Monday, October 08, 2007

Christmas is coming.

Annie Dieselberg spoke at our church last night... what an amazing woman! Annie works with Nightlight, a ministry in Bangkok, Thailand, working with women and children involved in the sex trade. We heard about the cultural pressures in Thailand that facilitate the horrors of trafficking of women and children. We learned that human trafficking is tied for second place in the list of the most lucrative illegal moneymaking ventures (illegal arms and drugs are the others in the top 3). There are as many as 27 million people held in slavery in the world today with 800,000 people being trafficked each year, perhaps as many as 50,000 being trafficked into the US.

It is easy to despair at the numbers, shrug one's shoulders and go on ignoring the issue... or we can begin to chip away at the problem. It begins by men making the simple declaration - "not buying" because women are not for sale. It goes on from there with organizations that offer alternatives for the women such as Nightlight.

Nightlight does amazing work in helping these women. Training in life skills and reinforcing the idea that a women does not have to sacrifice herself and her dignity to show love for her family build a foundation for a new life. Learning above all that God loves them and that they have value far beyond what a man is wiling to pay in a bar gives strength for positive change. Still, there are cultural expectations of supporting their families and economic pressures that cannot be ignored. Nightlight addresses these issues and restores dignity for the women by teaching them to make jewelry and then marketing the jewelry around the world. The jewelry is available here.

Christmas is coming and while generally I feel pretty negative about the materialism that surrounds that holiday, we have found some ways to give presents that make a positive impact in the world. Nightlight ranks right up there. Purchasing this jewelry directly impacts the lives of women who otherwise would be on the streets or in the bars in Bangkok selling their bodies. The equation is simple. More jewelry sold = more women helped. So... purchase some jewelry as presents, give it away, transform some lives.

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