Tag Archives: Justice Issues

BREAKING: Anti-trafficking bill passes Congress!

Now, on to the president’s desk!

Today, after more than two years of countless phone calls, frustrating roadblocks, and non-stop prayer, your voices rang through the halls of Congress. The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act passed through the House of Representatives -- only a few weeks after the same provision passed through the Senate!

Now, it goes to President Obama’s desk to be signed into law.

Putting words into action

Romanita Hairston, World Vision's vice president for U.S. programs, recently had the opportunity to attend the presidential inauguration on January 21, 2013. Today, she reflects on our nation's future and challenges us to help children in need in the United States.

Do you feel a stirring in your gut?

In late February, some 4,000 people from across the Unites States descended upon the “City of Roses” for two days. They didn’t travel hundreds or thousands of miles for a major sporting event or to see some famous music band.

Standing side-by-side with northern Uganda

You may have noticed that there’s been a lot of talk recently about Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). That’s a good thing.

Kony and the LRA terrorized northern Uganda for 20 years. They continue to terrorize the people of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Sudan, and Central African Republic. It’s now time for you to harness your attention and passion: Act to do the most good for the children most hurt by Kony’s campaign of terror.

The LRA continues to kill, maim, and abduct children in DRC, South Sudan, and Central African Republic. Mercifully, though, peace has come to northern Uganda. We now have the opportunity to join hand-in-hand with the people of this region to build a bright future for them and their children.

World Vision is partnering with communities across Uganda to ensure that the conditions that allowed the LRA to form in the first place are never allowed to emerge again.

You can now join in that partnership.

Should U.S. give a free pass to countries that use child soldiers?

As a humanitarian worker, a child protection expert, and as a U.S. citizen, I have certain expectations -- some call them naive ideals -- that the U.S. government will work to reduce the vulnerability of children around the world and here in the United States.

Laws like the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, the PROTECT Act, and the Child Soldier Prevention Act have all set in place strict policies that made America the global leader in working to prevent and respond to vulnerability among children.

That’s why, on October 4, I was angry, and, to be honest, feeling slightly betrayed. On October 4, the Obama administration announced the latest round of guidelines outlining how, for the second year in a row, the federal government will provide military aid to countries whose armed forces recruit and use child soldiers.

French first baby already a winner in the geographic lottery

Maybe you're like me: You have a sudden feeling of joy every time you hear of a baby being born, or a newly announced pregnant mother-to-be. Two months ago, I sat in the hospital, awaiting the birth of my new nephew, ready to hear the sweet melody of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" that's played each time a baby is born.

It's the same feeling of joy I had earlier this week, hearing the announcement of the birth of the daughter of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. I recall when we heard the wonderful news in May that the Sarkozys were expecting -- around the same time G8 leaders gathered in France to discuss issues of economic and global development.

At the time, my colleague, Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz, was in France, representing World Vision at the G8 Summit. While there, she hand-delivered a baby gift basket intended for the French first lady. The basket included everyday items readily available to women in Western European or North American pharmacies and grocery stores -- such as hygiene supplies, safe birthing kits, and nutritious foods -- that are often inaccessible to pregnant women living in poverty in developing countries.

In a press release yesterday from my colleagues, World Vision congratulates the Sarkozys on the newest addition to their family.

Trafficking victims protection: Keeping a law that works

Debating the effectiveness of laws is a tradition as old as our nation itself. But I want to share a story that illustrates how one law is accomplishing exactly what it was passed to do.

From 2003 to 2007, the owners of the U.S. company Global Horizons trafficked more than 600 Thai workers to U.S. soil. The company lured the men with promises of high-paying agricultural jobs.

When the men arrived after having paid exorbitant recruitment fees, their passports and immigration papers were taken from them. Instead of receiving high-paying jobs, the men were forced to work on farms in Washington state and Hawaii to pay off the “debt” they were told they incurred.

In 2007, the owners of the company were arrested. The victims were referred to service providers, who handled everything from medical care and legal services to making arrangements for those who wanted to return home. In June 2011, the eight defendants in the Global Horizons case were convicted of their crimes.

Dreaming with Martin Luther King Jr.

It was 48 years ago this week that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered one of his most famous speeches on the Mall in Washington D.C. His declaration, “I have a dream” remains one of the most stirring addresses in American history as well as a prophetic discourse opposing injustice and the continued oppression of grandchildren and great grandchildren of slaves.

If Dr. King were to deliver his address again this year, I’m sure he would continue to see the need to speak out against the injustices that continue to oppress many black and other minority communities in the U.S. But I believe that Dr. King might also speak out against the injustices, oppression, and poverty that cause suffering in communities around the world, including the suffering caused by the drought and famine now occurring in East Africa.

In The Hole in Our Gospel, I pieced together a letter that God might write to the church today. In remembrance of Dr. King’s magnificent speech, I’ve taken the liberty to imagine how Dr. King might dream again today and challenge the church to “preach good news to the poor.”

