NOT TODAY Movie: Child Trafficking in India

NOT TODAY opens in theatres today. It is a movie about child trafficking and exploitation.  One of its many awards includes “Best Justice Film” from the 2013 Justice Film Festival. As many are now aware, “human trafficking” is the new terminology for modern-day slavery. In any form, slavery condones the buying and selling of human beings. This is a film about India, but it’s also a film about humanity everywhere.

With the financial freedom to travel abroad, the young Caden Welles takes off for an adventure with his friends to Hyderabad, India. What he finds there is not a dream vacation, but a nightmare. Like so many of us who are exposed to the realities of human degradation through culturally embedded caste systems, sexual exploitation, forced labor, and/or child trafficking, he is forever haunted, forever changed.

NOT TODAY is a contemporary coming-of-age story, and through this journey, viewers are afforded terrifying, yet all-too-common examples of modern-day slavery, lined with lessons in courage, understanding, and faith, all wrapped in a rich cinematographic masterpiece.” Dr. Ana Steele, President Dalit Freedom Network USA

Watch the Trailer of NOT TODAY the Movie  

Executive Director, Matthew Cork says, “Dalits are not considered human. They get no education. They are used and abused and have no recourse or avenues toward justice. There is no protection from law enforcement; no access to the courts; no political voice, no hope of upward mobility.”

I know we live in a frenetic fast-paced world that thrives on sound bites and is always pushing toward the next thing, but if you would, re-read that last paragraph. Imagine it was referring to you, or the people you love. 

Cork is asked: “Can one movie change everything in India?” “No. But what if that one movie could open the eyes of millions and challenge them to join in this meaningful fight? There is a longing in the human heart for freedom. It is a universal longing.”

All of NOT TODAY’s partners are currently working to bring awareness, justice, and freedom to enslaved people around the globe.  Partners include A21 Campaign, International Justice Mission, Abolition International, and more. 

My challenge to you: Let’s work together, through the power of one, to begin to change each “no” into a “yes”. Yes, we believe in justice, equal justice for all of humanity. That includes fair laws, access to the courts, and legal protection for every person. Yes, we believe in education, the hope of upward mobility, and freedom from abuse for all. Yes, we believe girls have a right to live, receive education, and to prosper. Yes, we believe in a future hope that is good, the right to our voice, and freedom for all human beings, period.

As the movie byline reads: “None of us are free if one of us is enslaved.”

You may also be interested in:

Dalit Freedom Network: Touching the Untouchable Women of India

Untouchable — National Geographic Magazine  

Visit the website of NOT TODAY: The Movie or Follow on Twitter @NotTodayMovie.

How a Movie Ticket Can Help Save a Child From Slavery by Actor John Schneider

The movie was produced by Friends Church Yorba Linda, a congregation committed to educating the Dalits and ending human trafficking in India. Want to bring Not Today to YOUR City? Bring It!

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Share

Verbal & Emotional Abuse: Victory Over Verbal and Emotional Abuse

 

In June Hunt’s new booklet, Verbal & Emotional Abuse: Victory Over Verbal and Emotional Abuse, she says: “No one escapes the pain of a broken heart. In the Hebrew language, the meaning of the word translated brokenhearted is literally shattered.”

The award-winning author & speaker packs this mini-book full of biblical-based truths and practical advice on how to stop the pain of abuse and restore peace to your mind, body, emotions, and relationships. You will learn about emotional and verbal abuse, brainwashing and manipulation, the effects of negative words and behavior including the characteristics of passive-aggressive behavior, the familiar faces of abuse, and their root causes.

Then you will get to the good part, the hope part! You will learn how to cope with and confront abusive people, alter the course of an abusive relationship, establish personal boundaries, and gratefully, how to heal a “shattered” heart.

“Words possess immense power. Words can be life-giving as well as life-threatening; life-giving by inspiring us to be all that we were meant to be, and life-threatening by destroying our hopes and dashing our dreams.” –June Hunt

In summation, the author poses the question: “When someone is being verbally or emotionally abusive to you is there anything you can do?” And then responds in conclusion with the affirming and hope-filled answer, Yes! “You do have choices. You can have boundaries. You can have healing.”

