I was privileged to write this blog post for Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale's Outreach ministry.
The Calvary Chapel Outreach Ministry presents Beauty for Ashes on April 15 and 16 in the Calvary Chapel Theatre. The production played to a sold-out crowd a few months ago and created a buzz that got people talking about both the performance and the message of the presentation.
Beauty for Ashes is a dance/drama performance that is created to raise awareness to the reality of human slavery in our world and in our back yard.
--Lysa McMillan of Calvary Chapel's Outreach Ministry.
According to UNICEF statistics, 50% of the victims taken into human trafficking are children. It's the fastest growing industry in the world yielding an estimated 32 billion dollars a year. It's not only an international catastrophe; it's a domestic crisis. With the aid of the Internet, the sex trade is rapidly growing in the United States. Some statistics say that America is the easiest place in the world to purchase sex with a child. Florida is listed as one of the top three human trafficking hubs in the country. International demand for child slavery is exceedingly high and law enforcement agencies only recover a tiny fraction of children taken.
Prevention is a priority.
Compassion International is a strategic option for people who want to do something about human trafficking but don't know exactly what to do or where they can make the most impact. Through the generosity of child sponsors, Compassion works in 26 of the world's most impoverished countries tangibly working to change the lives of over one million children and their families. On April 16 and 17, you will be given the opportunity to rescue a child through Compassion Sponsorship.
Compassion's mission statement is "Releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name." Through Compassion sponsorship, the child goes to school every day, is fed a meal, gets medical attention and is cared for spiritually daily in a local church where he is exposed to the gospel and discipled.
Traffickers prey on the impoverished. In Africa, India, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala and more, if parents can't afford to put the kids in school, they run in the streets. Traffickers approach families who can't put food on the table with false hopes and empty promises of jobs as domestic or restaurant workers. Sometimes children are lured right off the street with food or an offer of easy money. Since the child isn't in school and every available adult family member is working, the child is left to fend for himself in the world's meanest streets.
Enrollment in Compassion programs removes this vulnerability. Children are given caring supervision and not left to roam the streets. They are in school or in Compassion sponsored programs with local, evangelical churches where children are taught the Good News of Jesus Christ, often bringing spiritual renewal to entire households. Some kids are even offered a chance to pursue a university education.
Through child sponsorship, you a play a significant role in helping prevent a kid from falling victim to traffickers because you're pulling her off the street, giving her an education, putting food in her body and giving her impoverished parents a little bit of financial relief.