Director’s Report for STOP AGM 3 December, 2013

Where do I begin to tell the story of how great a love can be? We as a STOP team have tasted and seen not only that the Lord is good, but that He passionately loves, and is jealous, over His widows and orphans.

I have become convinced over the years that anyone attempting to rescue and take care of these His special loved ones, His witbroodjies (favourites) has the support of heaven in terms of provision, success and blessing. And so all of us here today, can truly testify of this. I have seen that when we do our little bit like the fish and the loaves, God feeds the multitudes.

I want to honour every NGO and organisation represented here today and say: well done, true and faithful servants! The Lord is going to provide increase and to trust you with much more in this new season.

STOP in this past year has seen and witnessed amazing stuff.

– God enabled us to appoint an administrator who has brought order to our midst.

– L’Abri Manor has released this upper room to STOP, and now we have dignified offices.

– The Lord has sent us saints as volunteers this year, one of which I would like to mention: Michele-Lize and her loved ones. At our last AGM she volunteered to do a charity for us. The charity became a national celebration as she engaged with Freedom Exhibition and Marissa de Lange. They used art as an awareness tool, amazing paintings on human trafficking and God-severened spirits – Queens!

-We had the privilege of blessing the Queens of Africa at a banquet in Pretoria with resource packs on human trafficking. We encouraged them to engage with their ministers of education and get the material into the life orientation classrooms of their nations.

– The Trafficking In Persons bill was passed and signed. The challenge now is to implement the bill, and encourage the various stakeholders to strategise on the work plans for future implementation of the bill.

– We marched to Parliament, we pushed and pushed the Justice Portfolio Commitee – Steve Swart was our champion there. We did oral submissions and when the bill was passed nationally we targeted the National Council of Provinces. We were given an audience in parliament by Elsa van Heerden and her team. The Trafficking In Persons bill was placed first on the agenda and was passed in two weeks. Now the bill had to be signed by the President. I want to show you the favour of God and how He will manipulate circumstances for Hi ends. Margaret Stafford, national director for human trafficking for the Salvation Army found herself at a banquet next to Cyril Ramaphosa and his wife. In the course of the evening, Margaret gently mentioned what she is doing and that the President needs to sign the bill in order for us to start rescuing the victims. Mrs. Ramaphosa said “leave it to me”and within days the bill was signed! Praise the Lord! That was the end of July and now the fun begins. Our Task – definitely to pray, but also to gently and firmly nudge government to get their stuff in place by next July so that this legislation can come into full operation.

Almarie Gouws, our first Administrator, and I had the privilege in April this year to attend a conference for pastors at the foot of Mount Kenya. We shared on human trafficking, and supplied the pastors from surrounding nations with resource packs for their communities. One attendee approached me telling me the sad story of their neighbour’s daughter. She had been trafficked under false pretenses to Saudi Arabia – a domestic slave during the day and a sex slave at night. She returned home, mentally deranged, with a baby.

One of the most profound white stone experiences of my live played off in Kenya – God’s hidden agenda evolved as I sat chatting to intercessors before our first meeting. They had been praying for their elections in their prayer caves for months, to beseech God for a peaceful election (a thousand people died at the previous one). As they were praying, God revealed that since the MauMau time their generation was the fourth, and their children the fifth, and that the sins and curses of the fourth and fifth generation of those who hate God had ended with this election. And that the fifth generation, their children, heralded in the fifth and thousands’ generation of blessing of those who love God. As I lay in my bed that night, the Father reminded me that my mother was British, and that I was the fourth generation after the MauMau time. He led me to repent to Kenya for the atrocities done by the British during the MauMau time, and to declare that the painful past is now redeemed; even history books would be rewritten. So I went on my knees before the audience and repented on behalf of the British for what they did. One month later news headlines: “Britain repents towards Kenya for the MauMau times”. Britain has never repented towards any nation nor offered any recompense. In the case of Kenya they have done both, History is made!

In the meantime the STOP team have been doing outreaches to schools ages 4-18 using the valuable to Jesus program and the traffic proof program for high schools. Schools are open in South Africa and we take liberty without any resistance to introduce the children to Jesus as their healer and Saviour. We have also had the privilege to lead children to the Lord, and leading towards forgiveness for their tormentors. Olivia Nagan is running three programs on the Cape Flats: Bullying, Abstinence and Traffic Proof.

Two of our board members are actively involved with Safe House Stellenbosch and are doing amazing work there. They have a cell group on Wednesday evenings, many have been saved, delivered and baptised. We are also establishing save houses in Somerset West, Tzaneen and Cape Town. We just see where the gaps are , and make sure they are filled…

Carin is busy engaging with the port authorities and the Salvation Army for a safe house for men. I think the recently rescued fishermen are the first of many to come.

I had the privileged opportunity of attending a week-long workshop on human trafficking sponsored by government (Department of Social Development) and presented by Nick Dam. I learned so much, and I am proud of what is being done by Government. Social workers, safe house managers, NGO’s and volunteers were fed, trained and had great fun.

