Posted by: Bill & Gayle McCord | May 18, 2011

ISanctuary {a small price for freedom}

This accidentally went out a few weeks ago- regardless, I thought I’d share one of Emily’s posts that I know you will be interested in.

Sex Trafficking

Human trafficking is the transportation and sale of human beings, often for purposes of exploitation.

Leading authorities estimate that:

  • more than 800,000 people are trafficked every year, adding to the figure of 27 million people around the world presently living in slavery.
  • 80% of trafficking victims are women and children.
  • Victims of sex trafficking are most commonly forced, deceived, abducted or sold by their families, transported and then sold into slavery.
  • Of these 800,000 women trafficked each year more than half were minors when they were taken from their homes. Nearly 60% have been trafficked by people they knew.
  • 14,500-17,500 people are estimated to be trafficked into the US each year.
  • 50% of those trafficked into the US each year are children: 46% for prostitution, 5% factories, 10% agricultural, 27% domestic servitude, 12% misc.

What can we do about it?!

It sometimes seems that there’s not much we can do about this kind of evil in the world, but thank God {literally} there are ways we can help these women and children.  My good friend, Rachel, attends church with a girl back in California who was so torn apart by these figures that she moved to India and began ISanctuary.  From what I understand, they do everything they can to legally prosecute the “pimps” and then legally rescue the victims, rather than buying the girls and adding to the supply and demand of such an atrocious act.  Then, through iSanctuary, they teach these women and children a trade, such as making jewelry.  Each piece is handmade by a sex trafficking victim in India, and when you buy a piece, that jeweler receives 100% of the money.  So, basically, you are spending $15 or $20 {£10 or £14} to help rebuild these girls’ lives and you get some jewelry out of it!

Last Friday, Rachel held a jewelry party and we had so much fun trying on all the lovely pieces and most of us walked away with a trinket for ourselves or a gift for someone else {or both!}.  I got myself a necklace and 2 Christmas gifts- I can’t wait to print off the information for the recipients because I know they will feel so blessed that their gift helped someone else recover her life!  Plus, the jewelry is really pretty, so I feel confident in buying it for others.

If you’re here in Scotland and would to buy a piece, just let me know.  Otherwise, you can check out their website and browse for yourself! {I LOVE the Bohemian and the Tri-Coalition necklaces!}

Here’s a little more about ISanctuary from their website:

International Sanctuary works to rehabilitate girls rescued from sexual slavery, provides them with marketable training, and empowers them with the skills they need to sustain themselves, pursuing better futures filled with hope.  They partner with a large international human rights agencies that work with local authorities around the world to rescue victims of oppression and slavery.  The organization utilizes legal and investigative professionals to collect evidence of forced sexual exploitation.  Once sufficient evidence is gathered, the information is brought to local authorities who work with the human rights agency to physically remove the girls from their situations of abuse and exploitation. iSanctuary does not advocate purchasing victims’ freedom from their exploiters.  This only contributes to the supply and demand equation, giving criminals added incentive to acquire and enslave girls. Legally removing exploited girls from situations of slavery and holding traffickers accountable for their crimes is necessary for lasting change to be achieved.

ISanctuary was started by Stephanie Pollaro and Wendi Hicks, when they learned of the human trafficking going on around the world. They chose India to begin this work. East Asia and the Pacific are the largest source of trafficked people into the US each year.

The average age of a victim trafficked in the US is 14. Mumbai, Asia’s largest sex industry center, has more than 100,000 sexually exploited people and in Mumbai, 95% of the children of prostituted women become prostitutes.  Stephanie moved to India and began ISanctuary.  This last February 2010, they opened an ISanctuary center where the girls attend daily for reintegration programs and medical assistance.

Partnering with fellow non-profit organizations, ISanctuary is working to restore dignity and bring healing to survivors from the trauma they have endured. We work to ensure every survivor is receiving the elements needed to live a life with a future filled with hope, fulfillment, and restoration.  Purchasing a product from ISanctuary provides a foundation for the survivor’s futures.  Girls are paid 100%  above fair trade wages.  Proceeds provide vocational training, education, and financial stability for rescued girls in their transitions from the aftercare.

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