“Slave sale” Raises Awareness About Salvation Army’s Efforts to Combat Trafficking

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This post is being featured in recognition of White Ribbon Against Pornography Week (WRAP). This week is dedicated to raise public awareness about our culture’s pornography problem and it’s devastating affects to adults and children. The annual event creates a useful opportunity to also raise the issue of pornography within the Church, and to call all Christians to renewed lives of sexual purity and freedom. This year, the event will take place from October 27-November 3.

“Slave sale” in front of The Salvation Army to raise awareness of human trafficking.
Hundreds of commuters and tourists walking past The Salvation Army’s International Headquarters in central London on Friday were greeted with the sight of human ‘slaves’ being sold at a makeshift market stall.

It was, of course, not a real slave sale – it was an attempt to draw attention to the various ways in which people of all ages and backgrounds can be trafficked and forced to work for little or no pay, often under threat of violence.

The slave sale was organized by Salvation Army representatives from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland to highlight Anti-Slavery Day, which is marked in various ways across Europe on the 18th of October.

The Salvation Army in the UK works with the Government to support victims of human trafficking, providing secure accommodation when needed and care and support to meet the needs of this very vulnerable group of people in England and Wales. This is just one of many Salvation Army projects worldwide that address the causes and outcome of trafficking.

A pamphlet handed out to passers-by included stories of people helped by The Salvation Army and revealed that ‘in less than two years more than 800 victims of human trafficking have been supported by The Salvation Army and its partners’.
:: To find out more about anti-trafficking efforts around the world, please click here.:: Click here to learn about what’s being done to help victims of trafficking in the US. This post was originally featured on The Salvation Army Western Territory’s blog, Expect Change and was contributed by Kathy Lovin of The Salvation Army Western Territory.

Real Love Feels Safe: Domestic Abuse Services for Women Seeking Refuge

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It’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you know someone suffering violence, visit www.SalvationArmyUSA.org for information on Salvation Army shelters near you. 

BREVARD COUNTY, FLA – Janice’s* scar is still visible.
The large oval red mark is where her boyfriend bit her more than a month ago. The bite left her arm bruised – blue, purple and now slightly red.
On her nightstand is a copy of Comfort for the Troubled Christian, by JC Brumfield. Janice says she reads it every night as she tucks herself into a bunk bed at The Salvation Army’s Domestic Violence shelter in Brevard county.
“A friend on the bus gave it to me,” the 43-year-old said. “And I’ve been reading it ever since.”

Janice is one of more than a dozen women and families staying at the 20-bed domestic violence shelter. The shelter opened in 1981 and is one of three Salvation Army domestic violence shelters in the state.

Women and families who find refuge at the shelter are given life skills, attend group counseling sessions and leave empowered.
“Many of the women who come to us blame themselves,” said Cynthia Mitchell, executive director of the program. “We try to help them get control back.”

For the first time in a long time, shelter residents are given choices and given their power back, Mitchell said. Last year the shelter helped nearly 200 Brevard county women. Often the shelter is over capacity, when that happens, Mitchell said, staff members bring in air mattresses – everyone has a bed to sleep on and everyone is safe.

For women like Janice, often the abuse is cyclical. Domestic violence isn’t about finances, despite what people think, Mitchell said.
“It’s about power and control,” she explained. “Women come in to our shelter and they have had their spirit broken, they’ve been terrorized. We just reinforce to them that there is nothing wrong with them and that they are safe.”

For 32-year-old Susan*, the shelter has been a place of safety. Recently she checked in to the shelter for the second time.
The first time, in October 2012, her husband beat her, sent her to a local hospital and while in the emergency room he choked her until police arrived.

“He would have killed me,” Susan said.

On Friday she walked into the shelter again.

“I’ve probably been in a violent relationship my whole life,” she said. “Since childhood, I’ve probably been hit more than 400 times. I just got so used to it.”
The good days – the days when Susan’s husband wasn’t beating her, choking her or threatening her – were the days he was strung out on drugs or hung-over.

“Those were the best days,” she said. “Those were the days I knew I wasn’t going to get beat.”
Susan said her breaking point came when she was staying at another domestic violence shelter and her husband found her.