At present we are working with MICAH International, aiding them with program content, key note speakers in their planning on an All Africa Human Trafficking conference in Livingstone, Zambia in 2014. It is wonderful for STOP to partner with anti-trafficking champions and organizations in Africa to put something substantial together to traffic proof Africa. Media village, NFN, Salvation Army, Marcel van der Watt, Freedom Exhibition and Michell-Lize are all on board with us.

God is opening the doors to Africa, as Ann will also be sharing with you a little later. The doors are opening to Southern Sudan to take up training material and trainers.

There is an open door to Africa in the season – let us not miss this opportune time of God’s visitation .

I believe God wants to use South Africa to traffic proof Africa and be a rescue agent in His hands to redeem our loved ones further north.

We as a STOP team thank you for coming today, and again we avail ourselves with the little we know to be of assistance, should any one of you need us. At present we have STOP team in Stellenbosch, Polokwane, Tzaneen, Potchefstroom, East London and hopefully Durban next year. God has faithfully provided in all our needs out of His riches and Glory. Thank you for those of you here today who have graciously done events for us to raise funds. We are most grateful. I would like to pray a blessing over every person and organization here, passionately taking care and looking after the marginalised in our Nation.

To God be the Glory, honour and praise for the works that He has done.

Corinne Sandenbergh, Director STOP

Posted in Uncategorized

South Africa is…

“South Africa is actively engaged in stopping the trafficking in persons!!!

The first week of October was Human Trafficking week and STOP had the privilege of being part of a week-long celebration of awareness training in workshops.
We were given precious Madiba’s Freedom Park as a venue for the week and many feet had the joy of enjoying awareness training at this impressive venue up there on the hill above Pretoria/Tshwane.
Saturday 5 October Hettie Britz and Chrisna shared their lives and testimonies with us and the message that was deposited in the heart of every person present: The healing power of forgiveness. It is possible to forgive your rapist and your trafficker by the power of God’s Love and even forgive yourself and be set free from brokenness.

Sunday, the official opening , was attended by many people from all walks of life. The freedom exhibition on the walls depicting various scenarios of human trafficking brought a tear to the eye of the beholders. The message on Sunday evening : Human Trafficking is being actively opposed and eradicated in SA. With the momentous passing of the Trafficking in Persons Bill this year South Africa is sending a message to the rest of the world, that human trafficking will not be tolerated within our borders. When prosecuted and sentenced, a trafficker can get a fine of 100 million Rand and/or a life sentence.
Congratulations to the SABC for their active live coverage of Human Trafficking week. South Africa is on board in the combatting of Human Trafficking in our nation thanks to committed media persons aiding us in our fight against modern day slavery. Thanks to FOCUS who have faithfully worked with us since 2010 in keeping the public up to date on the Combatting of trafficking in Persons, the passing of the bill and awareness around the scourge of this inhumane crime.

Queens of Africa

Hosting the Queens of Africa

For me personally the highlight of the week , was the privilege we had in hosting the Queens of Africa at an event on the 11th October. We had the honour of addressing them on human trafficking and presenting each one with a resource pack to take back to their Ministers of Education which would enable them to make the children of their nations traffic-proof!!!

To Marcel van der Wat, Diane from NFN and Roxanne from Freedom Climb… well done!! Your workshops were excellent and well attended. The drama team from UKOVS will definitely be impacting SA for the next year!!!

Many thanks to Marisa de Lange and her Freedom climb team for hosting this memorable week and we honour you for the hard work and passion that went into making this week a roaring success.

The way forward as I see it, is that civil society gets actively on board in aiding government to close all the holes in the rescue and assistance of our vulnerable. As we, the NGO’s and public of South Africa support government in their efforts, I believe Human Trafficking can STOP in our nation and that we can aid the rest of Africa and further afield in ways, means and methods of how to combat and abolish this modern day slave trade.

Kind regards to you our fellow abolitionists – together we stand!”

Corinne Sandenbergh ( Director STOP)

Posted in Uncategorized

STOP Director speaks at Human Trafficking Week Pretoria, October 6 2013

T0065

“Dear ladies and gentlemen, honoured guests.

Our Beloved South Africa, is a nation that God our Father has blessed with one of the greatest rescue acts of all time; the fact that we did not have a civil war leading up to independence in 1994. Countries like Cambodia were not so blessed and men came back – animals – raping 6 year-old children and throwing them into brothels.

Our Nation still has Christian values, family values, fathers who take ownership of their wives and children and of their nation. And now the Trafficking In Persons bill (TIP) is passed. Yes, well done government… Justice Portfolio Committee, well done! Parliament, well done! National Council of Provinces, well done! The NGO’s and people of South Africa, well done!

Many nations still do not have a TIP bill in place. The fines for trafficking human beings in South Africa were not nearly severe enough to stop traffickers in their crimes. And now, Wow! life imprisonment or a 100 Million Rand fine!! Beloved South Africans, this is the greatest crime against humanity. Our police and prosecutors are facing death threats daily and risking their lives for justice and the rescue and safe guarding of victims of Human trafficking. With the bill now passed we trust that many more arrests will be made and criminals prosecuted and sentenced . The legislation is complex and comprehensive and provides thoroughly for the rescue and protection of child and adult victims and the prosecution of traffickers.

