Tuesday, September 25, 2012

"Nefarious: Merchant of Souls" Tour Screening at Chestnut Ridge Church

Last night Jamie and I were invited to watch a documentary called Nefarious at Chestnut Ridge Church in Morgantown. We were unsure whether we would go as we were both pretty tired and we are both a fairly well informed on the subject. Jamie and I have both served with ministries in the Red LightDistrict in Amsterdam, and we even went into a facility in the states to try to gather evidence of a suspected illegal operation. We keep our eyes peeled any time we travel for signs of potential trafficking or slaving operations existing even here in the US.  We also have a good friend who is legal counsel for the Freedom Center in Cincinnati,OH and a few friends at International Justice Mission.

 As the start time approached, we decided to go to watch the documentary because we knew from the trailer that it talked about Amsterdam’s Red Light District, and because we like to show support for initiatives to raise awareness of the issue of human trafficking. As I mentioned, the film was being shown at Chestnut Ridge Church, so we had a bit of a drive to get there (30 minutes), but the trip was definitely worth it.

I was really impressed that the church was choosing to get involved in modern day abolition activities, and the organizer, Karen Haring, had told me that she was trying to take steps to get more involved personally in issues like this. We saw a number of friends in attendance at the event, including another couple with whom I had traveled to Amsterdam for a short-term service/mission trip in 2005. So the event also served as a reunion of sorts.

As far as the film is concerned, it is fairly graphic in its portrayal of sex slavery, sex trafficking, and prostitution, and is filled with heartbreaking statistics and stories, but in the end shares hope and some success stories. Benjamin Nolot, the founder of a group called Exodus Cry which was started by members of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, created the film, and it documents four years of his travels to learn more about and bring awareness to this multi-billion dollar industry that is destroying millions of lives.

My own journey with Nuru has been launched because I see extreme poverty as a strong catalyst for trafficking in some parts of the world. Desperate people do some pretty horrific things in an effort to survive sometimes. It’s also true that wicked people do some very wicked things in the name of greed or lust. The world needs more passionate, results-oriented activists working to break the bonds of injustuce in our world.

Whether or not the film comes your way, I highly recommend that you learn more about modern day slavery and human trafficking. GaryHaugen, the founder of International Justice Mission has written a couple of great books on the issue that document what people can do about it Good NewsAbout Injustice and Just Courage). Another great book is called, Not ForSale by David Batstone.  Get informed and get involved.

This world needs more people who are willing to move past talking about issues to start taking tangible action to make it a better place. Will you take a step?

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