U.S. Congressmen celebrating 20 years of opposition to sex slavery, India declines visa

Ladies and Gentlemen!

It is time to celebrate and let me tell you why. Our dear friends at the Bombay Teen Challenge have just celebrated 20 years of rescuing women and girls from sexual slavery in India.Since, 1990 when K.K. Deveraj first began rescuing young girls who would otherwise have been sold into sexual slavery, Bombay Teen Challenge has saved hundreds of lives from bondage to the sex industry. That bondage takes many forms whether the literal chains and cages in Kamathipura, the hellish red-light district in Mumbai, India, chemical bondage to drugs, or the invisible cage of an unjust and undeserved social stigma.

In the beginning, Deveraj placed the girls that he had rescued into Jubilee Homes, and there are now four Jubilee Homes caring for rescued daughters of prostitutes including those with HIV. There is even a shelter within the Kamathipura district itself. The extensive work of our partner also operates a small “village” known as Ashagram, which means village of hope. But the extremely lucrative nature of the sex slave trade in India means that they can never hope to rescue more than a fraction of slaves from a lifetime of horror into a new life living in the mercy and grace of God.

Praying Child (india)
Child from shelter home in Kamathipura praying during a Jubilee Campaign visit

Bombay Teen Challenge has declared that enslavement of women and girls cannot continue, and they have used the attention garnered by their 20th anniversary to launch a new campaign, Stop Sexual Slavery. It is simple and to the point and absolutely necessary to save the countless thousands for whom suffering daily brutality is their lives.

The fundamental wrongness of the brutal suffering many girls and young women endure reaches out and grips us all, and that is the desperate importance of this campaign, and why we at Jubilee Campaign are fully behind this campaign launched by Bombay Teen Challenge.
We encourage you all to go to their new site SupportSSS.com. We encourage you to donate or buy the beautiful worked leather goods, that these valiant survivors have made. Similar leather goods as well as some beautiful jewelry also made by these women can be purchased at our site Jubileecampaign.com.

But above all we urge you to pray for India, for their lawmakers and politicians who tolerate this practice, for those like Deveraj who are rescuing the weak, and for the sex slaves themselves who most desperately need the love and power of our God. In an effort to quash outside attention during the 20 year anniversary celebrations, India declined to issue a visit visa to U.S. Congressman Todd Akin, a personal supporter of the Jubilee Homes and Devaraj since he visited them in 2005. Their press release on the subject is below.

in HIS grace,

Ann Buwalda
Executive Director
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DeverajPhoto shows K.K. Deveraj and Congressman Todd Akin


For Immediate Release Contact: Bethany Haley or Ben Carnes at 202-225-4576

 

Franks and Akin Commemorate 20th Anniversary of Bombay Teen Challenge

November 8, 2010 – Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02) and Todd Akin (MO-02) today issued the following statement in recognition of the 20th anniversary of the Bombay Teen Challenge (BTC), a human rights organization dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating vulnerable children in danger of being abused, exploited, or enslaved in sex trafficking; abandoned, orphaned, or HIV-positive children; and women trapped in prostitution or addicted to drugs and alcohol. The Congressmen were joined by Reps. Joe Pitts (PA-16), Chris Smith (NJ-04), and Frank Wolf (VA-10) in sending the attached letter congratulating BTC on its 20 years of invaluable service.

“After visiting Bombay Teen Challenge myself and witnessing their amazing program firsthand, I have been deeply touched to meet several of the innumerable precious souls whose lives have been transformed and made whole again by the work of this remarkable organization.” Franks stated. “K.K. Devaraj’s commitment to rescue, love, and rehabilitate those whom the world might otherwise ignore or forget has made an eternal difference in the lives of countless children who were given healing and a deep, unwavering hope that was previously absent in their lives. Bombay Teen Challenge should serve as an inspiration to all of us and a model to those who might doubt how great a difference a single life can make, when it is lived in service to others.”

Akin stated, “Bombay Teen Challenge is one of the most outstanding ministries that has ever come to our attention. They are people who have by their good work shown tremendous love and concern. They have shown tremendous courage in defending the rights of children and women to be free from those who would exploit them. Bombay Teen Challenge is a very bright spot in this region of India and deserves the full support of the true friends of freedom.”

Estimates place the number of children in India who suffer from commercial sexual abuse between 300,000 and 500,000. Approximately 20,000, or 20%, of women in prostitution in Mumbai are under the age of 18. The Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA) states that approximately 200 girls and women in India enter prostitution every day, with about 80% doing so against their will, and with girls between the ages of 10-12 receiving the highest price. In Mumbai, India, it is estimated that 90% of the 100,000 women in prostitution are indentured slaves. At the current rate of growth, it is estimated that one out of every five Indian girls will be a victim of sexual slavery by the year 2025.

Bombay Teen Challenge (BTC) was established in 1990 in Mumbai, (Bombay) India by K.K. Devaraj to reach the poorest of the poor who roamed the streets of Bombay. It has evolved into an organization that rescues sex slaves in the brothels of Mumbai, caring for the victims and their children, and provides a safe house for the children of sex slaves, juveniles roaming the streets, addicts and runaways.  The BTC is furthermore committed to holistically meeting the needs of victims by satisfying their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs: the organization establishes  medical clinics within the red light district, distributes food to the hungry on the streets of Mumbai, and provides day schools to the street children and homes outside of Mumbai for the men, women, and children who are rescued.