The big challenge ahead for government now is the implementation and integration of this law into the different departments to make it effective on the ground. So DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, HOME AFFAIRS, NATIONAL PROSECUTING AUTHORITY, HAWKS and all the other role-players, we as NGO’s and civil society support you and stand behind you and will give ourselves fully to assist you in this implementation.

The next/new/old challenge South Africa is facing , is the threat of having prostitution legalised in our country. The Mayor of Amsterdam was quoted saying:“While prostitution is legal in a nation, there is no way organised crime can be controlled and with that human trafficking. Prostitution is the cover blanket over crime and trafficking and it handcuffs police… can’t go into the brothels… it is legal!!”

South Africa by the grace of God did not legalise prostitution before Soccer World Cup 2010 – pressure was on from certain small groups. They tried, but you beloved South Africans sent so many submissions to the Law and Reform Commission, that they could only work through the data by 2011! Foreign football fans went home saying that this is a clean nation and that they would like to bring their families back for holidays. Germany sadly legalised prostitution before Soccer World Cup 2006 and they are now known as the biggest brothel in Europe ( Reuters Press).

South Africa will not become the biggest brothel in Africa, if you as South Africans stand up against this insanity… no little girl at the age of 5 skips around with butterfly wings saying she wants to be a prostitute one day and when a lady is on her back she has no guarantee that when she gets up from there ( if she does), that she will not be maimed, pregnant or have contracted AIDS. During a former African National Congress Women’s League Conference, it was stated that the women were shocked ( like when abortions were legalized), when the matter of decriminalization was discussed. The Xhosa language hasn’t even got a word describing prostitution in its vocabulary. So far removed is this from the traditions of our nation.

In closing, I would like to ask the Law and Reform Commission what happened to all the written submissions of the peoples of South Africa voting against decriminalization of prostitution in 2009? And, is this bill opening up again for the public to participate in before any further debate?

OUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS ARE NOT FOR SALE . I THANK YOU.”

Director Corinne Sandenbergh addressing Human Trafficking Week at Freedom park, Pretoria

STOP visits Kenya

Dear Beloveds,

How does one describe in mere words the journey  God our heavenly Father and our Bridegroom  the Lord Jesus Christ accompanied by His Spirit, took us on into Kenya?
We went right through check in and customs  – at one stage 14 kg overweight ( all the material – yes thanks to Dawid, Carin and Almarie for the intense labour the last two days before lift off) From the word go we moved in the favour of God accompanied by Angels. Once in the plane with ” The life of Pi” on the screen above catching my eye every now and then, I got involved in a conversation with a gentleman who is the east African contracts and Finance manager for HRAA ( Hr – East ,
central and Southern Africa health community). Well needless to say as Pi was taming the tiger, human trafficking awareness was moving slowly but surely into many countries in the southern Hemisphere.WE presented him a kit and have since corresponded. As we arrived in Nairobi, the soft warm rains welcoming us, Bishop Simon Kamau  our handsome slim ( was expecting a short round bellied old man with a dog colour and crucifix around his neck) host was waiting  with a smile that reminds me of rising sun over Africa. Our two and half hour drive on horrendous roads up to the foot hills of Mt Kenya proved to be most enlightening. Sipping away at a carton of milk chewing macadamias which he issued us, Almarie and I sat back and with a little prod here and there heard the amazing history  of the life of Bishop Simon Kamau which has led up to where he stands known as the Moses of Africa and the founder of a huge ministry with many churches in Kenya and associates over Eastern Africa ( Christian Foundation Fellowship). Amongst other stories he related a most profound incident where he as a young preacher ( like Philip in the word) was transported  18 kilometres in 5 minutes one night after ministering in a village that far from his home. The following Sunday we would witness the same testimony before a crowd of 500 church members on the spot it actually happened in a remote village where we had a huge rally afterwards. The guard in front of whom he landed in his home village – white headed old man – was there to relate the incident.

501px-Flag-map_of_Kenya.svgOn our arrival in Bishops village the first evening, his precious wife and ” Mama Africa” ( Joan Bosman, missionary and evangelist) welcomed us and fed us with a hearty meal. Joan Bosman is an elderly lady from Queenstown Eastern Cape has been  preaching and evangelising in Africa for decades, moving with churches into the deepest bush and she  would be our keynote speaker at this All Africa Conference. She was the lady who invited Almarie ( and consequently me) to this conference as her guests ( she heard Almarie sharing on human trafficking in East London in December 2012).

WE were treated as queens and I  had this amazing sense of a  red carpet being rolled out for us where ever we went with an inner knowledge that we were the best men presenting the King of Kings. Our suitcases and handbags ( I’m sure if they could us too) were carried all over for us. Even our shoes were polished and clothes ironed ( you had to put outside your door at bedtime). The shoe polisher, after my last information session on what the different forms of human trafficking are, came and shared with me that he now actually realised what had  happened to him as young boy.. the story goes…. Orphaned after after his parents death, his uncle sold him to a farmer as little boy where he worked as a child slave for years. No education, money …barely food .. in rags. One night he decided to commit suicide and there the Lord appeared to him and spoke to him telling him that He was his Father and loved him and had plan for his life. He gave his life to Lord then and there. The following morning a local pastor came to him telling  him that the Lord had woken and told to take him into his house and be father to him. To day he is dignified clothes merchant, husband and father.. but o what humble servant of the most High God.

