Happy 2013! I hope you've all had a wonderful holiday, and enjoyed your break - if you had one :)
I love the beginning of a new year, because it feels so much like a clean slate. This past year has been a big one for me; I've seen a lot of changes in my life (all good ones!) and there's going to be another change coming which will affect Esther's Ever After.
In the past year and half that I've been blogging, I've really come to love and appreciate the book blogging community. It has been so exciting and fun to discuss books with other readers, bloggers, authors, and publishers! But recently I have felt moved to do something more.
You may have heard me discuss some issues and causes I'm interested in, but for the most part I've stayed out of expressing my opinion. There is one cause I'm particularly passionate about and I've discovered and follow a number of organizations that deal with this problem. One of those organizations is The Exodus Road made up of a group of people working together to combat human trafficking (especially in SE Asia where it is notably prevalent).
|“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”|
― William Wilberforce
I think a lot of us have issues which are closer to our hearts; human trafficking is mine. While studying political science, I took a number of courses dealing with the concept of human rights. I even wrote a couple papers on human trafficking (mostly for the purposes of sex, but there are other types of trafficking as well). When I saw that The Exodus Road was looking for applications from bloggers to spread the word about their cause, I made the decision to apply even though Esther's Ever After has been dedicated to book blogging for the past year and a half.
I know that at first glance, this may seem kind of odd. There isn't much correlation between books and human trafficking. But human trafficking is a huge epidemic in the world right now, and it's something we all need to be educated on and there are so many little ways we can help. And friends, I want to do my part. What do you know about human trafficking?
- Did you know that there are 27 million modern day slaves? (This is what trafficking is, friends - modern day slavery)
- With the number of children being trafficked in the sex trade, it works out to every 60 seconds (1 MINUTE) a child is sold for sex worldwide
And for my lovely American friends...
These images are from CNN's The Freedom Project, where they share the facts about human trafficking which you can read about here.
Basically, this is a very long (I need to work on being more concise) way of saying there is going to be a slight change coming to the blog. Once or twice a month I'll be posting about The Exodus Road and their efforts. Exodus Road is involved by spreading awareness about the facts of human trafficking, but I greatly appreciate that they go further than that. The Exodus Road is a group of investigators who are actively rescuing victims of trafficking, actually bringing them out of brothels and also working to prosecute offenders legally. They have 15 investigators, 11 supported organizations, their own Field Director in SE Asia. Currently they have saved 622 victims and assisted with 348 prosecutions to date. They raise money to help provide covert equipment, fund travel and investigative costs, and provide support for the communities targeted by traffickers.
The Exodus Road: Fighting to End Child Slavery from Justin Lukasavige on Vimeo.
So what does this mean? This means once or twice a month I'll post about The Exodus Road's efforts and update you on what's going on. I'll let you know how you can help when fundraising efforts are going on. I'll be tweeting about this once in a while too. I'll share with you stories of rescued victims. But that's it. It isn't a big change, but I just wanted to explain why I'm doing this and what it means to me. I've seen what the blogging community can do when we rally together - I would love to see us talking about causes like this once in a while, and doing what we can to fight it.
If you'd like a taste of what to expect, you should check out Sarah's story - a girl who was rescued out of a brothel in Cambodia.
I'm not yet involved in any fundraising campaigns but if you would like to donate directly to The Exodus Road now, you can do so here. I'll never push anyone to do this, because our situations are all so different. Some of us choose to donate to other organizations or causes, or some of us just can't donate money. Sharing and spreading awareness is so important too! Or even just reading and giving up some of your time.
And this gets cooler - you can also back The Exodus Road by following them on Pure Charity. Pure Charity is a site where you can sign up to have your online purchases through certain stores contribute a small percentage of what you spend to projects, like The Exodus Road. It is so cool and so easy (and Sephora is on there so I am sold)!
You can find out more about the numbers The Exodus Road uses here where they explain what they're talking about.
I'd also encourage you to follow them on Twitter, so you can easily be updated with their news. Or if you prefer Facebook, you can like their page right here.
I know I have a voice, even if it doesn't seem that loud at times.