About the Author

Author June Hunt

June Hunt is a biblical counselor whose award-winning radio program “Hope for the Heart” is heard on nearly 900 radio outlets around the world. She is a sought-after public speaker on topics such as crisis counseling, child abuse, forgiveness and self-worth. She’s also developed a scripturally based counseling course covering topics including depression and anger, marriage, parenting, stress, suicide, and more. Her “Hope for the Heart” booklets have been translated into 27 languages.

Look for all 25 of the Hope For The Heart mini-books − These books are for men and women who are seeking restoration from circumstances like codependency, anger, conflict, verbal & emotional abuse, and depression.

Purchase the book: Verbal & Emotional Abuse: Victory Over Verbal and Emotional Abuse

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Share

GLOBAL GIRLFRIEND: Shop To Benefit Women Worldwide

Global Girlfriend was created by Stacey Edgar to help women worldwide gain economic security while providing unique products and a simple way to help women in need. Through Global Girlfriend, marginalized women are given a vehicle to bring their handcrafted products (apparel, handbags, jewelry, handmade paper and bath products, and more) to market, empowering them to create a better future.

Global Girlfriend brings the work of “disadvantaged groups directly to the end-users (you and me) by forming long-term partnerships that provide women a fair living wage with equal employment opportunities, healthy and safe working conditions, technical assistance and development strategies to foster prosperity and reduce poverty.” In turn, stronger families and communities become a reality, along with a tangible affirmation to these women and their children of what is possible. Hope is a powerful catalyst to fostering a resolve for a better future.

“We have the extreme privilege of knowing and working with a wonderful group of women social entrepreneurs globally who are leading cutting edge women’s non-profits aimed at bringing women social and economic justice.” –Global Girlfriend

The advocates and artisans of fair-trade products are cinched together by a single common thread of purpose: “helping women in need help themselves”. Women from Nepal, Africa, Thailand, Guatemala, India, and other countries unite around their shared cause: security and freedom.

“We believe passionately that economic opportunity for women holds the promise for real change in the world; because when women have an income, they reinvest in themselves and in their children’s health, education and nutrition.” –Global Girlfriend

Recycled Color Burst Tote from globalgirlfriend.com

Shopping is more meaningful and even more fun with names like, “101 Beads of Joy” or “101 Beads of Peace“, “Zulugrass Beads for Learning“, “Three for Freedom“, “Congo Solidarity Skirts” and, bookmarks with meaningful sayings that sum up the vision: “Start Small, Dream Big, Change Lives“.

 

“Each item we sew is our claim to a better world.  A world where we are seen not only for the challenges we face but for the beauty we create.” -Congolese Seamstess

You can also choose from a variety of the “Gifts that Give More” projects. These provide opportunities to help girls in Afghanistan receive an education, provide childbirth kits to mothers in developing nations, skill train mothers living in extreme poverty, or help liberate girls from human trafficking or those living as indentured servants, and more.

Sharing about Global Girlfriend is a creative and unique way to enlighten and inspire your friends to shop with an eye toward giving back. Promote fair-trade eco-friendly products at your workplace, through gift-giving, event promotions, fundraiser giveaways or, to educate children.

Together we CAN make a difference.  Now don’t keep it to yourself, Go Tell a Friend!

The GreaterGood Network of websites offers the public a unique opportunity to support causes they care about at no cost to them.

Connect with Global Girlfriend to shop online, on Facebook, or to follow Stacey Edgar on Twitter.  Buy  Stacey Edgar’s book, “Global Girlfriends”.

Join me on Twitter @DestinysWomen

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”
Share

One Saudi Arabian Woman Helps Other Women Take a Step Forward

 This is the face of a criminal. Her name: Manal al-Sharif.  Her crime?  Driving a car.

