Monday, March 11, 2013

The Value of a Daughter

"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." Psalm 24:1
I am convinced that nothing causes more grief to the heart of Jesus than when a young child is brutally stripped of their purity, left broken and trembling, reduced to nothing more than object. It happens every day, in every country (including ours). I think it is the ultimate expression of evil, and the ultimate satisfaction for Satan when innocence is corrupted at the hands of greed and sick, twisted desire.

Absolutely nothing in world news breaks my heart more than the knowledge that, daily, hundreds of thousands of children are kidnapped or tricked into slavery, forced to endure beatings and worse as they are locked into dirty brothels to suit the fancies of wealthy, disgusting patrons. These precious children are often drugged to induce compliance, which eventually results in dependence on the brothel owners. As a result, even when they are allowed the "freedom" to venture outside the walls of their prisons, they no longer run because they cannot escape the prison of addiction to the chemicals they have been force fed.

In the book "Half the Sky," journalists and authors Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn make the case that prevention is far more effective than rescue from trafficking and slavery. Wess Stafford makes the same argument in his book "Too Small to Ignore." In fact, I think we all are familiar with Benjamin Franklin's fire-fighting advice, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

That's where we come in! It seems so overwhelming when you hear the statistics, which range from estimates of 3 to 27 million children (young children and teenagers) enslaved in brothels, depending on the source of the data. But, consider this...the Pew Research Center found that, in 2010, United States citizens identifying themselves as Christians numbered greater than 246 million. That is nine times as many Christians as the high-end estimate of trafficked children. Imagine, then, if a 10th of all people identifying themselves as Christians in the United States sponsored a child... Could we make the enslavement of children for such sick, disgusting, evil purposes a distant memory?

Because, like it or not, a lot of what the problem can be reduced to is desperation... Families in poverty are desperate, and girls are often expendable. In some cases parents knowingly sell their girls to brothel owners, while in other cases they send their girls off to what they believe will be respectable jobs, where "friends" and relatives end up selling the girls. Sometimes the parents know but lack the resources to track their daughters. Sometimes the girls just disappear and the parents never know. Either way, if their daughters were MORE VALUABLE AT HOME THAN IN A BROTHEL, much of these types of transactions could be avoided. IF the daughters HAVE A VOICE and some PROTECTION, they may be saved.

How to raise the value of a daughter? Educate her. Provide her with knowledge of her own self-worth, her value in the eyes of Christ. Develop a skill that she can leverage for her benefit--that will make her a source of pride for her family, as well as a source of income. Women worldwide prove that they are capable, resourceful, and hard workers when given education and half a chance for success. When fathers and mothers can see the value and the necessity of their female children for the survival of their families, they are more likely to step up and protect them. If female children are worth enough at home as to be prohibitively expensive for brothel owners, there will be fewer bought and sold.

Hope. We have hope. These children have hope. We can give hope to at-risk children by sponsoring them so that they can build value in the eyes of their families and communities. We can teach young women that they have value beyond their bodies in the heart of Christ. We can teach young men that women of all castes deserve respect and dignity and love. Jesus did not believe in disposable humans. Neither do I.

My mom shared the following Hawaiin parable with me, which I recently read again in "Half the Sky"... I thought I'd share it with you, here...
A man goes out on the beach and sees that it is covered with starfish that have washed up in the tide. A little boy is walking along, picking them up and throwing them back into the water. "What are you doing, son?" the man asks. "You see how many starfish there are? You'll never make a difference." The boy paused thoughtfully, and picked up another starfish and threw it into the ocean. "It sure made a difference to that one," he said.
Please...consider sponsoring an at-risk child today. GET ANGRY. The things happening to these precious children of God are despicable and inexcusable. You can make a difference to one, and one can make a difference to many.


  1. The little girl you posted a picture of up at the top is at the same center as my little girl Shathi. I know because the picture is taken right in front of that same building. It breaks my heart, as there are holes in that building.

    Great post. WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Even if the difference is small and to some undetectable, EVERY SINGLE DAY we are making impressions on people. We are, or aren't, acting as lights in a dark world. So let us not say, "I can't do anything about it...I'm just one person!" Everything that has been done has started with one person.

    Great, great post. :-)

    1. Oh Hannah, that is so neat! I chose her because she is in an area at high risk for exploitation. These girls tug at my heart.

      Thank you for the blessing of your comment. I hope that this post touches someone and moves them closer to action!