Tag Archives: human trafficking

introducing Childhood Lost (it’s worth losing sleep over)

childhood lost screen shot

for the past 9 months, The Youth Cartel has worked with the Youth Mobilization team at World Vision to create a new program for youth groups.

World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine is a flagship youth ministry program, engaging a few hundred thousand teenagers each year in learning about and making a tangible difference in hunger. if you’re not familiar with 30 Hour Famine, or have never tried it (or haven’t tried it in a long time), i highly encourage you to check it out. the FREE materials are re-created every year, and it’s really a stellar program. (by the way, The Youth Cartel also helps with the 30 Hour Famine blog, and it has fantastic posts from a variety of youth workers every week — you should check it out and follow.)

but in my consulting work with the Youth Mobilization team, we continued to return to the idea that World Vision does so much great work in additional areas of global need than hunger. human trafficking, clean water, malaria, AIDS, micro development, and so many other issues are strongly in World Vision’s wheelhouse, and they have effective and robust work all over the globe in every one of those. combine that with the fact that youth workers and teenagers are so much more aware, these days, of these other global issues. it just made sense for us to serve youth workers with a program in some of these other areas.

childhood lost bugintroducing: Childhood Lost, a FREE youth group program focused on child slavery

Childhood Lost is a 15 hour experience for your youth ministry (ideally, overnight friday or saturday). its aim is to make a tangible difference in the lives of children who are at risk of being trafficked. for our first year of Childhood Lost, we’re focusing on vulnerable children in bangladesh, as it’s one of the world’s hotspots for both children being trafficked into multiple forms of child slavery: sexual slavery, as well as forced labor.

Childhood Lost is fashioned in a unique way: it’s a combination of 2 hour experiential learning chunks, broken up by 1 hour vigils, where teenagers have an opportunity to “stand with” vulnerable children and those who have already been trafficked (there are a couple short periods of sleep built into the night as well; but those periods of sleep will be interrupted, much in the same way that a child’s sleep in a vulnerable context would be interrupted). the whole program is meticulously crafted and highly interactive, and i’m SUPER stoked about how well it turned out.

we’ve worked closely with the staff at World Vision who focus on vulnerable children, as well as with World Vision Bangladesh, to ensure that we’re serving real needs and representing the issues accurately. this first year, we have a fundraising goal of $300,000. those funds have a specific purpose: funding plans already created by World Vision Bangladesh (but not yet funded). our funds will go to help establish 11 “child friendly spaces,” which are something more than a drop-in center for children in highly vulnerable contexts (one of these, for example, is on the same street as several brothels, and offers a place for children to learn about their value and experience safety and peace outside of the walls of the brothels where they live with their mothers).

really, Childhood Lost is such a great opportunity to engage your teenagers in a real-life problem. they’ll learn. they’ll feel. they’ll be part of a solution.

check it out here, and sign up today! (did i mention it’s FREE?). also, stay up to date by liking the Childhood Lost facebook page (facebook.com/wvchildhoodlost), and following the Childhood Lost twitter feed (@WVChildhoodLost).

please help stop this horrible case of human trafficking that is close to my heart

last year, when i visited haiti two times, i mentioned the son of god orphanage over and over again. i posted photos, told stories, and rallied people. i brought my church’s senior pastor to haiti, and we established a church to church partnership that has, over the last 15 months, flourished in beautiful ways, including hundreds people from our church visiting the son of god orphanage, and a wide variety of help being provided.

i connected with a boy named jean-michelle there on one of my trips (this photo is of me and him), and keep his little signature taped to the wall in front of my desk. he gave it to me and asked, “please remember me.” it makes me ill to wonder whether jean-michelle is still there or has been sold off (or killed off, or abused) in the year since i’ve seen him.

so, i’ve been so sad over the last few months to have suspicions raised about mistreatment and trafficking. now, the proof has been documented. and six organizations — my church among them — are lobbying various haitian and american governmental agencies, as well as cnn and some other organizations, to shut this orphanage down quickly, before the remaining children are sold or abused in some other way. as the press release below states, there is strong reason to suspect that the haitian governmental department responsible for oversight in this area is complicit in the problem, which great complicates it.

here’s the press release that was issued yesterday:

After continued visits to the Son of God Orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti, six charitable organizations (Adventures in Missions, Bridgeway Church, Timberline Church, Children’s HopeChest, Journey Community Church, and Respire Haiti) have challenged the global community to force the hands of international leaders in the closure and investigation of the facility.

According to eye-witness accounts, the children at SOG have suffered some of the most heinous human rights abuses at the hands of the director of the orphanage, Maccene (Max) Hyppolite and his family.

Despite consistent delivery of relief for each child, including food, clothes, and medicine, the children have continued to suffer from malnourishment, curable diseases and parasites, as well as complete neglect of acute medical conditions.

A recent account included a one-year old baby who was severely burned and not treated until almost two weeks later.

Police conducted a successful sting operation after numerous individuals had been solicited by Hyppolite to purchase children. In July of 2011, Max Hyppolite was arrested while attempting to sell one of the orphans and he is currently in prison for child trafficking in Port au Prince.

Continued accounts from as recent as October 13th, 2011 indicate that the situation has only become worse, and to date there are 53 children who have disappeared and are unaccounted for.

The orphanage is currently being run by Hyppolite’s wife, Mary, who not only continues to say she does not know the whereabouts of the children, but has also threatened the lives of the relief workers who have sought assistance in from the Haitian government organization, IBESR (Institut du Bien Etre et de Recherches).

Given the sharing of information from IBESR to the Hyppolite family, cause for speculation has arisen regarding the government’s involvement in the trafficking of the children.

The six aforementioned organizations have worked together with Change.org to bring this issue to light. They have asked the global community to give these children the voice that has been stolen from them in hopes of world leaders recognizing the human rights violations occurring and the immediate call for the closure and investigation of the Son of God Orphanage in Haiti.

would you please help in this tiny, simple, but powerful way? would you please click though on these two petitions, and sign them both? please: close to 2000 people read this blog every day. if each of you would take 2 minutes (literally) to do this, you could play a role in saving the lives of these precious children in haiti.

Sign the original petition urging CNN to expose abuse & trafficking at Son of God Orphanage in Carrefour, Haiti
Sign the follow-up petition calling on Haitian President Michel Martelly and global leaders to close Son of God Orphanage and order an immediate investigation of the IBESR