Thursday, August 9, 2012

Factories That Bring Freedom, Love and Empowerment



Girls rescued from the horrors of child sex trafficking find healing and value through holistic aftercare.  However, when reintegrated into their communities most people will believe the cultural lie that these girls are trash, less than worthless.  There is one way to overcome the stigma of being abused...It’s having a good job where a young woman can support herself and help support her family.  AIM’s new Agape Training Center provides that and much more.  The following video gives you a look at an average day at ATC.



Coming August 15th the 3Strands brand produced at the ATC.  Details coming next week.




Tuesday, July 31, 2012

AIM Expands into USA Aftercare

With God's help, great partners, and outstanding staff we at AIM seek to take the lessons of aftercare in Cambodia and apply them in the US.  Below you'll find an overview of what's happening and a little insight into the godly women chosen to lead our expansion.


Agape International Missions (AIM) announces it’s official expansion into the United States with aftercare program development and training.

AIM has fought sex trafficking with projects in Cambodia since 2006. Now, licensed psychologist, Dr. Becca Johnson, has stepped in as Director of US Aftercare, a new position within the international organization. Dr. Johnson will be ushering AIM into a new phase of US aftercare with the first US project in Sacramento, California. This project will be a collaboration between City of Refuge/Rahab’s House Sacramento, Koinonia Foster Homes/Safe Families, Agape International Missions (AIM), and the local church to provide sustainable aftercare for victims.

Over the last three years, law enforcement has rescued over two hundred minor victims of in the Sacramento area. This need cannot be met with the group home model alone with the expensive operating costs. The collaboration’s goal is to provide quality aftercare for rescued victims of sex trafficking. This will be achieved through a partnership whereby church families will be recruited to open their homes to a rescued victim. The families will be screened by Koinonia/Safe Families, the identification and stabilization of victims by City of Refuge, and the training and equipping of receiving families as well as assessment measures and treatment planning of victims will be provided by Agape International Mission’s Dr. Becca Johnson. All three organizations will be involved in providing ongoing support for the families and victims.

Becca has provided counseling and evaluation services as a licensed psychologist for over 20 years. Her training and consulting in the area of human trafficking, trauma and trauma restoration has taken her all over the world including India, Kenya, Guatemala, Chile, Brazil, Korea, Australia and, most notably for AIM, Cambodia. Becca also provides trauma and trauma counseling training related to sexual abuse and exploitation for various domestic anti-sex trafficking organizations in the USA.
Her relationship with AIM began in 2006 when Dr. Johnson gave a seminar in Cambodia. She was approached by Agape International Missions to help develop the counseling program for Agape Restoration Center (ARC), an aftercare facility for young girls rescued from sex trafficking. Her training for AIM’s counseling staff has shaped their successful, existing counseling program. Becca will continue to provide supervision to AIM’s counselors in Cambodia.

“I have worked with and been exposed to various anti-trafficking organizations in the US and around the world. I consider AIM to be one of the best,” says Dr. Johnson. “They seek to meet the holistic needs of everyone they touch. They demonstrate genuine, unconditional love and acceptance. They are making a difference and not limiting God.”

Becca and her husband of 25 years, Lloyd, served as missionaries in Chile and New Zealand. They and their four children currently reside in Washington state. Dr. Johnson says, “My goal is to ‘Help the Hurting Heal with God’s Hope’, yet in recent year’s, God has been using me to also ‘Help the Helper’s Help’. I consider it an honor to serve Him and to be part of the AIM team.”

July 24, 2012


AIM’s PROJECT EXPANSION TO THE UNITED STATES WITH NEW DIRECTOR

Thursday, July 26, 2012



God continues blessing AIM in great ways by providing outstanding people to serve  with us.  Laura Linner is the latest example.  The following formal announcement gives you some of the details, but sadly cannot reveal her heart for Christ and the girls she serves.  Please join me in welcoming Laura and praying for her as she prepares to take on this new challenge.

