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The World is Listening!

“Victim’s Voices Lead the Way” is the theme for this year's global "World Day Against Trafficking in Persons".

What a great theme. What an important theme.

In clips from a recent message given by Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, he so eloquently states the condition we now find ourselves in (emphasis is mine):

In the midst of a global pandemic, accompanied by rising inequalities and economic devastation, the voices of human trafficking survivors and victims risk being drowned out.
But listening to their stories is more crucial than ever as the COVID-19 crisis increases fragilities and drives up desperation.
As many as 124 million more people have been pushed into extreme poverty by the pandemic, leaving many millions vulnerable to trafficking.
Children are at great and growing risk: they represent one-third of victims globally — a share that has tripled in the last 15 years. Half of victims in low-income countries are children, most of whom are trafficked for forced labour. Criminals everywhere are using technology to identify, control and exploit vulnerable people. Children are increasingly targeted through online platforms for sexual exploitation, forced marriage and other forms of abuse.
Trafficking in women and girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation continues to be one of the most widespread and abhorrent forms of human trafficking.
Our efforts must be guided by survivors of trafficking. Their contribution is essential to address risk factors and patterns, and to identify and protect victims and ensure their access to justice and recovery, while holding their exploiters accountable.

The Homes of Hope campus has been in total lock down for almost three months now due to wide-spread COVID-19 in our area. This has allowed for some wonderful, concentrated time to talk to “our girls”, the brave survivors of trafficking and forced sex who live here with us. Our prayer for each girl is that she will move from victim, to survivor, to survivor-advocate - using her own story to help someone else. Some of our recent conversations have been around how they can be advocates.

One of the questions we asked the girls was to imagine themselves coming back to HoH in five years and sitting across the table from another survivor who had gone through similar atrocities. What would they say? How could they help lift someone else with their own story?

Their answers depict the incredible bravery, resilience, empathy, and strength of these girls.

They will forever remain my heroes.

“Don’t look back, but only look forward.”
“Be encouraged: there will be good that comes out of all of the suffering you have gone through. Have faith in God.”
“Be strong. I would draw a picture of an ant because ants are strong.”
“Speak out at the same time of the rape. If people don’t believe you, keep speaking out.”
“Pray hard so God can help your life. Stop thinking about the past, instead think about good things. God created you, and you are beautiful. You look like God. God loves you.”
“My past can help someone else’s future”
“Stand out from that cycle. If you make the first move, then everything will fall into place.”

Please tell others about this day, July 30th, World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. Be a voice for our girls; tell others. It's time for us all to listen to voices that have been silent for way too long.


Please visit our website, Homes of Hope Fiji, to join our team through prayer, giving, educating others, visiting, or volunteering.


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