Student and survivor artwork line the common room at The Salvation Army’s Domestic Violence shelter in Brevard county, Florida.

“But this place,” she said looking around her room, “this place has saved my life.”

Student and survivor artwork line the shelter common room. Artwork with words like “Real Love Feels Safe,” “Be Proud of Yourself” and “No More Tears, The Pain is Over” help to inspire residents.

The shelter also has a partnership with the Sexual Assault Victim Services in Brevard county. When a woman is raped, she is taken the SAVS clinic, which is located at The Salvation Army. Samples are taken by an on call nurse. The clinic is set up like a gynecologist’s office – a bed, stirrups and a place for samples.

Unlike the emergency room where a woman would normally go, there’s a shower and a respite area. Mitchell said it’s a way to bring the survivor more comfort. If she has been abused, she is often admitted into the domestic violence shelter.

Shelter residents can stay at least 45 days, however length of stay varies depending on the needs of the residents and families.
Janice is on day 30.

She is looking for work. She is trying to find a place to live and putting the pieces back together of her shattered life.
But she said, “Sometimes, I wonder, what it would be like to go back to him,” her voice trembles as she gazes toward the JC Brumfield book. “I pray every day I can get a place and make it on my own without him.” *Not her real name.

Dulcinea Cuellar Kimrey is the Divisional Communications Director for The Salvation Army of Florida. She can be reached at [email protected]

The Salvation Army Expands Support of Search and Rescue in North Mississippi

Oxford, Miss (May 2, 2013) For the second day in a row, The Salvation Army in Oxford, Miss. is supporting first responders in the search for a missing teenage boy. Missing since Monday, efforts have intensified as law enforcement deployed dive teams in support of the search.

Salvation Army volunteers and staff from Oxford and Tupelo have responded today with a Mobile Feeding Unit stocked to serve hot meals, snacks, and drinks to first responders, volunteers and family holding out hope for a happy conclusion.

Salvation Army personnel will remain vigilant in service until there is a conclusion to the search and rescue.

“We can only imagine the grief that this family is experiencing holding out hope that their loved one will be found safe,” stated Lisa Coleman of The Salvation Army in Oxford. “Our prayers for the family and rescue workers undergird our physical support of the rescue.”

All Salvation Army disaster assistance is free and made possible by generous donations of time and money. You can support the response by making a donation to the Salvation Army’s Disaster Relief Program. To make contributions, donate online at www.salvationarmyalm.org, call 1-800-SAL-ARMY or text the word STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to any Salvation Army Office.

 

Mark Jones
[email protected]
(601) 961-7709

Elizabeth Smart: ‘I found something worth living for’

elizabeth smartBy Alex Branch

[email protected]

FORT WORTH — Inside a tent pitched on a Utah mountainside, moments after she was sexually assaulted by her kidnapper, Elizabeth Smart was overwhelmed by shame.

Just 14 and abducted hours earlier from her bedroom, she wondered if anyone would even search for her if they knew what had just happened.

Stories she had seen on the television news about kidnapped and murdered children flashed through her head and she wished she “was in heaven with them.”

“I remember lying on the floor of that tent feeling so worthless, crushed,” Smart told an audience at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel during the Salvation Army annual luncheon Wednesday. “I just didn’t feel that I could ever be worth anything.”

But Smart, whose abduction and rescue a decade ago captivated the nation, said she overcame that feeling with memories of her family’s love. She became determined to see them again, a sense of purpose that she hoped Salvation Army clients would remember as they battle their adversities.

“Because I found something worth living for, I was able to decide that no matter what happened, I would survive,” said Smart, who is now 25. “No matter what I had to face, I would do it as long as it was within my power. Somehow, I would see my family again.”

Smart’s speech was the main feature at the Salvation’s Army’s Doing the Most Good luncheon. The event raises money for Salvation Army programs, such as homeless prevention, addiction treatment, food pantries and supportive housing.

Smart’s abduction June 5, 2002, is well-known. Brian David Mitchell, a homeless street preacher, broke into her family’s Utah home while everyone slept, took her into the nearby mountains, sexually assaulted her and held her captive for nine months.

Police rescued Smart nine months later. Mitchell was sentenced to life in prison.

His wife, who helped keep Smart captive, was sentenced to 15 years.