Manal al-Sharif, a Saudi Arabian woman, was arrested and jailed for nine days last year. The charge?  Violating what has been described as a “strict religious edict” that effectively prohibits women in Saudi Arabia from driving a vehicle.  As a longtime advocate for women’s rights, Manal al-Sharif posted a YouTube video of herself driving a car through Saudi Arabian streets in an effort to raise awareness about the issue. Hers is also the face for the Women2Drive campaign. Apparently, she raised more than awareness–including a few eyebrows, the blood pressure of some less-than-sympathetic males, and several women’s rights supporters along the way.

But the right to drive isn’t the only issue facing women in the region. It is also about the inability to attend school without the approval of a male family member, open a bank account, or obtain a passport, among other things many of us take for granted.

It’s shocking to women in the western world, where not only are we free to work, get an education, choose who we marry and have the opportunity to live out our dreams, but we are encouraged and expected to, in most cases. And on top of that, the idea that she is highly educated and working as an IT Professional, somehow makes it even more foreign to our thinking.

We tend to draw a correlation between education and freedom.  In some ways, she has broken through traditional barriers, as a single mother, a highly educated woman and now, as an outspoken advocate for women’s rights—human rights. Yet, in stark contrast, she was actually imprisoned and condemned for getting in a vehicle and transporting herself from one location to another.

When Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah announced that women would be able to vote and become active participants in the voting process, the victory seemed so sweet. But battles for genuine and lasting freedom have always been hard-fought.

Devin Cohen asked the following in The College Voice:

“So, how much has granting women the right to vote changed the political and social landscape of Saudi Arabia? Less than twenty-four hours after King Abdullah made the announcement, Amnesty International reported that a Saudi woman was sentenced to a severe flogging for simply getting behind the wheel of a car.”

And then there’s the refusal of Saudi Arabia to endorse any female Olympians. Something that other countries prize: dedicated, maximum-achieving athletes (any gender) that represent their countries with excellence. It is an opportunity that the world at large views as a badge of honor. According to an article by Human Rights Watch, Saudi’s Prince Nawwaf Faisal said, “At present, we are not embracing any female Saudi participation in the Olympics or other international championships.”

 

Yet with the continued uncertainty and ongoing struggle in Saudi Arabia to secure what most of us agree are fundamental human rights (for women), Manal al-Sharif managed to make the “2012 TIME 100: the Most Influential People in the World” list, plus Newsweek and the Daily Beast’s “150 Women Who Shake the World” list.  Almost makes you want to jump in the car and honk your horn in celebration!

EVERY STEP FORWARD is a step in the right direction.

Related Reading: Saudia Arabia: Woman Driving Brought to Trial (HuffPost),  Hillary Clinton Throws Support Behind Saudi Women2Drive Movement (Mashable), Manal al-Sharif Released (Arab News).

Twitter: @DestinysWomen. Follow the progress of Women2Drive on Facebook and @Women2Drive on Twitter. (Photo: Manal al-Sharif)

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

 

Share

Joseph Kony’s Aboke Girls: Child Abduction & Sexual Slavery

Aboke Girls: Children Abducted in Northern Uganda is a true story written by journalist, Els De Temmerman. It is a heart-wrenching account that unfolds the systematic abduction and sexual enslavement of girls from St. Mary’s College in northern Uganda. As shocking reports surfaced of the bold and heinous crimes committed against children under the leadership of the LRA commander, Joseph Kony, the world sat up and took notice. 

Aboke Girls: Children Abducted in Northern Uganda

On October 9, 1996, Kony’s rebel army broke into the Aboke girl’s school in northern Uganda like a thief in the night, kidnapping 139 girls between 12-15 years old.  During his diabolical reign of terror, Joseph Kony turned on his own people. Under his command, young boys were forced to become killers, often of their own parents and family members. Young girls were plucked from their homes, or, in the case of the Aboke girls from St. Mary’s College, an upperscale Catholic girl’s school, they were abducted in the night and forced to become sex slaves for Kony’s men.