As Almarie and I presented and shared around Human trafficking, various people came to us.. some saying that God has been speaking to them for some time now ( tears flowing) about starting a safe House, others in government positions working with orphans want to get the material into the schools. Another lady high up in Dept of health and social services took the TIP bill to show to her colleagues working with trafficking. And so we could see and feel the fruit of our coming and was becoming evident as we went on and that our visit was God ordained.One thing Almarie mentioned when she was speaking, which really hit home in the hearts of the people was: she said: Should our safe Houses in SA harbour a Kenyan girl that was trafficked, we would want to have the liberty to phone Bishop Kamau  saying that after say three months we are sending  this girl home…would you please meet her at the airport and care for her. And this sort of net working should eventually take place throughout Africa.

A profound gentleman Rev Stephan Owino ( coordinator of the East African Christian Leadership network) became a good friend and networker ..( was also Almaries and my interpreter) He kept introducing us to strategic people in positions of influence and the word has gone out… Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda have asked us to come..He is also going to open doors all over Africa for student mission teams to come in and do the trafficking programs in schools and churches, but also bring hope and salvation to many young people. He is also the contact person to engage with NFN ( national freedom network)  I have already  given him some info (Sowinom@yahoo.com). Herkie ( my hubby) is involved with refresher courses in obstetrics emergency intervention ( esmoe ) . Dr. Samuel and his wife  – missionaries  and conference speakers from India, showed great interest in this course as their daughter is a doctor  ( gynae) in the north of India. Correspondence has already begun… India here we come. Jaques du Preez our doctor partner in NFN  – we plan to take you with us to India … there are 7 hospitals asking for awareness and identification training for trafficked victims!!! So please get the training manual and forms ready!!!

Have you ever had the privilege of sitting on your seat for 6 hours non stop? well we actually made it and enjoyed a lovely meal afterwards!!! The food in Kenya is delicious – locally grown rice and vegetables with meat.. tea from the local produce and much more… When bishop told us their part of the country is ever green, I wondered how this could be possible, until I hit the tropical highlands with gusts of tropical rain daily, much mud but ever ever green. The people live off and cultivate their own little bits of land.. not a hungry soul in rural Kenya. Our camp sight( police training campsite)was situated at the foot of Mt Kenya and every morning as we woke up we could just stand in awe and stare and stare and this snow capped wonder with virtually every river in Kenya having its origin from.

On Sunday morning we were all dispersed with interpreters to the village churches. After my sermon some one came up and told me her neighbours daughter had been trafficked. .. A pastor came and offered to take her to Saudi Arabia for a good job. After a tie she came back with a baby and totally mentally deranged. She had been used by the Muslim lady by day as a domestic slave being treated brutally and at night she had to be at the mercy of the house lord for his pleasure. We exchanged advice and ideas on how to minister to her and be of assistance.We suggested that they investigate the where abouts of the “pastor” that took her.

The revival meeting on Sunday afternoon where ” mama Africa” ministered to the 500, was one of the high lights of the week. Many precious people were saved , delivered and healed . It was like a re-enactment of the book of Acts.

Monday was re creation day and the contingent  – a lovely school bus full, pastors and guests left for the equator, the rift valley and the biggest waterfall in `Kenya. The local pastors of that region slaughtered a goat and prepared it for us at a nearby restaurant and what a happy celebration. Almarie was the choice favourite to be photographed with and found herself even being chosen by the bus driver to be photographed at the water fall. All the little children flocked around her comparing their dark skins to her lily white hands. And hugs and kisses were exchanged every where. The day ended with goodbye and thank you speeches exchanging of email addresses. By 2am the following morning we were all up ready to jump the buss to the airport. And with red knees ( from the seat backs in front)we arrived safely at 7 in the morning  at Nairobi airport accompanied by Bishop Kamau, his wife and all the pastors and elders of his church. The Word God gave gave me for them as we said goodbyes…

WELL DONE GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANTS .. YOU HAVE DONE WELL WITH WHAT I HAVE ENTRUSTED YOU WITH .. NOW I WILL GIVE YOU GREATER RESPONSIBILITY  AND SET SET YOU OVER MUCH MORE.

Kenya will probably remain in our hearts and minds as long as we live and Almarie and I thank and honour Bishop Kamau and our Kenyan hosts for their love and constant care for us , but also the opportunity they gave us to present human trafficking to the people and give them tools to combat this terrible crime.  We also thank STOP  for making this amazing opportunity possible. Thanks to Carin, Philip , Lilias , Truska, Teresa and Servaas who gave the thumbs up for us to go and for those of you who laboured to get all the resource material ready ( 50 packs).

THE DAUGHTERS AND CHILDREN OF AFRICA ARE NOT FOR SALE.  BY THE GRACE OF GOD SOUTH AFRICA IS GOING TO AID AFRICA IN GETTING THIS TERRIBLE ROUTE OF SLAVERY DOWN THROUGH AFRICA STOPPED FOREVER.

