Tag Archives: human trafficking

10 Dec #Cry #AdventWord 2018

10 Dec #growThe Advent devotional project, #AdventWord  is offered by the Society of St John the Evangelist. Each day a word is provided and participants are invited to share images and/or reflections and to use hashtags so our reflections may be included in an Advent Calendar with others from around the world.

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Filed under Advent, Human Rights, New York, Photo, United Nations

Ask United Arab Emirates President to Pardon Jennifer Dalquez

Philippines-CIA_WFB_MapMy colleague Catherine Chang and partners from the United Church of Christ in the Philippines hand delivered a letter for President Duterte of the Philippines on Friday, March 24, 2017. The letter was delivered to a presidential aide.

The joint letter from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines asks President Duterte to appeal to the United Arab Emirates’ authorities to overturn the death penalty for Jennifer Dalquez who is currently awaiting her appeal hearing that will take place on March 27, at the Al-Ain Court of Appeals. You can learn more about Jennifer and sign a petition on her behalf asking His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the United Arab Emirates to pardon Jennifer Dalquez and repatriate her to her family in the Phillipines.

Here is Catherine’s reflection on delivering the letter:

Many thanks for your prayers for our earlier morning visit to Malacanang Palace (equivalent to the White House) to hand-deliver a joint UCCP-PCUSA letter for President Duterte, about Jennifer Dalquez.

**The Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella received our small delegation which included 2 UCCP colleagues, Karrie Palaruan and Jason Caperas, and myself. We gave him our letter, and spoke for almost 30 minutes. He assured us that he and his staff will try to facilitate everything possible for an appeal from the death penalty.
***Hoping to find a way to share the joint letter via FB so that you can see it and share it!
***Keep those prayers coming for Jennifer and her family, UAE authorities, and the Philippine government.

Some background

Catherine Chang and her husband Juan Lopez serve as mission co-workers of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Their ministry helps Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) partner churches address issues of migration and human trafficking.  They are based in Manila, the Philippines. The UN’s International Labor Organization estimates 21 million people around the world are victims of forced labor.  Human trafficking is a worldwide problem, including within the United States. Countries in Asia are increasingly vulnerable. Cathy and Juan will work with Asian churches and non-governmental organizations to help coordinate efforts related to ending this scourge. They will also resource the Presbyterian Human Trafficking Roundtable, made up of various programs of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, Presbyterian Women in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the Office of the General Assembly,  in their work to support US congregations concerned about the issue.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty, Human Rights, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Pray for a girl; pray for the world

IMG_3074 (800x533)This week, I received a reminder of one way prayer functions.

In response to the kidnapping of a number of school girls in Nigeria on April 14, I joined many people in praying for a specific girl. It makes the horror more manageable and provides a sense of humanity.

A list of names, reportedly those of some of the girls, circulated around the internet. I helped with that circulation.

Some question the use of the girls names. Is the list correct? Was it shared with the permission of the families? Jinna Moore adds questions from a representative of the governor of Borno state: Could the release of the names in some way further endanger the girls? Could it make it easier for those who abducted the girls to identify their parents and extort ransom? Could it place the stigma of rape, whether rape happened or not, over the girl?

I  ponder those questions. And I continue to pray for a specific girl. I use only a first name when I make references and I will not share the list any further.

When I pray for one girl, the web of prayer begins to tremble. And I find myself praying for much more:

for all the girls and their families

for all the people of Nigeria

for all the girls and boys trafficked around the world, in probably every part of the world

for girls and boys, men and women trafficked for sex or for their labor or for their organs

for men, and women, who buy and sell children for sex

for men, and women, who buy and sell children and adults for their labor or their organs

for those who exploit and abuse their brothers and sisters in any way

for those who work to end trafficking, exploitation, and abuse

for those who resort to violence

for those who respond to violence with violence

for those who seek to over come violence with nonviolence.

The list goes on and on and on.

Touch a spider web, set the web a tremble.