Child Sex Slaves & Soldiers

These child sex slaves and killers lived in constant fear of their own lives being taken, and the lives of their families. To survive, they did what they were told.  One ex-child soldier tells of  time he was forced to watch 50 small children being massacred to “teach them a lesson”.  Not with a single bullet, but stabbed, beaten or stoned to death. The brutality was always meant to send a message. Often the private parts were cut off of those already murdered. New child recruits were forced to take part in the killings as part of instilling fear and mindless obedience to Kony’s authority. All, as the book details, on the altar of Joseph Kony.

The girls were given to the adult soldiers for their sexual gratification and servitude. Often made to fetch water from miles away, walking through the night in the treachourous bush for miles to evade capture with nothing more than banana leaves to cover their bloodied feet, surviving regular rapes, beatings to keep them in line, and subsisting on little food or sleep.

Although this story is a part of many parts, it is the story of the Aboke Girls. And although much restoration and healing have taken place and the people of northern Uganda are now peaceful and rebuilding their lives, we remember their sacrifices and courage. For those of us a world away, it may seem like a brief period in time. For those living it, an eternal hell on earth. 

Women Who Lived To Tell Their Stories

Ayako survived a vicious attack of the LRA, but they murdered her husband and two children, burned down her house, and plucked out one of her eyes with a wire. For no reason other than she was moving on the roadside when the LRA approached her, Carcy’s lips and nose were cut off and she was forced to eat them. If she cried, they threatened to slit her throat. Nine other people were brutalized in the same way. This was no conventional war.

Human Rights Violations & the Conflict of War

Aboke Girls takes us through the conflict of war, Kony’s twisted idealogies including the cleansing of the Acholi people after their disloyalty to him, stories of the abductions, two girls who escaped, and the tenacious advocacy and voice of Sister Rachele and her tireless search for her students, along with their parents. In 1998, the UN Commission for Human Rights accepted a resolution demanding immediate release of more than 10,000 abducted children. But to no avail. Then, after years of political posturing, the last Aboke girl returned home in 2000, with 20 still missing. That same year, over 400 children were again reported missing, including a two-year old baby.

Fast forward to 2012: The demonized terror mastermind, Joseph Kony, who once lurked and schemed deep in the bush, has again captured the world’s attention. As documented in the film, Kony2012 by Invisible Children and An Unconventional War, one of the most arrogant and perverse human slave masters, child abductor, murderer, rapist and antagonist is now on the run.  The hunter has become the hunted. 

“He who allows oppression, shares the crime” -Desiderius Erasmus

Els De Temmerman has been an award-winning African correspondent for print and television serving in Uganda, Kenya and South Africa. In addition to Aboke Girls: Children abducted in northern Uganda, she also authored The dead are alive: Rwanda, an eyewitness, Africa: Continent in Motion and The Horn of Agony: Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia. She is the former Editor-in-Chief of  Uganda’s New Vision, and  has recently launched, The New Nation, a bi-monthly newspaper published by Sudan Advocacy for Development, an NGO registered and based in Juba, South Sudan.

 

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Share

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

 

National Human Trafficking Awareness Day is January 11, 2012 (and January has been declared National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month). Finally, the issue is on the table. it is out in the open and it is raw. An estimated 27 million plus people are modern-day slaves. Though not exclusively, the vast majority of sexually trafficked people are women and girls. There is no question, the world has been complicit in sharing a very large, very destructive secret for a very long time: Human Slavery

It comes in many forms including forced labor, sex trafficking and debt bondage. And although it may not have been clear to the average eye up until recently, we have become increasingly aware of the direct line to the tactics, facades, brokers, associated industries, devastation–and sometimes taking–of the lives of countless women and girls in it’s wake.

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT

Because we didn’t see it, didn’t keep it from happening. Because we didn’t pay closer attention to it, doesn’t mean we weren’t somehow involved. But now that we know, we have no excuse. With that, we share a huge responsibility to bring the crime of human trafficking aka modern-day slavery to an end. 