 

 

Congressman Franks is serving his fourth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and is a member of the Committee on Armed Services, Strategic Forces Subcommittee, Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee, Military Readiness Subcommittee, Committee on the Judiciary, Constitution Subcommittee, and is Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law.

Chen Guangcheng Still under House Arrest

We thank all of you for your support over the last several years as we have advocated for the release of Chen Guangcheng and we thank God that he was finally released from prison, and reunited with his family in early September.

However, he remains under house arrest in terrible conditions. According to the China Aid Association, State Security has prevented anyone in his family from leaving their house even to get groceries. It is harvest time in China and they refuse to let anyone go out into the fields except Chen’s mother, who is in her late seventies. Most seriously, Chen is in very poor health and should be in the hospital, but the Chinese government was refusing to grant him basic medical care as of September 23rd.

Since September 23rd when a family friend was able to contact them, there has been a complete information blackout on Chen Guangcheng’s situation. We have no reason to believe that he has been moved from his house but with his worsening health and inability to communicate with the outside world we simply do not know.

Late in October, a dozen members of the US Congress sent a letter to the US Ambassador to China asking him to send a Embassy official to check on the conditions under which Chen Guangchen is being held. It is reassuring to know that official attention is being given to the case of this valiant defender of human rights. We hope to have more news soon and will keep you informed.

The latest press releases can be found on the China Aid Association’s website here
The Congressional letter can be found here

UN Defamation Resolution Threatens Freedom of Religion

Over the past decade several actors on the UN scene have been passing resolutions against “Defamation of Religion.” These resolutions condemn anything which offends “religious sensibilities” as racism and hate-speech. Unfortunately the resolutions provide support for blasphemy and similar laws, like the ones which have been used to brutally suppress dissent and religious minorities in Pakistan, Egypt, Iran and elsewhere.

Not content with passing non-binding resolutions, the Defamation bloc is attempting to redefine international treaties to make this legal concept binding across the world. The treaty provisions in focus are Articles 19 and 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which calls for governments to protect against “incitement.” This would set up a conflict between the freedoms of speech and religion, and a concept of ‘human rights’ that includes being free from ‘defamation of religion’. Religious ideas would be protected instead of people.  One religion would be protected from the expression of contrary views instead of victims of aggression and violence. If this pseudo-legal concept becomes enshrined in international law it could have devastating effects on the freedom of religion and the spread of the gospel all over the world.

Jubilee Campaign remains strongly committed to religious freedom and to the minorities who are always the first to suffer when religious freedom is curtailed. Because of that we are glad to join with Alliance Defense Fund and several other Christian NGOs in asking the UN to protect helpless religious minorities not the entrenched interests who will be the only beneficiaries of a global blasphemy law.

The ADF news release is below with links to the consultation paper which Jubilee Campaign contributed to. We hope that you will be praying and that you stay informed on this critical issue for religious freedom the world over.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ADF joins other groups to urge United Nations to protect religious expression in civil rights covenant
Christian groups submit paper expressing concern over any reinterpretations that could silence religious speech
Tuesday, October 05, 2010

UNITED NATIONS – The Alliance Defense Fund together with several other Christian groups submitted a consultation paper Thursday to a United Nations human rights body urging it not to reinterpret language in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in a way that could turn Christian speech into “hate speech.”  Christian Legal Fellowship, Jubilee Campaign, World Evangelical Alliance, and Advocates International joined the ADF paper.

“Christians should not be punished for expressing their beliefs. A novel reinterpretation of language in the convention–by those charged with safeguarding it–would endanger that type of free religious speech,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Piero Tozzi. “What’s at stake here is the ability of Christians to be able to share freely their belief that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation without fear of reprisal by any government that has signed on to this covenant.”

Every year at the United Nations, a so-called “defamation of religion” resolution is introduced at the General Assembly that critics regard as an attempt to muzzle evangelization. They see review of the language of the ICCPR as a related attempt to advance that agenda.

The paper, submitted by ADF attorneys at the invitation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, expresses concern that language used to describe the goals of the review process differs from actual language in the ICCPR and sets up a potential clash between “hate speech” and freedom of speech.

“[Our] fear is that this change…would ‘stack the deck’ in favor of a conclusion in favor of vague ‘hate speech’ codes–or its kin, ‘defamation of religion’-type persecutions–that will result in restrictions upon legitimate freedom of expression and upon the ability of minority groups to challenge reigning religious and political orthodoxies,” the paper states. “In other words, if the issue to be examined is defined as ‘the prohibition of incitement to national, racial or religious hatred’ in the abstract and without reference to the incitement of violence, then one sets up an unwarranted and counter-productive clash between ‘hate speech’ codes and ‘freedom of expression.'”

The paper concludes by urging the human rights body to protect religious expression, interpret “incitement” in a manner that protects religious minorities from “actual, imminent harm,” and reject the call for vague “hate speech” codes that penalize speech that merely makes the listener uncomfortable.

In July, the United Nations granted ADF special consultative status, which allows ADF attorneys to attend and intervene at treaty and convention drafting meetings and help craft language that affirms religious freedom, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

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