Asia And The United States, Rita Nakashima Brock and Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite

Walking With the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development, Bryant L. Myers

This list is only a tiny start on the vast quantity of good books out there on trafficking, prostitution, and some of its root causes.  What are your ‘go-to’ resources??