Factors critical to creating lasting impact include changing mindsets, reevaluating appetites and attitudes, and not giving ourselves permission to look the other way, or settling for tolerance over righteousness and justice.  Make no mistake: quiet doesn’t mean peace.  People are tormented, suffer and die in quiet.

Human trafficking touches every people group within every economic and social sphere. Just because it’s not happening to you or someone you love, doesn’t mean it’s not happening in your neighborhood. Just because it’s not adversely effecting your lifestyle or freedom today doesn’t mean it won’t tomorrow.

 UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL 

  • Are our high-tech gadgets, favorite clothing brands or other material possessions more important than a person’s freedom from forced labor? 
  • Are the foods or items we import for our own enjoyment more valuable than the families that were ripped apart when a member was forced into debt bondage to supply them for us? 
  • Are our sexual appetites and moral compasses so out of control that we can seriously look the other way when young children and girls are sold to multiple men for sexual gratification and then tossed aside night after night in traveler’s sex havens; or, when young girls and women are forced to prostitute their bodies while their souls are continually raped and their identities (and destinies) stolen by perverse strangers for the financial profit of their slave masters?

In the “free” world, we pride ourselves on liberty and justice for all. Think about that. When we have a sex industry that boasts 32 billion dollars a year, that is not freedom. Statistics estimate that a person is bought or sold every 8 seconds and every 30 seconds that victim is a child. Seventy percent of female victims who are trafficked are for the purpose of the commericial sex trade. That is not freedom!

HOW WILL YOU GET INVOLVED?

Last year was significant in that the flag of awareness about human trafficking was raised higher than ever before. People talked, listened and asked important questions. But we can’t stop there. Knowledge is critical, but it is never enough. It’s what we do with that knowledge that will make a difference. We must continue to pray, rally and share with our friends and communities. Let’s commit to get creative with our advocacy and bold with our policy-making.  Minds need to change, yes, but lasting change will come from the heart.

THE CHALLENGE

Will you commit to just one?  Just one person, just one cause, just one prayer initiative, just one communiity awareness project, just one creative activity advocating for the abolition of modern-day slavery…  JUST ONE

“…Proclaim good news to the poor. Bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and release prisoners from darkness” – Isaiah 61:1

We want to hear from you!  Please share with us (through email or by leaving a comment here) what your “just one” thing is… whether it’s a person, project or something else. It will encourage and inspire others to get motivated and join in your efforts!  Remember, don’t look at the masses, because it is overwhelming– Start with just one!

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Share

Human Trafficking Novel: Deliver Me From Evil

Deliver Me From Evil is the inaugural book in the Freedom Series by award-winning author Kathi Macias.  The novel serves as a catalytic spark raising awareness for the millions trapped in sexual slavery and calls for nothing less than the abolition of human trafficking.

Earlier this month, I announced a chance to win a free copy of the book, Deliver Me From Evil in my interview with author, Kathi Macias.  I’m pleased to announce Bev Littau as the winner in our random drawing on October 31st.

Deliver Me from Evil introduces readers to Mara, an eighteen-year-old girl who has been enslaved for nearly ten years, having been sold by her parents in Mexico and then smuggled across the border into San Diego where she was forced into sexual slavery. Readers will also meet 18-year-old, Bible-college-bound Jonathan and his 16-year-old sister, Leah, whose paths cross Mara’s and who become involved in her dramatic rescue.

Interwoven between the stories of Mara, Jonathan, and Leah is the heartbreaking story of another young woman in captivity in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, whose past life mysteriously connects to the young people in San Diego.

Evil is the enemy of life, love and freedom.  It chokes the breath out of dreams and destinies. It cannot be flirted with, negotiated with or haphazardly allowed to exist, because it always seeks to rob, steal and destroy.

Read the First Two Chapters FREE

Buy the Book

(c) By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women™ – “Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

Share

Trafficking Film–Sacrifice: The Story of Child Prostitutes from Burma


Each year thousands of young girls are recruited from rural Burmese villages to work in the sex industry in neighboring Thailand. Held for years in debt bondage in illegal Thai brothels, they suffer extreme abuse by pimps, clients, and the police.