 

Blessings,

 

Corinnie Sandenbergh

STOP Director Continue reading

Ruth Jacobs interviews STOP’s web content manager on his heart for the enslaved

Original interview on Ruth Jacob’s blog

Ruth Jacobs interviewed STOP’s web and social media manager, Servaas Hofmeyr, on what drives him to speak out on behalf of the voiceless.

How did you become involved in the movement against human trafficking? 

While busy studying in 2008, I browsed around the web (as one does) and came across an article discussing the effects criminalisation and, alternatively, legalisation of prostitution has had in various countries. I was quite shocked to learn what conditions most of the prostituted women found themselves in – varying from being drug addicts, to suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, to being victims of regular abuse by both their pimps and clients.

Prostitution, of course, is only one channel through which trafficking occurs but as I browsed further I came across a short video clip produced by the A21 Campaign, in which the organisation’s founder, Christine Caine, explained how she first came to the knowledge of this worldwide injustice of slavery. What she was saying in that video touched something inside of me and led me to educate myself further on the issue of trafficking itself and also on various other issues creating a culture in which a demand for slaves exist…

…for the rest of this interview continue reading it on Ruth’s blog

 

SA Government to toughen up against Human Trafficking

Original post: SABC.co.za, Monday 3 December 2012 07:54

Human trafficking has become prevalent in South Africa and the Department of Justice is looking at putting in place legislation that will tackle the rising trend in the country.

The Justice department looks into passing legislation addressing Human Trafficking

The Department of Justice’s Kamogelo Makubu-Wildred says the absence of such a legislation has made it possible for this kind of activity to manifest and thrive in most parts of the country, namely Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Gauteng with Free State having a highest number of prosecuted cases of human trafficking.

Makubu-Wildred says she does not know when the Bill will eventually be passed, but is hopeful that Law makers and Parliamentarians are working very hard on the matter.  Edited By Molebogeng Sebidi

Click here for Makubu-Wildred’s interview (Human trafficking) on Morning Live

 
 
Original article

Do Not Use the Slave Word…when referring to prostitution?

On today, 18 October 2012, it is Anti-Slavery Day in the UK and Anti-Trafficking Day in the EU yet prostitutes are often still not regarded as slaves and thus not supported in the same way governments support those ‘worthy’ to be called slaves.

Rebecca, a former slave from the UK shares her thoughts…

Today it has been decided it the Day of the Slave.

Only unless it is framed as violent external sadistic trafficking can the prostituted class be named as slaves, and even then it made that it cannot be real slavery to be inside the sex trade.

My heart is broken at this dismissal, and the choice that so many with power and privilege make to say prostitution cannot be slavery.

Even when looked at with a clear all forms of prostitution are in the conditions of slavery.

The conditions of slavery is be made nothing but goods that is used and tossed away.

All prostitutes are in that condition. All prostitutes are not viewed as humans or women/girls – they are sex goods.

To be a sex good, is to know you are nothing but holes for men to f-ck, nothing but a mouth to be stuffed or speak words for his ego, nothing but an image his has remembered from porn and now can screw into silence.

That is the condition of the slave.

Only, there are voices of denial.

Prostitutes can never be slaves – they are paid or receive gifts. It is just a business exchange of equal partners.

I feel my heart exploding with rage.

https://i2.wp.com/socialmediainfluence.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/Facebook-is-being-used-to-illustrate-the-very-real-issue-of-modern-slavery.jpg

original image

Yes, prostitutes are paid – many who do indoors prostitution are paid a lot of money and given loads of valuable stuff.

But does that mean the prostitute has the basic human right to be free from violence, to have the basic human right to have freedom of movement, to have the basic human right to her own sexuality, the basic human right to freedom of expression without control or threat/reality of violence?

Slavery has always manipulated the slave-class by having many layers of what a slave – say to be closed to power or working in the cells below the power.

The mental violence of slavery is how the slave-owners use this divide and rule to control those with no power and no voices.

The divisions made between trafficking and “freely chosen” prostitution, between under-aged prostitutes and the prostitutes who is a woman, between street-based prostitutes and escorts – and the endless other divisions placed onto the prostituted class are designed to silence the prostituted.

It is used every day, to prevent a prostitute from naming that she is being raped, she is being sexually tortured, and that she is constant fear of her life.

When it is framed as her choice, as work she is doing, that she is lucky not to be doing worse aspects of prostitution – how is it possible for a prostitute to find a voice for her grief, her fear and her utter confusion.

In prostitution, the slave-owners are winning by brainwashing so many prostitutes that they are the Happy Hooker – hell, they are empowered, they choose the whore lifestyle, they are better than other women.

This mind-set is so ingrained, especially with women doing indoors prostitution – that to survive the normal violence, hate and degradation that is prostitution, it becomes important to block out reality and live in a fantasy.

This is the condition of the slave who has no access to hope, or belief that anyone cares whether she is alive or dead.

I was sexually tortured as my norm – but I made my mind block the fear, block the pain, and to block that I hated it.

No, I lived in the world of fiction. A world where I could only hear words where punters/profiteers pretended to see me as a human, only feel it was “normal” sex and forget how near I was to death, only came to believe I must want this pain why else was I there.

A slave cannot see clearly the power dynamics controlling her, when she is just keeping her head above the water.