Smart, who married 14 months ago, has since helped promote legislation to prevent abductions. She also speaks to recovery organizations nationwide.

On Wednesday, she described growing up with strict but loving parents and brothers who teased her.

The night she was kidnapped she had fallen asleep as usual in the bedroom she shared with her sister.

She awoke to a knife pressed to her neck and the sounds of a man’s voice.

Smart said she had always been warned not to talk to strangers, never get into their cars or help them look for lost puppies.

“No one ever told me what to do if someone broke in and had me at knifepoint,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it was real.”

Moving forward

Smart recounted being forced to walk up the mountain behind her home, crawling through a narrow ravine and finally reaching a remote encampment where Mitchell’s wife waited. At one point she recalled telling Mitchell that, if his intent was to rape and murder her, to just do it now.

“I’m not going to do that. Yet …” he replied, smiling.

During the next nine months, Smart was forced to travel to California and eventually back to Utah with her captors. She recalled once getting a meal at a Salvation Army shelter when Mitchell’s group had no food. And she recounted the events of March 12, 2003, the day she was rescued by police and reunited with her parents.

“I remember thinking if anyone ever asks me how to describe this moment I can in one word: Heaven,” she said. “No one had ever looked so beautiful to me as my mom did.”

During her recovery, her mother gave her advice that she followed. She told Smart that her kidnapper was evil and what he did to her was wicked.

“Then she said ‘The best punishment you could give [Mitchell] is be happy, move forward with your life and to do exactly what you want to do,’” Smart said. “‘Because it would be very easy to live in the past, to dwell on what happened to you. But that would allow him to take more of your life.’

“She was so right. … You’re not helping yourself out by holding on to the pain and the misery. You have to move forward.”

Alex Branch, 817-390-7689

Twitter: @albranch1

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/2013/04/03/4748469/elizabeth-smart-i-found-something.html#storylink=cpy

Salvation Army To Host Event On Awareness Of Sexual Exploitation Of Children

sexual exploitationChattanooga, TN – The Salvation Army’s ReCreate Café, at 800 McCallie Ave., will host a free screening of “The Candy Shop,” a film which exposes the epidemic of the sexual exploitation of children, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The screening is made possible by Second Life of Chattanooga and Street Grace.

There will be a question and answer panel discussion afterwards with leaders who are fighting human trafficking locally. The panel will also include Alesia Adams, the Salvation Army’s territorial services coordinator against human trafficking.

The Salvation Army is a leader around the globe against human trafficking and is involved with rescuing children and adults. The Salvation Army believes that abuse and exploitation of human beings through any form of human trafficking is an offense against humankind and against God, officials said.

For more information contact Tenika Dye at 756-1023 or visit www.csarmy.org.

The Salvation Army to Host Events During United Nations Commission

Prayer_Social_Justice_MainThe Salvation Army is playing a full role at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) which will convene in New York, USA, at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters from 4 to 15 March. Sixteen Salvation Army representatives will be attending the event, including representatives from the four USA territories and personnel from the International Social Justice Commission.

The ‘priority theme’ of this year’s CSW is the ‘Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls’. There is also a ‘review theme’: ‘The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/Aids’. There will be opportunity for intervention from non-governmental organisations and and other groups from UN member states to voice their thoughts on wording and ideas that should be put into the final outcome document.

The Salvation Army will be hosting a parallel event on ‘Violence and the Church: A Salvation Army Perspective’, with officers and lay personnel speaking on how The Salvation Army responds to violence and what mechanisms are in place to help in this growing issue. This will be one of around 400 parallel events during the course of the CSW.

The Salvation Army will also host a new event – a ‘girls’ tribunal’. This will give girls from around the world opportunity to testify about violence they have experienced. For many of the participants, this tribunal will be an opportunity to raise awareness in a safe environment. The hope is that the process will lead to them finding justice back in their home countries. The sitting jurors are highly significant personnel in the international arena.

International Women’s Day, on 8 March, will be acknowledged during the CSW. The theme for this event the year is ‘A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.’

The Salvation Army will take part in devotions during the course of the CSW and will lead one session.

Report by Major Victoria Edmonds Senior Representative to the UN The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission