I Didn’t Sign Up for This

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Have you read my Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion for today entitled “I Didn’t Sign Up for This?” If not, click here to see what we’re discussing today. {be sure to come back for the guest interview and giveaway of 20 of his books!}

This week Americans celebrate freedom. But for many around the world {and even in the USA} there is no freedom. The sex trafficking industry is real and horrendous. My friend Tom is on the front lines fighting against this evil practice. Today I’ve invited him to share with you the realities of this atrocity.

I met Tom Davis three years ago when he came to talk to our team at Proverbs 31. My heart was instantly drawn to the work he and his ministry perform helping orphans and those caught in the sex-traficking industry around the world. I’ve asked him to share a little with my readers today about his ministry Children’s Hope Chest. And, he is also giving away 20 copies of a novel he wrote about this issue entitled Priceless.

~ Tom, tell us how you came about having a passion to help orphans and those stuck in slavery?

On my first trip to Russia in 1997, my wife and I fell in love with a little girl named Anya. She was a beautiful 10 year old filled with wonder about her future and who would love her for the rest of her life. This was a pressing question for her because she had been an orphan since she was 3. We learned that orphans ‘graduated’ the orphan system at the age of fifteen or sixteen. It wasn’t really a graduation, it was an abandonment. They were forced to leave and make it on their own. The results were horrendous. 15% committed suicide within 2 years, 70% of the girls ended up in forced prostitution and 80% of the boys lived on the streets or were put in jail.

Without our help, Anya would be facing life as a sex-trafficking victim. The odds were not in her favor. My wife and I just couldn’t let that happen. In our hearts she became our daughter at that moment, although it took us a year to complete the process. As I became aware of the countless numbers of other ‘Anyas’ in the world, I couldn’t turn a blind eye. I had to continue to do something to see that other innocent girls like Anya didn’t end up in a situation where they became a trafficking statistic.  I’ve given my life to this for the last 16 years.

~ Today you are the CEO of Children’s Hope Chest. Tell us about that ministry’s heartbeat and mission.

Children’s HopeChest connects Christian communities in the U.S. and Canada with impoverished communities of orphans overseas. This unique “community-to-community” sponsorship leverages the power of one community of Christians making a long-term, transformational impact on a community of orphans and vulnerable children.

Ultimately, these relationships and resources empower orphans to survive, thrive, and succeed within their home culture. HopeChest partners primarily with churches, businesses and Christian communities such as blogs, online groups, book clubs, and small groups. These sponsoring communities are providing help, training, and discipleship for over 10,000 orphans. HopeChest has over 100 active partnerships in Russia, Swaziland, South Africa, Ethiopia, Uganda, Haiti, Guatemala, Moldova, and India.

Simply put, we want to help every orphan we find have the hope of a future and the blessing of loving people surrounding them.

~ How can my readers go about also helping orphans and slaves from right where they are now?

Let’s make it really easy. Email me: tdavis@hopechest.org. I will get back with you immediately. There are so many things people can do to help. Once I know your heart regarding this issue, I can clearly direct you. You can also go to our website to find out more information at www.hopechest.org. ;

~You are generously giving away 20 copies here of your novel Priceless. Tell us what that book is about.

Priceless is the story about a young girl named Marina who leaves a Russian orphan and becomes a victim of human trafficking. Tragically, her story is the story for thousands and thousands of girls in our world. They become trapped in predicaments like this because they have absolutely no one to look after them. Nobody loves them; they are forgotten.

Because they have no place to live and are unable to find employment, they become targets for sexual predators. It’s easy to see how they get caught up in this industry. I’ve done a lot of studying in this area, and once girls are in, it’s almost impossible for them to get free without some kind of help.

They find themselves in foreign countries where they don’t speak the language, their passports are taken from them, they have no money, no way to make phone calls, and they don’t personally know anyone in their surroundings. Most are scared to death because they are told if they run away they’ll be found and killed, or if they have living relatives, their relatives will be killed.

The hero of the story is an award-winning photojournalist named Stuart. He could be you or me. I wanted people to see the life of a trafficked young girl through his eyes, feel his emotions, and have their heart enter into the storyline.

Priceless is a novel, but it is based on true stories.

Here’s a sad fact: When it comes to orphans, the truth of this Scripture is overwhelming. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

The enemy rapes, pillages, destroys, and devours the life of every single orphan he can get his hands on. He takes advantage of the little orphan girl because she is helpless to protect herself. There is no natural parental covering, no spiritual covering, rarely even a communal covering. They are caught all alone, in a blizzard of abuse, and they are exposed to all of the elements. So our enemy devours them.

To devour means to destroy something rapidly and completely. I’ve seen this too many times in places like Russia. Currently, there are over 2 million children enslaved to forced prostitution—and this number has drastically increased in the last year. Hundreds of thousands of children are caught up in armed conflict as combatants, messengers, porters, cooks, and sex slaves for armed groups. In many cases they have been forcibly abducted.

I firmly believe that the orphan is precious to God. He created them in His image, He loves them, and His heart is broken for them. His answer to this tragedy is you and me. We have to utilize our influence, our relationships, and our talents to fight this enemy. As long as we sit on our hands, the enemy will continue to unleash hell and savagely kill the innocent. Dare we continue to just watch it happen?

Trafficking Data:

  • 1.2 million children are trafficked every year; this is in addition to the millions already held captive by trafficking
  • Every 2 minutes a child is being prepared for sexual exploitation
  • The average victim is forced to have sex up to 40 times a day
  • The average age of a trafficked victim is 14 years old
  • Sex trafficking is an engine of the global AIDS epidemic
  • By 2013 Sex Trafficking will be the number one crime worldwide
Tom, THANK YOU so much for sharing with us today, inviting us to partner with Children’s Hope Chest and giving away your novel!