The horror of trauma after prostitution is knowing how all prostitutes have no power or human rights – and totally controlled by punters and sex profiteers.

Trauma is impounded when seeing and knowing that to be a prostitute is be a slave – to  be goods, to be voiceless, to have no past or future just the role given to you, to be throwaway trash.

If that is not slavery, then I do not understand what slavery is?

Original articel by Rebecca  Do Not Use the Slave Word

Also in the news: Anti-Slavery Day: One victim of child sex trafficking is one too many via The Independent

Words from someone who’s been there…

It is not too often we come across joyful or inspiring stories when reading about and researching on human trafficking and therefore it is a pleasure to share one of them with you as encouragement via National Freedom Network

                                                                                                 https://i2.wp.com/ebmedia.eventbrite.com/s3-s3/eventlogos/5470581/3293104765-2.jpg

Morning Friends

This piece was written by a surviving victim of trafficking. To see the heart she now has for those who trafficked and used her is incredibly beautiful and redemptive… can we have the same heart, hard as it is? I found this encouraging and hope that you do too.

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…”
~ Matthew 5:44

The life of a Human Trafficker Recruiter:

It has always been said that money buys everything and anything, and with that being true, money can buy humans as well! The harsh reality is that once you are bought for a price, a Dollar (or Rand) sign is all you are meant to be. You do not count for anything else, nobody will see in your eyes that you could be a Wife or a Mother one day. Once the clock strikes for operation you are there for one thing only… money!

Money buys food, houses, cars, and even fame……! The Recruiter also needs all these things, and once they taste that it comes easy, they want more!!! Most of them also have wives and children that have needs, and THEY must supply.

So what encourages a person to sell other humans for an income?
I always wondered if they ever felt any emotions towards the girls, but I guess they were also like sheep standing and waiting to be auctioned. They had bills to pay, food to set on the table, school fees to pay… money was and is the goal. The Operation needs to grow and entertainment is what keeps your stress levels down, right?? They are very good at picking out the best for the highest bid; they know WHAT the clients want!

They are very good at seeing a pretty face with potential. They know that you will be the best once they break you in! They have excellent taste, they have all that money can buy, but it is never enough…. they always want MORE!
They know how to change you. They know the new trend in styles and fashion! They make sure that you become someone else. But they also know when you don’t profit them anymore….

They don’t ask questions like: Where do you come from? Where are your families? The only thing that matters is that the money comes in! They don’t care when you cry, when you get beaten up, when you get raped over and over again, when a ‘client’ wants more than you can give! You are alone… you cry by yourself… you suffer in silence. When your body is in pain, and you can’t take one more client… they don’t care… you have to do it!

To this day I remember one evening clearly. I was tired and was used by one client after another and I could not face another. I remember taking a knife to the cubicle; for some reason I decided to end my life that night. I was forced to do things I was tired of; every muscle in my tiny body was aching; I felt dirty and he was doing things to me you can’t imagine. That’s when I pulled the knife on him. He started to hit me, and call me names… he dragged me by my hair to reception and demanded his money back! The owner was forced to pay him back every cent. I was badly beaten up by the owner and called a ‘devil’! Yes, I was called the devil! How do you justify that?

The truth though, is that they are also just humans… they are blind guides. They know what they are doing but they live in the dark. And the truth is… that Jesus loves them as well!

Would it make me feel any better if I could put my arms around them and tell them that I forgive them? Yes… yes it would!!
I say they live in dark, and they do. They are taken over by the force of money… but deep down inside of each one of them is a soft side… a human side that needs to be touched by the Great “I AM”….!!!

We are all fighting against the darkness of Human Trafficking, and with each tear a victim sheds, God’s tears multiply. But God’s tears multiply because He wants to touch the hearts of the ones causing it! I believe if we deeply start to pray for the Recruiters, God’s love and power will break the chains.

If I can stand in the middle of a thousand Recruiters today, I wouldn’t be afraid, because I live in the Light and they are in the Dark… and I know that God’s light will embrace them…

-Anonymous

Your Justifications are Killing Us

Legalisation of prostitution is not a mere structural decision, to be made as we play our political games; valuable lives are at stake – whenever the South African government gets confronted with that policy serious consideration ought to be made about the consequences of their decision.

In her words, Rebecca puts forward a plea on behalf of the prostituted:

I would consider myself as left-wing – but the Left try to make it impossible to an abolitionist and fit in.

Too much of the Left is made of male-thought, and in this thinking it not surprising that the Left has always justify the sex trade, and ignore the reality of life for the prostituted.

I am tired of everyone letting the left off the hook – I tired of waiting for the Left to get on board with abolition – I tired of men who Leftist making their porn stash and their consumption of the prostituted is somehow better than right-wing men who do exactly the same.

In this post, I will speak of the many leftist cliches that have said to me, or I have read, or had fed to me by the media.

Much of the poison-speech by the Left is the language of pimps and punters – men who are not pimps and punters parrots their words without questioning.

2010 World Cup - Prostitution

I was consumed by many Leftist punters who justify all their tortures – I had profiteers selling me who imagine they were on the Left, hell they were sexual outlaws, they were empowering women, they were model-day freedom fighters.

