Monday, April 29, 2013

Thank Heaven for Little Girls (part 2)

Okay, I know I'm supposed to place part 2 right after part 1, but I just found this article today.
So, I'm going to cheat. Part 1 was posted a couple of weeks ago (see right rail, 2nd post under April for the link). The info in Lisa Bloom's article "How To Talk to Little Girl's" is a wonderful extension of those thoughts. And, her story and message are better than anything I could have come up with. Please take the time to read it and consider your own messages to girls of all ages.

Even if you don't want to be directly involved in eliminating human trafficking, if you practice what Bloom's teaching, you can make a difference. And, if you share this post with your Facebook friends--the difference you make will be even greater. 

Would love to hear more ideas along the lines of how we can better help little girls develop into well-rounded human beings who think rightly about themselves. Communicating the truth about who they are is the best way to keep girls from being vulnerable to the lies of human traffickers. If you have some thoughts on the matter, please share them in the  comments. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

An Easy Way for a Church to Make a Big Difference

In their efforts to eradicate trafficking in Pomona and around the world, TraffickFree Pomona is hosting a fair trade bazaar this coming Sunday at Pomona First Baptist Church by the fountain. 

27 million people around the world are held as modern-day slaves. Young boys work 7 days a week harvesting cocoa beans on the Gold Coast to supply our demand for chocolate. Brothels in India and Thailand house little girl sex slaves where men from our communities can go to purchase their innocence. Men, women, and children from poor countries are kept in bondage all over the world including our own neighborhoods. For almost two years, Shyima Hall, a little ten-year-old girl from Egypt, was held captive by a couple who lived in Irvine. She worked 20 hour days taking care of 5 children. Because a neighbor noticed her mistreatment, Shyima was rescued. Because many people got involved, she's become someone special.

Human trafficking is the 2nd largest criminal enterprise earning billions for the perpetrators. This travesty is cultivated throughout our communities, and there's something all of us can do.

A "Fair Trade Bazaar" is an easy way for a church (or other group) to begin educating the surrounding community about modern-day slavery. Because of the interest among people of all beliefs--it's also a tremendous opportunity for outreach that demonstrates how Christians care enough to get involved. It's also a great way to offer support to nonprofits who are on the front lines rescuing slaves. Proceeds from the items featured for sale (jewelry, coffee, pajama pants, bags, and so forth) from groups like Heavenly Treasures, International Princess Project and iSanctuary--go to support organizations that work with victims, educating them and providing jobs keeping them safe from traffickers. 

For those of you who don't think any human being should be kept as a slave, SoCal Human Trafficking Events is keeping a calendar of events throughout Southern California and provides links to them. Attending a variety of functions, such as TFP's Fair Trade Bazaar, and asking questions is the first step toward making a difference.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

"Sugar and spice and everything nice--that's what little girls are made of."

Sweet innocent little girls-- loving kitties, playing outdoors, hugging teddy bears--every decent parent wants to keep them safe. They want their little girls to be carefree, to learn to think for themselves, get a good education and make good decisions. To develop their intellect and become doctors, judges, Senators,  clergy, bakers, teachers, homemakers, and moms. But giving them the time they need to become more than sex objects is becoming an increasing challenge.

 A few days ago, I saw a FB friend ask the question of whether it was appropriate for her 5-year-old daughter to be singing the words to a song--if I recall right they were "I am sexy." Regardless that.was the message. The comments that followed were interesting. Many thought it was harmless. One person suggested that "sexy" is now considered by little ones to be equal to "nice." Hmmm, I wonder is that a good thing?

There are no easy answers, that's for sure. But, it seems to me, that the girls who start using the word "sexy" at such a tender impressionable age are more likely to be easy targets for traffickers. Soon they may be mimicking teens who are wearing Victoria Secret's new teen line that plasters messages like "Call Me," or "Wild Thing" in places that were never intended to be billboards. Or maybe in a few years Victoria Secret will expand their advertising campaign to market to little girls.

So how can parents respond in a culture that glamorizes sex to the point of minimizing almost everything else? When did the purity of genuine romance turn into the profanity of an obscenity created by casual sex with multiple partners at increasingly young ages? Won't forbidding certain song lyrics only make them more desirable.

Even when most people behave in a certain way, parents can make it unacceptable if they start when their kids are young. We were forbidden to say "shut up," when I was a kid. Everyone else I knew said it, but I kept that rule when my children were young because my mom had explained how disrespectful it was and that showing respect for people is always a good idea. It's the same idea as saying "please," and "thank you."

Rules that teach self-respect could be a good way to use that song lyric to start a conversation about how a little girl, or young woman, is so much more than sexy and that's why it's not good to focus on that. Girls who see themselves as "sexy" frequently start to limit themselves in ways that hinder their growth. How much better for a little girl to sing "I am smart," because she has a brain that can explore outer space. Or, "I can see," because she has eyes that can see the beauty inside a person, or "I can create" because she has hands that can make anything she wants. Maybe the best way to encourage broader thinking is to think broader ourselves and perhaps that will lead to song lyrics of a different kind.

In 1975  "I Am Woman" was chosen by the United Nations as the theme song for International Women's Year. I don't think the intention was for women to become so sexualized that they were to stop being anything but a sex object.

Maybe that's a better song to sing.

What do you think? Does the oversexualization of our society have an impact on human trafficking? Do we need to be concerned about the impact of our culture on our little girls? If so, what's a parent to do?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Movie Night

Not My Life Horizontal GraphicTuesday, April 9th at 7:00 p.m.
Laemmle Theater in Claremont, CA
Free Admission
TraffickFree Pomona, along with Flood and Fair Trade Claremont, host the showing of "Not My Life."

Academy Award nominee Robert Bilheimer wrote, directed, and produced this film that features more than 50 interviews with modern-day slaves and those who have helped them find freedom. "Not My Life" reveals the travesties of trafficking from truck stops in the U.S. where young girls are raped to the brothels of India to the nightmare of domestic servitude in our nation's capitol. And, yet, this movie offers an inspiring message of hope--one that will be followed up on at an informational event hosted by TraffickFree Pomona at Pomona First Baptist, Tuesday 4/16 at 7:00 p.m.
For more information contact: Tamiko Chacon, or  909-629-5277  x3053

If you aren't aware of what's happening, please join us and learn how you can make a difference.