Now, to be entered to win one of the 20 copies of Priceless, simply leave a comment on this post or a short prayer of encouragement to Tom and his team. Winners announced Monday.

Happy Fourth of July to my American readers. Can I ask you a favor? When you see a sign of freedom—a fireworks display or waving flag—will you use it as a prayer prompt to remind you to whisper a plea to God on behalf of the children, women and yes–even men—caught in the trap of slavery?

Tom and I both thank you.

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  3. Thank you for all you are doing for these children. My heart just breaks for them! Praying for your ministry and for them.

  4. Tremendous issues here. I’m very satisfied to peer your article. Thanks so much and I’m taking a look forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

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  6. What a tragedy! To think that such things are going on all around us! We need to do what we can to stop these horrific things from happening. Prayers going out each time the thought is put on my heart.

  7. Tom~ thank you for bringing this subject to our attention. I have a 6 year old granddaughter and can’t imagine even for a moment what a horrible fate lies in store for those poor girls (and boys). It breaks my heart to hear of stories like this. I want to protect my granddaughter and would love to be able to help you in your cause. Please contact me to let me know how I can assist you in your efforts. I applaud what you are doing. The world needs more people like you. Thank you!

  8. My soul crumbles with every thought of each precious child being put through this.
    Dear Lord, use me in any way you see fit to help your babies.

  9. Dear God, You alone have the power to stop all the filth and ugliness that is going on in these children’s lives. I pray that we as believers would band together and pray as never before and help in anyway we can to rescue these children and stop this horrible abuse. In Your precious name we pray…Amen.

  10. I have heard about sex trafficking, but know very little of this practice or how widespread it is. My heart aches for these children who have no options but to be a part of this horrible practice. I would like to know more about how I can help to alleviate their suffering in some small way. We as the Church must do our part to intervene and help to free as many young people as we can from this bondage and suffering. Today and from now on I will pray for children who are enslaved in this bondage and will get involved in a ministry that is actively working to free them.

  11. Lord, thank you for the freedom I have in you. Thank you for the life you have given me. Open my heart and eyes to the needs of so many who are not free, Father. I pray that You will show us how we can help your children that are enslaved. Your word tells us that we are to look after widows and orphans. I understand that your purpose for this is so that they do not fall into slavery and harm. You want them to live lives in freedom and in your truth. You are calling them out of darkness into your marvelous light. Use us Father as your instruments to help your enslaved children, so they will know you as Father and be free in deed. In Jesus Name, Amen.

  12. Lord, I have no idea what a “bad day” is. Complaining about things that don’t go my way is not an option when you bless me so much. Help me learn from my situations that aren’t perfect so I can depend on you more. Remind me to praise you no matter what the circumstance. Thank you for Tom’s and Karen’s heart for orphaned children in the world. Help me not look past this real tragedy, Bless Children’s Hope Chest workers, and bring healing to children’s lives through this ministry. Thanks, Karen, for bringing this to so many people’s eyes this morning!

  13. My heart aches for all those left with so little hope. I’ve been thinking about this subject for a little while now and look forward to looking into Children’s Hope Chest.

  14. Heartbreaking to think of what these poor orphans go through. I’ll share this on all my SoMe sites and will copy to my blog – Karen, will give you credit, of course. Tom, I’ll go to your website as well. I can only imagine the horror these children face. So very sad.

  15. My hearts break for these victims. My youngest daughter is a gift to us from God and our little ‘China doll’. We adopted her when she was only 9 months old. I am so grateful to have her as a part of our family. It makes me think of all the children that are without families and can so easily become sex trafficking victims. Thank you for helping to bring this subject to light for many who are unaware that it even exists.

  16. I appreciate your blog so much! Me and my BFF are creating a not for profit that will raise funds to start aftercare facilities for those rescued. Thank you for bringing awareness to this important issue. I love what Tom said- WE are the answer!!

  17. The topic of your book really touched a chord with me. I just finished reading a book by David Baldacci, called, “The Innocent.” The story revolves around human trafficking for prostitution, labor, and even the taking of young siblings, to pose as families for easier air travel for members of terrorist groups. To read a work of supposed fiction and feel affected by it and then literally a few days later see your book summary and learn the validity behind it is overwhelming. I hope to read your book soon, and dig deeper into this growing epidemic. God bless you and all the lives you seek to help.

  18. Thanks for sharing this. Stories like these make me feel stirred and are very emotional. It feels good to know i still have Gods compassion. I would love to help and probably do something through my brothers church who support a group in this area. Also i am reminded of my first heart and desire to work with orphans. This heart came from two verses in the bible re helping the widowed and orphaned. I then started out qualifying in child care and now am full time mum to four children. So here’s looking forward to the plans if has for me despite my circumstances.
    I pray every blessing on you and the work you are doing. I am sure i have seen your book somewhere and would love to read it.
    Babs.

  19. What horrors are in this world. Immediately thought of my daughter and granddaughters. Our church library would be a good home for one of these.

  20. would love to read this book, although, I’m sure it will be through tears! These stories break my heart! Overwhelming statistics!

  21. This is something that you know goes on, but it’s always so far away that you sometimes even forget it exists. So heart-wrenchingly sad. Can’t wrap my mind around it. How can people be so cruel and heartless? Just another story that proves how sin destroys even the smallest hint of good in people….Oh Lord, help us, Your children to remember these precious souls that are in need, in need of Your love, Your touch, Your healing, Your arms, Your protection, in need of YOU. May we truly be YOU to those that so desperately need all that you can give them in their lives…..

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