Tag Archive: trafficking

as the sun goes down

casting ominous shadows beneath an ever-pinkening sky

so the battle lines are drawn

and the protagonists determinedly take their places

facing off with brutal expressions of intent


the people passionate about all things cat

are huddled together, talking strategy

ready to throw absolutely everything they have

at the mass of bodies and faces across from them

collectively known as those with a deep care for the environment

who compile and distribute petitions at will

and boycott companies who dare not be green enough


those who care so deeply about the children being sold into slavery

prepare for combat by sharpening the axes they brought to grind

every now and then pausing for a moment

to peer over the tops of their spectacles at their opposition


on your social media wall

nestled safely in between baby photos and engagement announcements


at some point someone fires a gun…
or perhaps it was a whistle?

i’m thinking some form of signal was possibly given

to launch the different groups screaming like rabid dogs at one another

and begin tearing each other apart

[the people who care about dogs suffering from the effects of rabies are at the judges table

loudly arguing about the insensitivity of using such a descriptive phrase]


turns out the ‘tearing’ was metaphorical

or virtual or something

but tearing was done

or at the very least, insinuated

as one group with a cause

sized up another group “with a cause”

[“but not as important as our cause” each whispered in hushed tones]

[only amongst themselves of course]


the fall out

that inevitably ensued

was that “your worthy cause isn’t as worthy as my worthy cause

your guilt is too hip

and you clearly don’t speak for everyone, so your perspective is meaningless”


in the midst of all the uproar,

the accusations and the posturings,

the video clips and the event sharings

not to mention time out for the trolling of the comments sections [a group event]

the clouds gathered

the sky opened

the rain came down

and washed them all away

[or at the very least sent them scurrying back to the safety of their computer keyboards]


and a lone child was left standing

making the most of some unsupervised time in the mud and puddles that had formed

when suddenly a moment of significance passed

in which an idea seemed to swoop in from far up high in the sky

and lodge itself deep into the brain part of this innocent

who paused for a whole long sixty second minute

as she sought to take it in

looked up

and exclaimed, as if the most natural exclamation in the world,


“What if, I was able to view your cause as different to mine, but of equal value and importance?”


it was as if a mighty thunderbolt had struck at that precise moment

causing an immediate wave of

lightbulb after lightbulb blinking into existence

as each and every individual in the crowd

marvelled at this ingenious yet ever-so-simple piece of wisdom


or at least, it would have

had any of them remained.

but alas, there was no-one else to be seen.


as the activists and fanatics,

the poster wavers and the bearers of truth,

all those who championed a cause

at the exclusion of all others

were safely locked away

in the comfort of their lonely rooms

readying their next missive,

this one which would be the one

that would finally get them to realise why they need to climb on board…






There is a woman whose name is Jamie Wright and who has a blog called ‘Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary’ which I generally enjoy reading as she is honest and sometimes in-your-face and completely real in terms of addressing different aspects of Jesus-following life… She let me use her Sex Before Marriage posts here [which are phenomenal, by the way] and has now just come back from a trip to Asia where she got to witness some of the human trafficking war [cos it really is a war – more slavery exists today than ever before in human history, a tough statistic to really take in for reals] face-on and she wrote about it here which is a great first post to read if you have the time, and then wrote this follow-up post which is a call to action [and opportunity to do so] which she has allowed me to repost here in the hopes that a few more people will see it. Please read and like and share and do whatever you have to d to get this in front of more eyes, and definitely consider getting involved in some way:

The Big Ask: How can I help fight human trafficking and slavery?

I sat across a table from a man I can tell you almost nothing about.

He’s an undercover investigator working with The Exodus Road, and I was truly impressed by him. I don’t want to get all gushy, so I’ll only say that he was a total effing badass. (Like if Chuck Norris and William Wallace had a baby and the baby grew up and married John Wayne and they had a baby,that baby would be this guy.) So, anyway, he spends time doing surveillance and gathering evidence against pedophiles and traffickers. His nights go to looking for underage sex workers in brothels, taking covert video and detailed notes, he and his teammates carefully follow the trails that lead to the traffickers of children, and assist the government (when needed) in sting operations to bust them.Bad. Ass.

He took us for a drive in a car with dark tinted windows, and it didn’t take long to get to a little karaoke bar on the side of a dirt road surrounded by a high wall, its big metal doors open for business. He and El Chupacabra went in for a bit, then texted Matt and I to join them. We found them at a small table with a bench on each side. A few teenage girls were seated around them, while a pretty girl with braces and chipped nail polish was pouring them drinks. And, there, pressed in against my hulking husband was a girl no bigger than my 13 year old. A tiny delicate thing.

The girl didn’t speak, didn’t smile, scarcely made eye contact, unless prodded by the obviously more seasoned girl next to her. After a little conversation and a few seemingly casual questions, our tour guide learned that she didn’t speak the local language. “Maile” was her name, and she’d only been there for three days.

Now. Everything in me wanted to jump up and scream, “THIS IS TOTALLY A VICTIM OF TRAFFICKING!!! QUICK! LET’S GRAB HER!!!” – But I kept up appearances, as instructed to “just party”. Because that’s what the beginning of rescue looks like — it looks like average, every day dudes going to strip clubs and gay bars and brothels looking for a good time, when, in actuality, they’re super badass mofo’s looking for underage sex workers and victims of trafficking.

As we finished our drinks, a couple of the girls took their leave, disappearing into a back room, but not until she was waved in by an older girl did the little one make her hurried (and clearly relieved) escape. We got up, paying our tab and leaving a tip, and headed for the car. But I watched that hardened investigator linger. He pulled a bill out of his wallet and put it in the pretty girl’s hand, pointing toward the door the other girls left through, he said, “This is for Maile.”, and she nodded understanding.

I was completely undone – but wanting to sound like I, too, was a stone cold badass (and not some shuddering, traumatized suburbanite), I tried to say something aloof and appropriate, like, “So, you’ll go back and investigate that, right?”


“I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”

First he said something about not jumping to conclusions (the mark of a good investigator). Then he said, “Yes, I’ll go back.” and “It’s hard to walk away when you have an idea of what could happen to them, but you could pull boys and girls out of brothels all day long and there will be 10 more to take their place.” And then he talked about the importance of getting to the root of the problem and the need to prosecute the pedophiles who create the demand for children and the traffickers who supply them.

Ugh! For real, I wanted to stand and clap.

There are millions (MILLIONS, you guys!) of men, women and children around the world, who, are hopelessly enslaved. They’re in dark places; in brothels and bars, brick factories, fishing boats and slums. They live and breath in places the American Church is afraid to go. They’re hidden in the shadows of a world that doesn’t care for them or about them.

But rescue is coming

I was invited to SE Asia by an organization called The Exodus Road, a non-profit coalition that empowers freedom from sex slavery through investigation and rescue. Just “come and see”, they said. “no strings attached.”, they promised. I felt it brave for a group who knows my penchant for harsh scrutiny of overseas NGO’s to invite me in to have a close look around. If I’m being honest, I was prepared to be disappointed. I was expecting “Look at us, we’re the Saviors of South East Asia!”. I was expecting a short-sighted plan to do irrelevant work led by unqualified people. Because I’m a jerk.

I know, I know. I’m an ass! A cynical, pessimistic, hyper-critical ass.

Which is why I’m pretty excited to say that I fell in love with The Exodus Road and the work they are doing around the world. Smitten. Seriously.


2 investigators and the national
leader of a group home for victims
of sexual abuse (33 boys & 8 girls),
looking over a pedophile’s case.

Over the course of a few days, a few beers, and more than a few bowls of spicy papaya salad, Matt Parker, CEO of The Exodus Road, answered every question El Chupacabra and I could come up with, even the weird, dumb, and awkward ones. The perception I walked away with is one of a young but healthy organization, with a big picture mentality. They honor the local government, and value partnership with sister organizations (including those working in outreach and aftercare) who agree to high standards of practice. Pushing the long-standing but broken Christian model of “good intention” aside, they’ve carefully chosen trained investigators with unique skill sets to do the best work on the ground, contracting men and women with a wide range of ethnic, religious, and professional backgrounds.

It was terrible and wonderful to see and hear about Rescue in SE Asia. I was deeply moved, and I was certain I wanted to help. Having just heard from those specializing in aftercare about the difficulties getting victims rescued in order to help them move forward, I knew this is where I wanted to join the fight.

Now, I know some of you want to tell me that I didn’t need to fly to SE Asia to find sex for sale, pedophiles, ping pong shows, and trafficking. I totally get that. But the U.S. economy doesn’t rely on tourism generated by selling our sons and daughters. Our children’s bodies aren’t counted as part of our Gross Domestic Product. Our government (while super flawed) has the will and the means necessary to investigate, arrest, and prosecute criminals who sell, enslave, or traffic human beings. So, yes, the problem exists in the U.S., but, no, it’s not the same. Regardless, we, the Church, must take both to task—not choosing one as more important than the other, but by realizing that we have the financial and human resources to address both, wisely and fully.

So, this is the part where I ask you to get involved. (Oh c’mon, you knew it was coming.)

My approach will be to invest financially in global rescue, and physically in local anti-trafficking efforts.

Locally, I’m meeting with several organizations who are working in rescue and restoration of victims of sex trafficking in my region. I’ll fill you in as those details emerge, but it wasn’t hard to find interesting groups to consider volunteering with – I just googled it and invited some friends to check it out with me.  I challenge you to do the same.

Globally, I’m pledging $35 a month to sponsor an investigative team in SE Asia, through the Exodus Road.

But my gift, alone, is pretty insignificant — that’s why I’m asking you to join me in the full financial support of an entire investigative team focused in one SE Asian city, notorious for sex crimes against underage boys and girls.

My gift is small, but if 200 people come together at $35 a month each, we can fund a whole damn team! And that’s HUGE. If we pool our resources, we can make a significant contribution that puts pedophiles and traffickers behind bars, rescuing current victims and helping to prevent future victims.

We CAN help. We can empower rescue and prevention. We can RESCUE A CHILD.

To protect the investigators, I can’t publicly name the country or city of the team we will be sponsoring. (Though, I will say, it’s a city I visited on my recent trip and the investigators I met.) So to make this fun, I’m creating a private Facebook Group where up to 200 donors can join me in a safe place to talk about, celebrate, and pray for the work we’re conspiring to fund. The Exodus Road will provide us with covert footage and other super-duper-top-secret info from investigations and arrests as it comes. And we’ll even have an occasional awesome give-away. (The first one will be next week!)

Jamie3Over 100,000 people will likely see this post, more if you share it *wink wink*, I only need 200 of you to join me, please be one of them! I honestly believe we can make a difference.

To join the team, click here and put “DELTA TEAM – JAMIE” in the comments section, along with the email address you use for Facebook so I can welcome you to the private group.

I wrote this in my notes, sweating in bed after that hard night out with the investigator:

What if a little band of merry men gathered their resources to empower the rescue of trafficked and enslaved women and children? What if we supported and encouraged the men and women on the ground in just one city in SE Asia? What would happen if they had everything they needed to investigate and prosecute those who prey on the weak?…Word would get out if more bad guys went to jail, and traffickers disappeared, and brothel doors closed… What would happen if we came together from all over the world to shine a bright and focused light in the dark? ….Perhaps it would create a ripple of Hope where once there was none, as rumors of escape spread and one child turns to comfort another, whispering with assurance, “Rescue is coming.”

$35 a month (or $5 or $15 or whatever!). Will you join me?  

[You can find this particular post here, but you should probably just make a point of bookmarking Jamie’s blog which is here, because she writes from the heart and more often than not provides some much needed challenge and invitation to live this Jesus-following thing for real] 

dinner for shmucks

last nite the beautiful Val and i went to go and have dinner with our friend bren who we had not seen for a long time which i was really looking forward to. when we got there he was busy prepping a pretty amazing spaghetti bolognaise (i could quite possibly eat that every day, yum.) and he mentioned that he had invited his friend angelique for dinner too.

my initial thort was flip that’s a bit rude – we just wanted to hang with you and now you’re inviting a stranger into the mix. brendan was already daunting me (not really) by being dressed in his lawyer suit while i was in my hang-not-quite-but-close-to-pajama pants and now i’ve got to be social and all that.


well it turned out to be an incredible evening. and not just cos angelique brought home-baked nigella lawson chocolate rocky road brownie vibes [flippin mmm.]. it was just the four of us and the most intense (in a good way) full of depth real revolutionary and life-changing conversation. and for the most part i just sat back and observed as bren, angelique and val went at it – trafficking, prostitution, the uthando lenkosi house of safety story, being light to people stuck in darkness, Jesus, life experiences, church, and so on… seems really random when it’s in a list but just in terms of the hanging-with-people times i’m used to which is a meal and maybe a movie or a board game, this was a whole ‘nother level. and it was completely fascinating.

