Escape Moldova

Actually, we’re going TO Moldova…Mats, his daughter Jennifer, and I (that’s right, for a total of TWO Jennifers).  We leave on Thursday, Sept 30th, to attend the first regional conference for ICAP Europe – entitled “Escape“.  We’re certainly bucking the migration trend!

Since the country’s independence, nearly one in ten Moldovans has emigrated to find work in the West (some statistics indicate than one in FOUR ‘economically active’ Moldovans is working abroad).  As many as two thirds of households in Moldova fall below poverty level, and 500,000 people have been forced to leave their homes in the past ten years in hopes of finding a way to provide for their families.

With limited options for legal migration, the most motivated seek other ‘opportunities’ to travel west, including risky transactions with smugglers and traffickers.  For those most desperate, the situation is different:  they are the hunted.  Young women in difficult circumstances may be “referred” to a trafficker for a percentage of the sale.  Hardship and lack of opportunity blinds others to the risks of a questionable  job offer.

The International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP) is a network of ministries which has been working on issues of prostitution and trafficking for years, and building bridges of hope and help to its victims.  This week, many of those groups from across Europe will be meeting in Chisinau, Moldova’s capital, to share their expertise and their experience (joys AND sorrows).

We will be learning from our dedicated Moldovan hosts and partners, and we will be exploring ways to do better – and to do MORE – as we serve women and men that God loves!  This includes developing viable businesses which can employ those most vulnerable to human trafficking…and offer a ‘future and a hope’ to those who return to their country broken by the violence inflicted on them.

Mats will be leading several sessions to inspire business engagement, while I help those already serving to think about their strategic contributions to these issues on a regional level.   For more information about the conference, click here.

Thank you for your prayers as we prepare for these meetings!

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~ by Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag on September 28, 2010.

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