When Evil Prevails. . .

DSC_0419“All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.”

I first heard this quote when teaching the play, The Diary of Anne Frank, to eighth graders at Greenwood Middle School. Nineteenth century British statesman Edmund Burke’s observation certainly applied to Hitler’s regime and the Holocaust of the 30’s and 40’s.

This same idea of doing nothing haunts me now when I think about human trafficking. In the areas where CGI works, it is very common for families, mothers and fathers to traffick their daughters in order to put food on the table. As CGI president and founder Chris Alexander often notes, “Most of the world is just one crisis away from making a bad decision.”

The above photo was taken outside a Beer Garden/Karaoke Bar in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Though these girls seem “of age”, CGI has seen girls as young as 5-years-old being exploited for sex.

The United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Trafficking (UN-GIFT) estimates that 2.5 million people worldwide are in forced labor (including sexual exploitation) with 56% happening in Asian and Pacific countries.

Meet the victims:

• The majority of trafficking victims are between 18 and 24 years of age.

• An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked each year.

• 95% of victims experienced physical or sexual violence during trafficking (based on data from selected European countries).

• 43% of victims are used for forced commercial sexual exploitation, with 98 per cent women and girls.

• 32% of victims are used for forced economic exploitation, of whom 56 per cent are women and girls.

• Many trafficking victims have at least middle-level education

Let’s not be guilty of walking by the problem and looking the other way.

By Joyce Long / photo: Jocelyn Post

Fighting for Their Smiles

DSCN1183My name is Vanessa Alexander. I’m a sophomore at the University of Indianapolis studying Social Work with a minor in Child and Youth Programs.  About six years ago my life was changed when I was exposed to the injustice of human trafficking.  Since then I have been blessed to have some awesome experiences that have grown my passion for fighting this injustice.  In high school I wanted to be a fashion designer, but as my dad opened my eyes to the horrors of this injustice, proving that something could be done, I decided to rethink how to spend my life.

When my dad founded Center for Global Impact (CGI), God started an amazing work. Two summers ago I had the opportunity to travel with CGI on a vision trip to Cambodia. My heart was filled with joy as I saw the faces of the precious young girls and sweet women working at seamstress workshops.  It once again solidified that I knew God was calling me to fight for their smiles!  In the past two years, I unfortunately haven’t been able to return to Cambodia but have been blessed to still stay connected with CGI.  Now I spend a few hours each week working in the CGI office.  Let me tell you…I LOVE IT! I have learned so much.

KEYS PictureMy best friend Lindsey has the same heart for the impoverished suffering from injustice. She also traveled to Cambodia whenI went two summers ago.  God grew our friendship and our passions in a way that prepared us to come to the University of Indianapolis as advocates against human trafficking.  Little did we know God was also working in five other students. Our paths soon crossed. Because of our passion about raising awareness for human trafficking, we decided to start Keys, a registered UIndy student organization focused on the injustice of human trafficking. So far we’ve shared what human trafficking means in each dormitory as well as selling byTavi products! Next semester I hope to be a “Campus Rep” for CGI, which will allow me to help more people get involved in fighting human trafficking.

As I reflect on the last few years, I realize how God has changed me, but never would I have expected Him to open so many doors. Human trafficking has recently become a hot topic. Yet, I think about how many people said, “No, I don’t know what it is.” I know I am not the only twenty-year-old who is hungry to make a difference. Sometimes it’s just hard to see that a difference can be made with statistics like twenty-seven million people currently trapped in slavery. CGI is making that number not look so daunting.  I know specific names of women and young girls who are having their lives changed. That is why I want to devote my life to fighting for these girls.  This year my goal is to make it known that YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  It doesn’t matter if you are only 20 years old. You can change the world.

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 4:1

A Future of Hope

photo (1)When I was at the workshop yesterday, Sokheng (the older woman seated on the left) asked if her two nieces and their cousin could be included in the byTavi program.  I told her she should ask Nary, who had already sent her to me.  This led to the three of us, plus Vibol, sitting down to talk.  Apparently all three girls arrived from the countryside on Monday.  They were sent to the city by family to stay with Sokheng and work in a factory.  Both Sokheng and Nary fear that without a safe network these girls will be taken advantage of by factory supervisors.  The girls are not here by their choice.  They are petrified, and they do not want to work at the factory.  The youngest is 16.  Knowing the risk Sokheng and Nary asked if they could be a part of byTavi.  Long story short, we now have three new seamstresses-in-training.

In many ways this story represents why byTavi exists.  We can help these girls and create a situation where they can help their families.  We can prevent them being forced into a high-risk situation and place them in a healthy multi-generational, Christ-centered environment.  The future for these three girls is now full of hope and potential.
Until ALL have heard,

For Just One


While in Cambodia, I was reminded of the impact this country and its people can have on you. There is such great need everywhere you look. The needs can be overwhelming.  However, I have to constantly remind myself that while we can’t help everyone, we can help some. So we do.

There’s a story told of a boy who is walking along a beach where thousands of starfish have washed up and are dying. The boy is picking up starfish and throwing them back in the ocean to save their lives. Someone comes to the boy and questions why he is even trying, he can’t come close to making a difference and saving all the starfish. The boy picks up a starfish and says, “I’m making a huge difference for this one” and he throws the starfish back in the ocean.

That story is most often told to show the impact of making a difference for just one life. But I think a better application for that story may be to ask – why are more people not out on that beach helping the boy to throw the starfish back in the ocean?

I’ve been wrestling with God a bit. . . He has been asking me what I am clinging to that is preventing me from fully giving myself to Him. What am I clinging to that is preventing me from being on that beach and fully devoting myself to throwing back those starfish?  Philippians 2:6 tells me that Jesus did not cling to His equality with God but rather emptied himself and became a servant of all. I’m confident that the things I’m clinging to (pride, comfort, fear, etc.) pale in comparison to equality with God. Yet why do I seem cling so tightly?!?

I know I need to be on that beach fully engaged in ‘throwing back those starfish’ that God has called me to serve. How about you?

by Nathan Cecil, written January 2012

photo by Alex Overhiser, March 2012