wow. no shmucks at this meal. except maybe me. but i don’t care. it was just a phenomenal time. tiring, as those kind of times are, but brilliant. and just speaking about real, life-changing God stuff really built up my faith (as it does) and especially in the area of needing to really trust God (where tbV and i are in terms of life plan and finances and so on) it strengthened me incredibly and made me super amped to be living that out.

all that. and the spaghetti and dessert was unbelievably amazing. flip.

listened to an ephesians 3 devotional by john piper who i have heard a lot about but have never heard or read any of his stuff before – really want to go back and watch that clip without sound because he looks a bit like a muppet on steroids – very energetic in movement

anyways i wasn’t overly inspired by most of what he said until right at the end when he basically said there are two tensions in the room and he is going to say something, that if people ‘get’ it or really embrace it, has the power to really change things or shake people up – so he built that up quite a bit and then went on to explain the two truths:

the first truth is that when the love of God takes root in us it sends us out to go and feed the hungry and clothe the naked and visit those in prison and take a stand against trafficking and get involved in the AIDS crisis and all other forms of practical involvement and justice seeking

the second truth is that when the love of God takes root in us it sends us out to save the lost with the power of the gospel message and what Jesus has achieved for us on our behalf

then he went on to say, “For Christ’s sake, can we Christians care about all suffering now, especially eternal suffering. Don’t choose between the two truths..”

[which is a valid statement as a lot of churches preach or live out ‘it’s all about the gospel of Jesus’ with no works of justice or service and the other extreme is all about doing works and justice with no Jesus and it really has to be a combination of both – the gospel is a message of hope both for now and for after we die]

and then went on to say “if either of these truths makes you angry or offends you, then either you have a defective view of hell, or you have a defective heart.”

i liked that.

this week the third lausanne congress for world evangelication is happening in cape town – 4200 delegates from around the world representing church leaders, academics, theologians, marketplace people as well as men, women as well as old, young – convening for a week to discuss relevant issues facing the church – things like globalisation, pluralism, multi-faith society, relevance, integrity, response to poverty, trafficking etc etc – it is an incredible time and i am so super amped for the beautiful Val that she gets to be a part of it

in 2006 i was privileged to be a part of what was called the younger leaders gathering where 500 people from 150 churches met in malaysia for a similiar younger version of this congress – it was life-changing and i met some really amazing people who continue to be a part of my life – and this week i am involved in a global link which is a satellite conference dealing with a lot of stuff Lausanne is dealing with (watching a lot of same footage and hearing same talks and then engaging with the stuff) – last nite was the first session and went from super not amped (organisational issues in setting it up) to being completely amped (the group that arrived) and then encouraged/blown away/broken/challenged/shaken by the footage that we watched, in particular the history of the church (very very good and very very bad and a lot of persecution) from Jesus time to present day

the one phrase that came through about 6 to 8 times in that presentation was “people thort it was going to be the end of the world” (for example when the plague claimed about a third of Europe’s population or something) and as the voiceover guy said at the end – every generation thinks there’s is going to be the last, but one of them will be right

but the one message that came through again and again is that a divided church is a weak and foolish and irrelevant thing – the church is responsible for a lot of missingthepointness and violence and hypocracy and so on in terms of the past (well, not really, if you define church as God-following people cos it hasn’t been when people have been truly following God that that stuff has happened) but it has also been part of an incredible amount of good and positive and upliftment and life – when the church is a group of people who follow God and walk in the footsteps of Jesus while filled by His Spirit and living that out, then the church is a beautiful thing – that church is worth loudly proclaiming that i am a part of

if you are part of a local congregation and either you or one of your leaders ever makes any statement or claim about your specific church being the one true church or better than other churches or anything like that or speaks out against other churches then run, flee, head for the hills, leave that ‘church’ and seek out Jesus…

so i have been married for about 14 months yesterday and i still completely highly recommend it if it is to the right person – it is not always easy – it is sometimes really hard – but it is incredible and the pros definitely outbeat-up-and-leave-bleeding-behind-the-shed the cons… and i love the beautiful Val – really feel privileged and lucky and amazed that i have someone like her in my life… yay.

