IJM Opened My Eyes

11 Jun

Blog post by Heather Jensen, Team Iraq 2012

The Team Iraq ladies dressed in traditional Kurdish dress.

“You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.” [Psalm 10:17-18]

A couple of years ago, an organization called “International Justice Mission” came and spoke at our church.  The president of this organization, Gary Haugen, wrote a book entitled Terrify No More, which is from Psalm 10. This book details the many children who are enslaved within child brothels, forced to have sex with strange men. I was heartbroken by the stories of these children’s lives and the horrors that are forced upon them.  Young girls are sold by their families, deceived by people close to them, or kidnapped into this industry. Countries where child prostitution is prevalent include Thailand, Cambodia, India, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. It is estimated that 40% of prostitutes in Thailand are children. In Cambodia, 1/3 of all prostitutes are under the age of 18 and in India, an estimated 1.2 million children are involved in prostitution. Sadly, an estimated $12 billion a year is made on child trafficking, both around the world and in North America.

While reading Gary’s book and researching this topic, I came across some of the most horrific truths of this world. There are people who travel to the countries listed above for the specific purpose of having sex with children. About 25% of child sex tourists are US citizens. IJM runs undercover operations to free these children. They have caught on tape conversations with North American sex tourists who, while unaware of being taped, have offered advice on how to get away with visiting these countries for sex with children.  I read about a young girl who was sold by her neighbour to a brothel. She was forced to have sex with a grown man and when she cried during this horrific act, they taped her mouth shut. I read about brothel owners beating the girls who tried to escape. I read about “sex parties” being arranged and groups of girls being sent to hotels to service sex tourists .

Orphans are so vulnerable to being trapped within a life like this. The orphan is preyed upon by the greedy and demented acts, which reveal the worst of human depravity. To view a short IJM video about the issue of human trafficking, click on this link.

If you want to know more about what’s being done about this issue, visit IJM’s website.

Heather resides in Canada and is currently serving with Journey117 in Iraq. 

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