International Youth Day: 6 youth changing our world

Change our world -- that's this year's International Youth Day theme. It seems more than appropriate in a year of ongoing economic struggle, debt ceilings, radiation leaks and famines. And there are issues of injustice that fail to make headlines but distress so many people -- child abuse, abduction and trafficking, school drop-outs because of forced labor or need for income, neglect of children and youth, and an apparent lack of youth voice.

But there are youth out there advocating against such injustices, making real differences in their communities, and changing our world for good. This post is a reminder, on International Youth Day, that youth are to believed in because through them, great things are possible.

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. -1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

Debt ceiling debate: Why foreign aid is an issue of 'right-wrong,' not 'right-left'

Consider what you've heard in the news over the past several weeks regarding the ongoing impasse over the nation's debt ceiling.

You've probably heard a great deal about spending cuts, versus tax increases, versus any combination thereof. You've likely heard about the August 2 deadline for raising the limit, lest the United States default on its debts and risk an economic meltdown. In the midst of this, you've almost certainly observed a soap opera of political posturing and bickering among members of both parties.

But what you probably haven't heard much about in the context of this debate is the group that stands to lose the most: the world's poorest, who literally depend on U.S. foreign aid for their survival. Their direct involvement in this issue may not be recognized as part of the dialogue, but that does not mean that they should be forgotten.

12 challenges for your summer bucket list

When I was in college, I spent my summers visiting family and friends, journeying on cross-country road trips, catching up on extracurricular reading, or traveling internationally (if I could afford it). I always started off my summer vacation with a desire to make my summer really count -- to do something purposeful and intentional to help other people. But after a few weeks in the sun, I often resorted to all my summer norms.

College students aren't getting away with that mentality so easily anymore -- not with resources like our World Vision ACT:S Summer Adventure Bucket List. It's 12 challenges meant to get you out of the house and experience the world around you.

'We refuse to be enemies'

It was one of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had. The location was a hilltop west of Bethlehem about a month ago, and my fellow dinner guests were 30 pastors and church leaders from the United States. That night, our bus parked at a cement-and-barbed-wire barricade, and we hiked about half a mile over two such barricades to have dinner at the top of the hill -- in a cave!

The prominent sign at the end of our hike proclaimed the slogan: “We refuse to be enemies.”

The parcel of land west of Bethlehem is only about 100 acres. It is owned by the Nassar family, a Palestinian Christian family who have lived on and farmed the land since 1916. It is squarely in the West Bank, and according to international law, belongs to the Nassar family and is not part of Israel. But today, it is surrounded by 50,000 Israeli settlers, living on similar land confiscated from other Palestinian families.

ACT:S to end malaria

Editor's note: In lieu of World Malaria Day (Monday, April 25th), the following post was written for us by our friends at RELEVANT Magazine.

Recently, the RELEVANT staff became aware of a problem.

If you watch the news (who does that anymore?), or follow the news feed on Facebook or check in online with the media outlet of your choice, you know the world is in trouble. Our world’s issues have created issues that have created more issues that could lead one to believe the world, in its current state, is not right. How does one respond when the world seems to be on fire?

Apathy is our worldview

Some have chosen to bury their heads in the sand and pretend this “world on fire” doesn’t affect their everyday life. They’ve embraced apathy as a worldview—it informs the way they spend their time, money and conversation. Others have chosen to respond by passionately standing up for a cause they feel called to. But how do you go about choosing what evil to war against when there is so much evil in the world?

The problem that caught our attention was the very problem we thought had gone away. Several decades ago our U.S. government decided to wage a war against the threat of malaria. Along with relocating people away from river beds and dangerous bodies of water that hosted deadly mosquitoes, we launched an all-out chemical assault on malaria with DDT. We attacked the disease at its origin. Since the threat has now been all but eliminated in the U.S., most of us have seen malaria as that virus you might get on a mission trip that, at its worst, is similar to a common cold and a few trips to the bathroom.

Truth be told, malaria isn’t on our radar anymore because it’s no longer a deadly threat to our culture. We’ve moved on to “bigger” problems—economic development, child mortality, education, health care, ending poverty, fighting global AIDS, etc. But the fact is, if you care about any of these issues, you have to solve the problem of malaria first

The numbers don’t lie

Nearly 1 million people die every year due to diseases that were caused by malaria—85 percent of them are children under the age of 5. If you care about solving other issues in the world, you have to pay attention to the fact that 30 percent of all school absenteeism on the entire continent of Africa is the result of malaria. It slows the economic and educational development of countries around the world by perpetuating the cycle of poverty and becomes exponentially more deadly when accompanied by AIDS and malnutrition.

How have we lived on this planet without knowing? Ignorance is killing more people right now than all the great wars described in our history books.

Presidents Day: A reminder for citizen action

Today is Presidents Day. I hope you will join me in viewing this holiday as much more than simply an extra day off. Today should be used to reflect upon what has made American presidents great. Often, it’s courage under fire, steadfast leadership in times of controversy or crisis, or uniting the country across many of our deepest divisions...

Cartoon wisdom

One of my eccentric hobbies is discovering theological insights from animated cartoons. A favorite is “Road Runner.” The dastardly coyote is always devising ever-more fantastic means to capture the elusive bird, but his wicked schemes invariably and hilariously backfire, causing maximum pain and humiliation for the coyote....