the one thing that i have noticed and i was just wondering if it is an us phenomenon or whether other newly married couples have discovered this ‘gem’ is the bermuda triangleness of time that occurs once you get married [married people with kids don’t even bother posting responses cos my brain can’t even stretch this scenario to adding more people into the mix, especially little ones, with poo and stuff]

before we got married it felt like i had a lot of time – we saw each other a fair amount of time i think and i did a whole lot of stuff and had time for church and people and hockey and theatresports and silly computer games and and and…

and then we got married [and please don’t see this as a complaint – it’s not a complaint – more a general musing and a wondering if it’s just us or if others have noticed this as well] and for starters there were the dishes which i am convinced are procreating in our sink (at precisely the same time as aliens from another dimension are warping in and first beaming out all the teaspoons and then other clean things) and so we have a meal and we wash up (i love washing up most of the time so it’s really not a problem – i understand a lot of other people hate it) and then we turn our backs for 18 seconds and WHOOSH!! – full sink of dirty dishes, no clean teaspoons…

wash up seven times a day, make two cups of coffee and suddenly we have an overflowing sink of dirtiness – anyone nodding, smiling, sympathy crying?

and then there is the washing – tbV is a lot more diligent with the washing than i am altho i do try and take opportunities to fill the machine and throw in the powder and flip it on and take it out and hang it up on occasion – but you do a whole crapload of washing (three loads) after maybe a weekend away, and then you take two steps away and as you gasp in bemusement at the post 18 second WHOOSH!! that has just occured in the sink, your peripheral vision is starting to bleat out, “Mayday! Mayday!” and you’re like, “Don’t be silly, it’s mid-September” and pv is like, “no dude, seriously you got to see this” and you look around and BIG FILLED-UP-WITH-DIRTY-CLOTHES-WASHBASKET OVERFLOWING…

it’s a never ending cycle, and there are two of us now working at it – don’t get me started on cleaning the house (no, i mean really, don’t get me started on cleaning the house) and restocking toilet rolls and the bathroom and emptying the trash bags and buying electricity and shopping and and and…

then in terms of spending time with my wife, i absolutely love it and we spend quite a lot of time together, hanging, watching dvd’s, playing scrabble on- and off- line, and other games, talking, working together, etc etc but there just seems to be not enuff time to do all of it justice

like i could spend a week just playing games with my wife, or a week just chatting to her and dreaming out loud about the future and hearing where we are struggling and talking through family stuff and chatting what’s happening in the world or trafficking stuff or thesis stuff, i could spend a week watching dvd’s with her, i could spend a week listening to sermons and doing sodukos and laughing and a bunch of other stuff we like doing together (yes, yes, i’m talking about having settlers marathons) but there is just no time for it all so we sneak in a game of scrabble here and a few episodes of scrubs there and then we have to make a meal [left that off the list – love it, absolutely love cooking for her and with her and you do this whole marathon process and make a pretty amazing meal and it’s gone in ten minutes and the sink is crying out your name] and the dustbins need to go and there’s a meeting and oh wait she has a family and i have a family who kinda want to see us from time to time and she has friends and i have friends and we have mutual friends and just hanging with God needs our attention and there is still so much out there like mashie golf and skydiving and going away for a weekend and bigscreen movies and meals out and hip hop classes and the beach that needs our feet on it and robben island and the theatre and standup comedy and and and

is there any other new couple experiencing this bermuda triangle of time, because it certainly wasn’t around before we got married, but now it seems to… what? a full sink? but i didn’t… we didn’t… i’ve just… argh, gotta go… VAL, CLOTHES BASKET STAT!!!

so yesterday i was listening to 5fm and one of the useless stand in dj’s was having a pretty random half-hearted brainless discussion about the trafficking and prostitution for the world cup that is happening and going to be happening in SA… and then they opened the lines for phone calls and apparently only let stupid people call in who were mostly guys finishing off with “i’ll sign up for that job” followed by stupid look-how-clever-i-am-for-repeating-what-the-last-three-morons-just-said-on-the-radio laugh.

but then this absolute plonk phoned in and said something along the lines of  “why doesn’t the government subsidise the prostitutes and then get people who feel the urge to rape and let them sleep with them?”

wow wow wow, i could not believe they let this guy have air time – solution for prostitution and rapists in one go and the guy thinks he is being brilliant when he actually is just being quite possibly one of the most offensive stupid moronic [insert harsher words i don’t feel i should blog] idiots on the planet – absolutely no clue! like REALLY? did he process that ‘thort’ one little bit before spewing it out?

the prerequisite for freedom of speech should be having a functioning brain – that guy should never be allowed to speak live on radio again and i’m not too sure that permanent duct-taping of him might be a save the planet or the sanity of the planet kind of move.

REALLY pissed me off a lot.

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