Agape International Missions (AIM) welcomes Laura Linner as the new Director of Rahab’s House Community Center in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Agape International Missions has fought sex trafficking with projects in Cambodia since 2006. Their first Community Center project, Rahab’s House Svay Pak (RHSP), began in 2007 by building relationships and meeting needs within the community of Svay Pak which had been ravaged by child sex trafficking in brothels. The result was an unprecedented transformation of the community.
Successful expansion into the city of Siem Reap with a new Rahab’s House community center began in late 2011 by AIM volunteer American staff, Steve and Lygia Gherebean. Instead of children held in brothels, sex trafficking in Siem Reap is perpetuated in the Karaoke Bars where young women are chosen and then taken off the premises. In many ways, this method is more psychologically traumatic because the bondage is more difficult for the women to see and escape.
According to Ms. Linner, “Rahab’s House Siem Reap aims to create an environment where victims can be saturated with the presence of Jesus that can bring healing and hope.”
Laura has a degree in social work from Bethel University in her home state, Minnesota. She spent the last year working in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia, teaching English and doing outreach at Rahab’s House Svay Pak.
“My heart truly connected with the children and young women coming out of this horrific situation when I held the hand of a traumatized girl and realized I could have been her,” she said. “We are not intrinsically different. Yes, we have had different experiences but we are both daughters of the King, created to know Him and know who we are in Him.”
She will be overseeing staff for counseling, education and outreach at Rahab’s House Siem Reap.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Question From a Rescued Victim of Child Sex Traficking


This week has been a great one as weeks go, that is when it comes to rescuing victims of child sex trafficking in Svay Pak, Cambodia.  Two from a brothel, one from a karaoke club, and one from a virgin sale.  We thank God for the success He gave us.  One of the rescued victims had a question for me…"What is the vision for your ministry in Cambodia?  All the foreign men we know come to hurt Cambodian girls, not help them."

Her question and statement reflect the intelligence, courage, and resilience of these horribly abused girls.  And sadly they are a reflection on we men.  Foreign men in Cambodia, men around the world, it's time for us to choose whom we will serve. To quote Bob Dylan…

You may be a construction worker working on a home
You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome
You might own guns and you might even own tanks
You might be somebody’s landlord, you might even own banks


But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You’re gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

Please pray for the restoration of these girls, that the actions of foreign men in Cambodia will change girls'  perception of us, and for me that in the hundreds of choices I make each day I choose to serve the Lord.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pray for Cambodia's Powerless Prime Minister Hun Sen



Pray for Prime Minister Hun Sen
Most Cambodians think of Prime Minister Hun Sen as a very powerful man, but they are misled.  Mr. Hun Sen is too weak to protect the children of Cambodia.  Let me be clear, this is not my opinion, it is fact.  It is a fact supported by a number of incidents we have experienced personally living in the village of Svay Pak.  The following happened just last week.  Again, this is not an aberration, but rather the norm.
Many people, including Cambodia’s Anti-trafficking Police, know that Svay Pak is a place where child sex trafficking flourishes. Living and working in Svay Pak, we see much of what is happening first hand, and hear even more from the residents we serve.  Last week we were able to obtain detailed information about a girl being held as a sex slave in a provincial brothel.  When I say detailed I mean photos of the girl, her trafficker, a holding house through which she (and many other girls) were trafficked, the moto dop who drove her there, and the location of the brothel in which she was being held captive.
We passed this information on to an anti-trafficking NGO who took immediate action.  Their investigators went to the brothel posing as customers and were able to get video confirmation of the information we provided them.  They took this information to the local prosecutor and top local police officials.  They all met privately away from the police station, afraid there might be a leak and the brothel owner tipped off.  The prosecutor and police officials agreed they must act at once and a plan to rescue several enslaved girls was set to take place in a few hours.  
All good, right?  Wrong!  Prior to the planned rescued, two uniformed police officers went to the brothel and tipped off the owner who immediately removed the girls and hid them in another location.  The result is that the girls are still enslaved and abused.  There was a minor interruption in the brothel owners sex trade, but there is greater hopelessness for the enslaved victims of child sex trafficking who long to see their abusers brought to justice.  
Periodically you may read of a successful rescue of child sex slaves.  Don’t be misled because that’s the exception, not the rule.  The rule is what you’ve just read.  Today we have information that could lead to the rescue of dozens of child sex slaves and the imprisonment of their traffickers and abusers.  But that information is useless until Prime Minister Hun Sen is obtains the power to protect the children of Cambodia.  Please join me in prayer for him as every day he remains powerless more Cambodian children are enslaved and abused.
Don Brewster
Svay Pak, Cambodia
012-318-980




Saturday, February 25, 2012

IMAGINE...


