Gifts from the Lord
The mid-year issue of the International Justice Mission, KALAYAAN, has many thoughts and reminders for us who are determined to be of assistance to the youth.
First is the quote from the Psalms: “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.”
It also shares the unfolding mystery of freedom as they declare: “In our journey to end online sexual exploitation of children, one may observe that freedom can be defined by rescue. And as we journey with our survivors one may say that freedom is also renewal and restoration.”
They also define freedom as: “this ability to not only escape the binds of whatever enslaves, but the ability to speak against it and to speak for those still under its grip.”
The entire issue celebrates the renewing power of God.
Organizational renewal has been experienced with new partnerships.
He has also blessed their clients as they moved towards empowerment.
The publication shares their stories and inspires us with revelations: “the power of a loving community and holistic aftercare;” “the resilience of a Filipino child and the joy of reunions and reconnections;” “forgiveness is possible and that there is wisdom in plea bargains;” and “the beauty of being rescued and that restoration from online sexual exploitation is possible.”
As we campaign against the trafficking in persons some things are worth noting.
First of all we have an expanded Anti-Trafficking Law which established “the necessary mechanisms for the protection and support of trafficked persons, providing penalties for its violations.”
As we all know trafficking in persons has been referred to as “modern day slavery.” While it is defined as: “the recruitment, obtaining, hiring, providing, offering, transportation, transfer, maintaining, harboring or receipt of persons with or without the victim’s consent or knowledge, within or across national borders by means of the use of threat, or use of force, or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or position, taking advantage of the vulnerability of the person or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person for the purpose of exploitation which incudes at a minimum, the exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation or the prostitution of others or other forms sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery, servitude or the removal or sale of organs,” the law includes: “the recruitment, transportation, transfer of a child for the purpose of exploitation or when the adoption is induced by any form of consideration for exploitative purposes shall be considered as ‘trafficking in persons’ even if it does not involve any of the means set forth in the preceding paragraph.”
The law penalizes all acts supporting and promoting trafficking in persons.
The difficulties to be faced in the process have been presented: “willing” victims; “victims have an emotional attachment to their perpetrators;” “Shame/traumatization/ insensitive handling or victim blaming by duty bearers;” “victims are paid off.”
But the law assures support services such as “counselling, free legal services, medical and psychological services, emergency shelter or appropriate housing, educational assistance for trafficked children, and even repatriation of trafficked persons.”
But the task remains to be accompanied by challenging difficulties.
International Justice Mission works with many partners from government such as the Philippine National Police, Congress (for funding support), as well as local government units; here it has been working closely with the Cebu Provincial Government.
And “Kalayaan” asserted: “Your Church can care for the rescued!”
In fact it was in a recollection that a victim decided on a “change of heart.”
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