The basic provisions awarding children protection from sexual abuse is found in the Penal Code of Myanmar: Legislation against child prostitution –Human Trafficking.org

As in any culture, laws cannot control the appetites that force the demand. Unfortunately, the trafficking of Burmese girls has soared in recent years as a direct result of political repression in Burma. Human rights abuses, war and ethnic discrimination have displaced hundreds of thousands of families, leaving families with no means of livelihood. An offer of employment in Thailand is a rare chance for many families to escape extreme poverty.

High demand in the sex industry has forced business operators to find other sources of prostitutes and they have attracted children from Myanmar and hill tribes in neighboring areas to replace the Thai children.
Conflict, violence and a higher level of poverty in Myanmar have forced girls and women into the Thai sex industry. -Asian Economic News

Sacrifice examines the social, cultural, and economic forces at work in the trafficking of Burmese girls into prostitution in Thailand. It is the story of the valuation and sale of human beings, and the efforts of teenage girls to survive a personal crisis born of economic and political repression.

Burma has the third highest HIV prevalence rate in Asia, after Cambodia and Thailand, sex workers are particularly at risk, with 32% infected with the disease. -UNAIDS

Film Reviews

“Unflinching in its account of abuse and corruption, Sacrifice derives much of its power from the testimonies of four girls, who speak directly to viewers with a painful directness beyond their young years. Bruno demonstrates an exceptional knack for conveying the complex facts and emotional upheaval of globally relevant true stories. In the sobering yet poetic Sacrifice, Bruno presents the terribly moving first-person accounts of four young girls from Burma who were virtually kidnapped from their homes and forced into a life of prostitution in Thailand. As with all her films. Bruno approaches difficult issues with the intent of uncovering hard truths and giving voice to people who are too often marginalized or misrepresented by mainstream media.”
–Steven Jenkins, Film/Tape World



Sacrifice offers a view of the terrible odds faced by women born into poverty where the only commodity for sale are their bodies.” These are complicated stories that get beneath tabloid headlines to capture, with great visual invention, the dignity and damaged nobility of young Burmese victims. The lives of these women are revealed to be the stuff of fairy tale…
 the magic goes bad and the witch, the ogre, and the monster win the day in this chilling view of sexual exploitation… one we have never seen before.”
–B. Ruby Rich, San Francisco Bay Guardian



“Compelling interviews and beautiful photography create a complex portrait of economic conditions in Burma, and the impact this has on families, rural villages and the young women themselves.”–San Francisco International Film Festival



Sacrifice counterpoints forthright tales of four young prostitutes with mesmerizing images: a woman standing in a door frame awaiting her fate juxtaposed with farmers cultivating the fields. The images make a poignant plea for survival, both of the exiled women and the tormented land.”
–Andrea Alsberg, Sundance Film Festival



About the Filmmaker: Ellen Bruno

Filmmaker and international relief worker Ellen Bruno has spent much of the last 20 years in Southeast Asia.

Bruno began her relief efforts more than 25 years ago in Mexico, working in remote Mayan villages. Since then she worked in refugee camps on the Thai-Cambodian border, as field coordinator for the International Rescue Committee and served for four years as director of the Cambodian Women’s Project for the American Friends Service Committee. She has also worked as a hospice worker for the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, providing bedside assistance for people dying of AIDS and cancer.

Sacrifice is the final film in her Asian trilogy, all of which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

More Info on the Issues:
Open Society Foundations: Burma Project Southeast Asia Initiative
Human Trafficking in Burma
Human Trafficking in Thailand

More Info on the Film:
About the Filmmaker: Ellen Bruno, About Bruno Films
Order the Film: Sacrifice

© By April McCallum, Destiny’s Women -“Championing the Life, Freedom & Destiny of Women”

(Photo by Daniel N. Reid)

Share
©Destiny's Women™ is a blog founded, written and published by April McCallum -- "Championing the Life, Freedom and Destiny of Women" Creative Commons License
This work by April McCallum is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.