We all bear the burden of the knowledge of the difference between good and evil.  Recently a man more experienced, and more knowledgeable than me said that this subject is too much for many readers; that people will simply turn away rather than looking at the ugly truth.  He said that the word SLAVERY will turn readers away; some will even claim to believe that slavery has been long abolished.   When the phrase is expanded to read SEX SLAVERY even more will turn away and finally when we get down to the fact that we are actually dealing with CHILD SEX SLAVERY, many people, even good Rotarians, will be so repulsed they will not be able to read more.  Please remember this:  Apathy and fear and the real enemies when it comes to child safety, health and education.
 
Thank you for continuing with this article.  Actually we will be concentrating on positive actions; solutions are always more palatable than problems. My hope is that Rotarians who read this choose to become more involved and non-Rotarians see another reason to affiliate with our organization.  An amazing amount of good can be accomplished through Rotary.  There are also many good people doing great work outside of Rotary. When we all do a little (some I know do much more than others and that’s fine)  the results are truly amazing.  The title "End Slavery Now"! is strong and ambitious.  That said, if WE ALL do something now, if WE ALL continue to fight slavery through awareness building and taking action WE CAN certainly make a positive difference. 
 
Actions taken to stop slavery, including child sex slavery come in two categories:
  1. Intervention is the work of the police and various other organizations.  They are working to arrest offenders and rescue victims.  The work they do is difficult and often dangerous.  Intervention is outside the scope of this paper.
  2. Prevention is the work of those who are involved in educating potential victims, their families and their communities.   Success at this level means that a child is never abducted and or sold into slavery.   Repulsive as it is, we must realize that slavery is a business.  People are commodities who generate income for the slave masters.  Its supply and demand;  demand is on the rise, especially in South East Asia, in particular in Myanmar where money is pouring in at unprecedented rates.  The prevention work is aimed at reducing the supply.
Yesterday there was an orientation given to several young people involved with Project Starfish. PP David Black made the point that it is possible to end slavery in the life time of these young people.   Together we can change the world, Rotary can help!
 
ROTARIANS:  We have an amazing network of people around the world with a common passion, put an end to slavery!   In my limited research I’ve discovered:
The Rotary Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS).   This group was formerly called The Rotary Action Group Against Child Slavery (RAGACS).  Their website http://ragas.online/ contains a wealth of information and an opportunity to join the group.   The headline on their front page reads: 
“Slavery is Illegal Everywhere, yet……..
“46 Million are enslaved, some less than 4 years old. Get Engage NOW”
 
At Discussion Groups on myrotary.org is a discussion group called “End Human Trafficking Discussion Group”.   Interesting posts of recent include an offer to join a candlelight vigil at the 2017 Rotary International Convention,  and Project Starfish.
 
The Rotaract Club of Dunedin, New Zealand is working with Project Starfish to raise awareness and funds for stateless children in northern Thailand that are at risk of being caught in slavery situations, especially in brothels. More information at:  rotaractforprojectstarfish.weebly.com/  and  https://www.facebook.com/rotaractforprojectstarfish/
You certainly know the Starfish approach:   Save one at a time. 
 
There are several great organizations doing great work to further Child Safety, Health and Education. A few of which I am aware include:
 
  • Mae Tao Clinic.   Their Child Protection Department is focused on prevention. CMIRC is an avid supporter of this fine organization. 
  • Rescue Mission for Children (RM4C)  We visited yesterday and found a small passionate group of dedicated professionals.  They currently are caring for 35 children, all of whom are in school.  RM4C is currently undergoing an evolution.  
  • Toys for Thailand supports the education, welfare and greater awareness of hill tribe children living in under served schools in northern Thailand.
If everyone who reads this article were to choose just one of these organizations and provide some support, collectively we will have made significant progress!!
 
The current plan is for CMIRC to have a projects booth at the 2017 Rotary International Convention.   We are told it will be near the RAGAS booth.   Our hope is that you will drop by and regale your tales of Child Safety, Health and Education.   Your good work will matter.  After all it’s one child at a time.
 
 
 
 
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