dancing shadow people

Bulgaria

Shadow Lands

I wore a terracotta skirt to the Tenabrae service. The long, flowing, Bohemian kind. The room was dark and the candles were lit and the shadows they made waltzed in the room. The people were quiet and the scriptures were read and the voices they cried were from another Garden.

A night that reminds us of a Garden where a snake slithered silkily until it crashed into the crushing, crunching, heaviness of a heel. Splat. Violence. Blood everywhere.

Bulgaria

mountains

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reporter

moleskin

story

I have a reporter’s journal. I take it with me wherever I go with this crazy idea that I am somehow recording and reporting our history in Eastern Europe. Sometimes, a day in the life of a missionary is about recording and reporting and hoping and praying. I will need a new notebook soon because my pages are full of glimpses: past sermon quotes and conversations and Skype calls with our team, and lectures: a chronicled truth that God works in miraculous ways in impossible situations. And I can flip those reporter pages all the way back to last February when I sat with Maria in Germany.  Continue reading

‘traffik is gra…

‘traffik is graffic’

How do we change a perspective that sees a person as a commodity?

Thank you, Stopthetraffikglobal for the reminder, ‘People shouldn’t be bought and sold’ and for this video, ‘that’s us. that’s we.’ Some of us live as consumers. Some of us live as the consumed. The great irony: in the end, all of us suffer.

*traffik is graffic‘ – quote from that’s us. that’s we. video

When you sell people

sarmali

Delicious.

When you sell people, you get a bargain. The maintenance is relatively cheap – a human can live and function with remarkably small amounts of cheap food. The product is easily controlled, especially if you own something of theirs. Burning their baby is highly effective, if you let them hear the pitiful screams. 

Consider buying as a later resort. There is a better way. A more cost effective approach to profit: become the boyfriend. It takes almost nothing to persuade a girl you are in love with her. Give her a couple of cheap trinkets, if you must, a few hours of sweet talk, and you become quick boyfriend material. Romance her and push past her sexual boundaries then introduce her to the idea of becoming sexual with a friend.  She will do it for you because you love her. Your machine is now primed for years of production.

I could go on. I will not. 

Money is always at the heart of the human slave trade. People are one of the cheapest commodities and yield the highest profit on the market today. Once procured, the cost to keep a girl functioning is surprisingly cheap and they can produce income for years. The sex market is ravenous – behavioral studies show that the sexual appetite can be stronger than hunger. 

The first step in the process of understanding this global evil is to stop thinking about sex trafficking in terms of sex. Sex happens because sex sells but every moving part in the sex industry machine revolves around the issue of money. That includes the maintenance of an apathetic stupor in affluent cultures so that middle and upper-class citizens are slow to sacrifice a comfortable lifestyle to stop the trade. When good folk, law abiding citizens, do nothing, we become part, a key part, of the sex industry channel. Maintenance of our comfortable, protected, pleasant lifestyles is our price and the trafficking industry bets that we will pay it. Our blind eyes are essential for their profit margin.

Prostituting a local girl is a one-man operation: one pimp can sell several girls in-country. Trafficking girls is different. It requires moving the merchandise to various geographical locations, usually across international borders, and that takes an infrastructure. Traffickers are keen business people not uneducated high school drop-outs. This is a multi-million dollar industry that is quickly growing. 

Step one in the chain is transport from her small Eastern European village to the airport. The channel needs somebody to drive a new product to market. The trafficker needs a taxi driver so he finds one simple guy with a family he cannot support and gives him a steady on-call, pay as needed, dependable job. All this guy has to do is what he does anyway: drive a taxi. One insignificantly significant cog in a well-oiled machine. The industry operates exactly that way from farm to sale – individual links on a track that carries human cargo to market.

Our human tendency to equate happiness with a number in our bank account or a certain standard of living creates a perfect market climate where girls, boys, pregnant women, college girls, Roma girls, vulnerable people become merchandise that yield unbelievably lucrative options for keen business people.

When you sell people, you get a bargain.

As we continue this segment on trafficking in the series, A Day in the Life of a Missionary, we must first understand these business principles:

The trafficking of humans for profit is based upon the supposition that a person is a commodity for consumption; like meat, cheese, orange juice, and it needs to get to market. 

The transportation and sales process relies upon individual, relatively isolated links in an industrial chain.

Everybody has a price.

 

 

it is raining babies

Croatia

broken

She was probably around fifteen the first time I met her at Blessings Church in Bucharest. You know, one of those teens that cause us good church folk to lower our eyes and not stare: a lot of piercings, questionable jewelry choices, black t-shirt, big make-up. One of those lost teens from marginalized homes who suck up our love and resources and then disappear into oblivion.  Continue reading