Imagine self-sustaining employment that brings hope and removes the stigma from survivors of sex trafficking in Cambodia.  
Today’s garment factory workers in Cambodia work ten hours a day, six or seven days a week, earning about $60 a month.  Not enough to support themselves, let alone meet their cultural responsibility to help support aging parents and younger siblings.  
Imagine a factory where the girls work five, eight hour days a week.  And of those eight hours, one and a half are spent in academic studies.  A factory where every worker receives health insurance.  A factory where workers earn between $150 and $200 a month.  
Imagine no more, it’s a coming reality.  Check out the video below and see how it’s happening...

video



Friday, January 27, 2012

The Road from Victim to Victory

On a recent trip to the state of Washington we were blessed to hear a poem written by a young women that very accurately expresses the feelings of a sex trafficking victim become victor.  Please share this moving poem that brings both awareness and hope...


"In A City With No Hope" 
     by Linzie Joerres

 "There's a girl who's all alone
in a city with no hope
All around her, girls are dying,
she sees it and she's crying
'cause it all started with their trying
to find a better world than the ones they'd always known.

She sits alone on the damp floor in the looming dark.
Her face has gotten hard and dull and painfully stark.
Her heart is growing cold here
as she fights the fear of growing old here,
forever trapped here in these walls, in this cage.
She fights the rage.

She was lied to and deceived
by the hope of something more.
She was tricked into believing
that there was something worth fighting for.

The woman and man,
they opened up their hands to her,
promised life to her dreams,
made her think that these things
were obtainable, reachable,
but as she reached, the shackles came down on her hands,
and all of her plans
went up in smoke as they forced her to smoke
to get her addicted.
Her life thus far has been depicted as
Pain.

All of her life's gains
are now worthless, pointless.
There's no point to her life,
in her darkness there's no light,
but in spite of the disappointment and pain,
stepping out of doubt's rain,
one flame of hope is sparked
inside her heart
and her mind starts spinning.
Maybe there's a chance of winning
the freedom she's been longing for, striving for, dying for, grasping,

Now she's clasping the hands of a man who's faceless, nameless, 9th man today,
meaningless in this seemingly endless display of insanity.
She's trying to keep her sanity as he's screaming profanities at her
because she doesn't please him.

She doesn't want to appease him
'cause she's frightened
that it will bite her, too,
this bug that's killing the others,
but it doesn't bother
or concern the man who's plan is just satisfaction
from her actions.

He doesn't have to use protection,
there's no protection for this girl in a city
where no one's going to pity her, save her.
She's got no saviour,
just accusers who want to use her
as an object for their pleasure.
She doesn't know that she's really a treasure
that should be guarded, secured, protected.
There's no protection for this girl in a city with no hope.

Her body
 is racked with pain
from thousands of beatings
Scars eating
away at her soul and her back
reminders of the lashes received
When she fought back
rolling and thrashing
around on the floor.
Now weak
She can’t fight this war anymore
She’s trying to think rationally, to think clearly,
But clearly, she’s become
A casualty

There's a knock at the door,
she gets up from the floor,
bracing herself for more.
She wishes it were over and done,
man number 12, the day's barely begun.
But this man doesn't have the same look in his eyes
as all the men who had come before,
all who shared a similar guise, before.

This man stretched out his hand
not to condemn her or harm her,
but to disarm her doubt.
He told her he wasn't there about that.
He was there to save her,
to be her Saviour,
to show her a hope she had never known before.

She falls to the ground in shock and disbelief,
so afraid that once again she's being deceived.
He picks her up off the floor
where she fell down,
then walks out the door,
his voice in her ear
drowns out
all her fears and insecurities.
She finally has security and protection
because this bold man took action.
For her sake, he put his life at stake,
and for once in her life of trying and striving,
she's now thriving,
experiencing freedom and a life of HOPE."

Thursday, January 19, 2012

WHY DO I WORRY ABOUT POSTING PEDOPHILE PICTURES?

I only have one worry about posting pedophile pictures.  That worry is based upon the fact that we do it sporadically.  And the reason we only do it sporadically is that it is very difficult to get a good picture.  It’s not due to the lack of opportunity, foreign pedophiles come to Svay Pak daily shopping for children to abuse.  The difficulty is getting the picture of someone who does all he can not to be photographed.  So as you look at the picture below please remember dozens of men like him come shopping in Svay Pak every week.  And please pray for the success of our Cambodian staff as they are making a huge difference as fewer and fewer pedophiles are finding shopping in Svay Pak successful.