I write to the Left, for my heart is exploring with pain and grief – silence round the Left betraying the prostituted class is killing the prostituted every day.

We must look into the language of the Left and say why it controlled by men who want the status quo of the sex trade, we mustn’t turn away because they may be our allies in other areas.

Maybe if i go into some of the common myths that the Left spread.

The major one is that if you unionise the sex trade, then it will be fine and dandy.

I agree with unions for workers – but there we the major flaw – being embedded in the sex trade is not work, the prostituted class are not workers. They are in the conditions of slavery, of having their human rights stripped from them – they are not workers.

To frame it as work, where all that need to be done putting in basic health and safety regulations, all that need to be done is to get a shop steward who go to the sex trade profiteer and speak of working rights for the prostituted.

Think a little, and you will see this is nonsense.

When there are unions for the prostituted – they always are dominated by the profiteers, punters and those who support painting the myth that the sex trade is safe.

Unions that exist do not include the prostitute who is trapped in a brothel, do not include women in the porn that is daily torture, do not include the under-aged prostitute trapped in a room with lines of men consuming her.

No, unions are not for the ordinary and average woman or girl – for those unions have no intention to stop the routine rapes, the routine beating ups, the routine throwing away of the prostituted.

No, the purpose of these unions is to whitewash away all the normal male hate and violence that underpins all aspects of the sex trade.

These so-called unions are all about protecting punter’s “rights” – so rape is made invisible or the fault of the individual prostituted woman or girl, violence is disappeared into the language of S/M and it said she must have consented, and the ordinary murders of the prostituted are not mentioned without saying maybe she was too weak to read the body language of the murderer and run away.

Do not back any sex trade union – they do not give a damn about the prostituted, they care about pimps and punters.

It is a union run and controlled by managers, but more by managers who view the prostituted as goods and never as humans.

Your belief in unions is killing the prostituted every day.

I will speak and remember how Leftist punters spoke to me, how they justified turning me into their f*ck-toy, whilst pretending they were better than those nasty right-wing punters.

I was consumed by punters who claimed to be into human rights, punters who were vegan and said they would no living creature, those who deeply cared about politics and freedom for the oppressed.

These punters would sexually, mentally and physically torturing me, and also preach all this sh*t to me.

I would see punters who had brutalise me and other prostitutes on marches, in meetings or part of liberal religions – fighting with all the might for rights and dignity of all humans.

That when I learnt the lesson I have never lost – these men did not fight for the dignity and rights of the prostituted foe we were not and cannot be classed as humans – we were just goods for them to use to consume and throw away.

We were not given access to human rights, we were not expected to want human dignity, we were never considered worthy of the good fight for freedom.

I am crying too much – so end here.

Please question your Leftist views if they discard the prostituted class.

Original article: Your Justifications are Killing Us

Another Side of Life – documentary by Shane Vermooten

original article posted in the stir

I was privileged to attend the premiere showing of Shane Vermooten’s documentary ‘Another Side of Life’ this past weekend. Privileged in the sense that I’ve been exposed to another aspect of reality. It was not an all out feel-good watch however, as the reality which was shared is that of the human trafficking industry, specifically along the slave trade routes running between Nigeria and Europe via Spain and Italy.

I can say with certainty though that it is a story with an definite element of hope attached to it – the degree to which that hope will realise is largely up to us, in the hands of the ‘free men’.

Africa is often considered as a single entity, a type of package deal, we hear people say “In Africa people often…”, and I guess us Africans often treat ‘Europe’ in a similar way. Reality is though that Africa is a continent consisting of well over 50 countries, each different in culture, language and practise (to varying degrees of course).

As a South African, I learnt that Nigerians make up 25% of the African population with the emphasis on the fact that ‘25% of the African population does not live inside Nigeria’. No, as is the case with many other nations, there is a very active Nigerian diaspora. It is therefore that speakers at the premiere event frequently brought up the saying: “What happens in Nigeria affects all of Africa”.

Another Side of Life is said to be ‘a film about a film’ as it largely draws attention to another film called ‘Europe in my Heart‘ and the work of Anne Abok. Now Anne Abok was one of the ‘definite elements of hope’ I mentioned above and one of the speakers on the night. A woman who radiates passion, purpose and an undying will to fight the injustice of slavery – all with a broad smile on her face even though she is no way ignorant of the reality she is opposing. She is the co-founder of Media Village in Nigeria (founded 2005) and also a member of the College of Communication International Committee, a film producer, screen writer and editor.

Europe in my Heart tells the story of Charity, an African girl willing to do whatever it takes to make a life in Europe, and is a high quality educational tool used to inform the world, and especially potential victims of trafficking, of how women and children are lured by traffickers and what happens in ‘Europe’. I say ‘Europe’ seeing that the destination is often a neighbouring African state or where ever a willing slave buyer may be found – it is projected that only 5-10% of slaves ever make it to Europe. Abok have noticed that the showing of this film has typically resulted in a drop of 85-45% of people watching it still wanting to go to Europe once they become aware of the possible dangers. That once again highlights to what extent properly and consistently communicated awareness campaigns can help in preventing people from becoming victims of human trafficking. Education is key!

