13 October 2015

House Visits and Thanksgiving

This past weekend Canada celebrated Thanksgiving, and since I am Canadian, I was thinking about all the items, corporal and spiritual, that I am grateful for.  The list was made even more discernable after visiting some of our participants’ houses last Friday.  Visiting the places where some of our ladies reside was thought provoking.  The house visits gave us the opportunity so see what the needs of our participants are first hand, thus ensuring that Bijlmer Bridge2Hope is better able work towards truly improving the needs of our ladies.

It was a privilege to be welcomed into the participants’ residences with open arms, a cup of tea or juice, and an openness and thankfulness expressed for the effects that they do have. 
We surely do live a life of privilege… many times we do not realize just how much we have, or how blessed we truly are.  Sometimes we fall into a pattern of looking at the negative side of life, seeing only the things in our house that need fixing, complaining about a lack of clothes when our wardrobe is full, or saying we need a new pair of shoes, even though we already have ten other pairs in the front hall, or looking in the fridge and seeing “nothing” to eat.

Looking at the circumstances of others definitely gives one a new perspective to think about when they feel themselves slipping into a negative pattern of thinking. We all, no matter our situations, have something to be thankful about.  I for one am thankful for the opportunity to work with our participants in Bijlmer Bridge2Hope.  They are beautiful individuals who teach me as much as I am hopefully teaching them…

07 October 2015

The Answer to the Question

Recently I have been (more than once) asked the question, “Is human trafficking really an issue in the Netherlands, or are you just using the term to illicit an emotional response for your project?”  I truly wish that I could say it is not an issue, but unfortunately human trafficking for sexual purposes does occur in the Netherlands, and worldwide--where you least expect it.   

On the website, Dutch news, I came across an article from 2 October, 2015 that got me thinking about how girls are lured into human trafficking rings, right here at home.  The article highlights research by the television show “Dit is de Dag”.  The show found that pimps have lured at least 76 girls, who were living in institutions for people with learning disabilities, into prostitution since 2013.  The sad fact is that the governmental human trafficking monitor believes that the real total is most likely far higher as most victims do not go to the police.[1]

These girls are not being trafficked from other countries, but are Dutch citizens being ensnared in a vicious circle of abuse right here in the Netherlands.  They are being preyed on because of their lack of understanding and mental innocence.  So to answer the question that I am often asked…Yes, human trafficking for sexual purposes IS an issue right here… at home…That is why programs like Bijlmer Bridge2Hope are needed.

Awareness of the issue is important: Be informed. Be compassionate, Be willing to help.