Pray for a girl. Pray for the world.

See you along the Trail

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Filed under Current Events, Human Rights, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Making the Fourth of July a day for us all

IMG_2530 (533x800)Whose holiday is the Fourth of July?

We like to think of this day as a day of celebration for all the citizens of the United States of America. But as Frederick Douglass proclaimed over 150 years ago, for many people – people living in this country – the Fourth of July serves as a painful reminder and a mockery.

When he spoke, the issue was slavery. Millions lived in the chains of chattel slavery. Those chains have fallen, thanks in large part, to Frederick Douglass and other African-Americans who resisted enslavement.

But many still do not enjoy fully  the vision of freedom. Racism persists. A number of states greeted the recent Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act by moving ahead with Voter ID laws, some of which have been rejected under the voting rights act. Immigrants face challenges as they seek to make a new life. Supreme Court decisions have made it possible for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters to marry – in certain states. An economic gulf looms between the rich and many people who struggle to find ends, let alone to make them meet. Men, women, and children are trafficked for labor and for sex. Slavery has morphed; it has not disappeared. For many, the promises of freedom and the United States remain unrealized. For all of us, the words of Frederick Douglass ring true.

Frederick Douglass was born in a slave cabin in Maryland. The date and year remain unknown even to Douglass. The condition of enslavement resulted in such a lack of knowledge for many. Douglass endured the violation and horrors of slavery. And he resisted. His first attempt to escape failed. Then he tried again and, in early September 1838, disguised as a sailor, he escaped to freedom – precarious freedom, but freedom none the less.

During a visit to the African Burial Ground National Monument in Manhattan, Tricia and I opted to take a tour that focused on slavery, resistance, and abolition efforts in New York. We learned that Douglass made his first stop in New York City. He did not stay because of the city’s support for slavery. In New York, Douglass married Anna Murray. They went to New Bedford, Massachusetts to live.

Douglass became a leader in the abolitionist movement. A talented speaker, he would spend about six months each year travelling and speaking. Douglass attended the Seneca Falls Convention and became a supporter of women’s rights including the right to vote. This connection led Anna and Frederick to move their family to Rochester, New York, perhaps to be near Susan B. Anthony.

On July 5, 1852, in Rochester, Douglass spoke at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence: the Fourth of July, U.S. Independence Day.  Perhaps they anticipated his words and tone. Most likely they did not. Douglass reminded his audience that, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.” He went on to note:

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sound of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants brass fronted impudence; your shout of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanks-givings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

Douglass did not end there, however. He observed that, despite his experience and the painful realities,  “I do not despair of this country.” He closed with a  poem of hope written by William Lloyd Garrison that begins:

God speed the year of jubilee
The wide world o’er!

The poem ends with an affirmation remaining engaged in the struggle for liberty, freedom, and justice – of working to make the promise of the Fourth of July real for all.

Frederick Douglass devoted himself to that struggle.

May I do the same.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Antiracism, Current Events, Human Rights, National Park, Photo

Give a gift for human rights

Looking for a stocking stuffer?

Consider a TassaTag.

TassaTags are 4″x6″ bright, hand-woven cotton luggage tags. TassaTags serve a larger purpose than simply helping you spot your luggage.

Each purchase of a TassaTag supports ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking), a non-profit children’s rights organization whose mission is to protect children in the US and abroad from commercial sexual exploitation. ECPAT-USA is a partner of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

TassaTags are fair trade products. Women at The Regina Center in Nongkhai, Thailand make the tags. This project enables women to stay in their villages and keep their children in school—two major strategies in reducing sex trafficking.

TassaTags help to raise awareness of the commercial sexual exploitation of children and they send the message that the sexual exploitation of children is not acceptable.

By buying and using a TassaTag you become a human rights worker for children!

Order TassaTags now for everyone on your Christmas list who uses a suitcase.

See you along the Trail (I’ll recognize you by the TassaTag on your bag!).

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Filed under Human Rights