We are in our festive season.
Christmas is upon us.
Joy to the world.
We see the store fronts - all full of holiday cheer and gifts that you should buy for your family if you really want to make them happy. We see all of the shiny new objects that you can instantly have if you use lay-by. Your life will be so much better if you can just "have" those items.
Let's talk for a moment about the dark side that this festive season can bring out in people. Depression, greed, drunkenness, violence, robberies, rapes...and then there is the sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Last month we talked about problems within the family as being the number one push factor toward sexual exploitation that we have seen at Homes of Hope. This month, let's explore the pull factor of the desire for goods, the desire for all things bright and shiny, the desire for everything that I don't have but that I want because someone else has it.
Through the years, Homes of Hope has interviewed countless boys and girls, men and women, who have reported earning anywhere from $2.00 to more than $500.00 for each sexual encounter with a client. That is a lot of money in a very short amount of time. Several of those encounters will provide the money to purchase a phone, a refrigerator, a flat screen t.v., etc.
Because of the culture of silence and because of peer pressure, these kids are grabbing this easy money with little knowledge or concern for long term consequences.
Once again, much of the answer lies with each of us taking action.
Parents, teachers, pastors, neighbors, friends: TALK.
Talk at home, talk from the pulpit, talk in small groups, talk with friends.
Talk with your children about their needs and wants. Talk about the dangers, the consequences, the devastation.
WHAT you do isn't as important as the fact that you are concerned and you have done SOMETHING.
IF/WHEN you see something of concern - perhaps your neighbors who might be of lower income, who all of a sudden has a new flat screen t.v., or your daughter/son who has a brand new phone that they normally couldn't purchase, or a relative who is now spending nights in fancy hotels, or...the list is endless.
If you are concerned, ask questions. Talk. Offer help. Report when necessary.
These agencies can help:
Department of Social Welfare: 331.5585/330.4466/331.5931
Empower Pacific: 665.0482/831.8515
Fiji Women's Crisis Centre: 331.3300
Human Trafficking Unit: 331.5599 ex 325.333
Fiji Police Emergency line: 917/919
Toll free Child Helpline: 1325
Toll free National Domestic Violence Helpline: 1560
Please consider adding Homes of Hope to your Christmas giving. When you help us you are helping to put an end to the scourge of sexual exploitation and trafficking in Fiji and the region.
Please visit our website, Homes of Hope Fiji, to join our team through prayer, giving, educating others, visiting, or volunteering.