Vermooten himself further investigates the situation in Nigeria itself and the challenges Abok and her peers face in fighting this particular manifestation of evil. He takes the viewer to a place called Benin City, the centre of Nigeria’s rubber industry, major producer of palm oil and, of course, arguably Africa’s major producer of, or port from which, humans are to be shipped as slaves, mainly for the sex industry. Benin City has a legacy as a ‘slave city’ as it was part of the ‘Slave Coast’ where many West Africans were sold to slave traders during the 16th and 17th centuries. From the film and first hand accounts of these film makers we learn that today still, almost every person they came across while filming ‘had an affair, one way or the other, with human trafficking’, whether they talked to people along the road, their taxi driver or whoever, they were likely to have been a former victim themselves or currently have a family member or acquaintance ‘in Europe’. Conservative figures suggest 1 in 10 families have a member overseas (mostly in prostitution) but from Vermooten and the team’s personal experience it is much rather around 8 out of every 10 families.

But why is this? Why is Benin City what it is and how can things be different?

Abok mentions of how she received government opposition due to their fear that ‘foreign journalists might create a negative image of Nigeria’ (as a side note: coming from South Africa, we have a very negative image of Nigeria already, due to the prevalance of illegal activities conducted over here by many of their expats – my recent exposure to Abok and another speaker at the premiere changed my whole perspective however, which is the reason I would encourage Nigeria’s government to rather assist people doing the work she does).

Secondly, poverty is a major underlying problem as is the case all over the world where trafficking occurs. Surrounding villages even rejected the film crew due to the fact that human trafficking is one of their major sources of income. Victims of trafficking would even go to jail as illegal immigrants in other nations rather than return home, as prisons provide food for them. In Benin City human trafficking is an open secret and has literally become part of everyday life.

Thirdly, there is another sinister force at play which the broader Western culture does not understand or are simply ignorant of: African trafficking, for one, involves a very deliberate spiritual aspect. Animistic rituals and witchcraft (Juju-based practises) plays a critical role in African trafficking. This includes blood oaths, commitments and covenants which when not honoured leads to death, menstrual bleeding or other conditions. Rituals include hot concoctions containing body parts (nail clippings, pubic hair, etc.) and blood from trafficked victims which trafficker/’sponsor’ drink together with the victim to seal the oath or otherwise intercourse(rape) for the same purpose. The result is that women who are found and offered the opportunity to come home from Europe or other places reject the offer due to their fear of the curse that the breaking of an oath might bring over them or their families. Whether Westerners choose to believe the reality these people know very well, the fear is very real in these societies where the spiritual is held in high regard.

The big question asked next was ‘where is the church generally in all of this?’ seeing that the church has been known to have the tools which brings freedom from this fear and the reversal of curses. The sad reality is that large parts of the church form part of ‘prosperity’ movements and ‘fake pastors’ would start churches as profit generating organisations. This results in the fact that although churches make out a large part of the Nigerian population, very few of them are interested in getting their hands dirty in the areas where their help is desperately needed.

The challenge is massive but people like Anne Abok is making a difference and are bringing change – and I may highlight again, are the type of people Nigeria and other African nations ought to embrace if they truly care about their countries and their people.

The problem is not a simple one-dimensional one and neither is the solution. People often ask, and did so again at the film premiere, how they can play a role in fighting this issue seeing that not all of us have Liam Neeson’s skill set, necessary to take out whole trafficking syndicates. Because it is so multi-dimensional, it is good for people to realise that it is not simply about stopping traffickers themselves or going into brothels and rescuing slaves. As mentioned, preventative education can have a massive effect, taking on the demand side of the industry (issues such as pornography, issues surrounding the legalisation of prostitution, the sexualised themes in our media communication playing a role in the shaping of our society) is very important and the one thing I took from this film as well: job creation.

Poverty stands out as a major reason why people are lured into slavery and why they many times approach it in an irrational manner: they are discontent and desperate. For instance, I am currently reading a book titled Why Africa is Poor from which I learnt that approximately 10% of African wages go to women, although they work 10-15 hours more per week than men and that women own 1% of the overall African economy. So, if you’re a business owner in Nigeria for instance and can find ways to create local jobs, for women especially (considering possible cultural barriers in doing so of course), and pay a decent salary, you would be fighting human trafficking.

I would encourage every one who reads this to get hold of both these films, I couldn’t share every detail in here, especially the testimonies of victims and how they managed to re-enter society after being rescued from slavery was both heartbreaking and encouraging:

Another Side of Life, to expose yourself and others to this reality for starters, and Europe in my Heart to educate the vulnerable with.

Watch: Another Side of Life trailer

Another way of contributing to the cause is to host a film screening yourself in your town, at your school, university, church or wherever you are able to get a few people together. Both Shane Vermooten and Anne Abok are available to attend these screenings in person (around South Africa in particular) if arranged in advance, Shane could be contacted for this purpose at shanevermooten@gmail.com

Anne does travel around Europe at times speaking to parliaments and at seminars educating local groups on how these African women could be assisted out of slavery, considering the unique challenges mentioned above – Shane could also be contacted with regards to her whereabouts and availability.

A ‘behind the scenes’ photo journey through Benin City by Sergio Ramazzotti.

Servaas Hofmeyr, STOP web and social media manager