Today we a real highlight because our team was able to visit the Phnom Penh field office of the International Justice Mission.
IJM works in the darkest corners of the human race: sexual slavery. Its four-fold mission:
1. Victim Rescue
2. Perpetrator Accountability
3. Victim Aftercare
4. Structural Change
The young girls who are trafficked deserve freedom. Those who traffick them deserve accountability. IJM in Cambodia works to ensure that everyone gets what they deserve.
As a lot of you know, the people of Good Shepherd gave $207,000 to IJM this past Christmas.
The Phnom Penh office is one of 14 similar facilities located throughout the developing world. It’s one of the first IJM opened . . . in part because sexual slavery is a uniquely pervasive scourge in Cambodia. We learned several reaons why:
- Cambodian culture has an obsession with female virginity. Sex with a female virgin is supposed to bring the man “good luck” . . . . as a result, some families in dire financial straits will even auction of the virginity of their adolescent girls.
- Cambodians have a saying: “men are like gold; women are like white cloth.” In other words, men can be re-polished and re-finished. Once a woman loses her sexual purity, she loses value. That value can never be replaced, and prostitution then becames a logical next step. Lunacy — for you to read it and me to type it.
- Southeast Asia has become a magnet in recent years for “sex tourists” — pedophiles from the West who travel to this part of the world in search of cheap sex with children.
- The Khmer Rouge killed a generation of legal professionals in Cambodia, making it nearly impossible to have a functional judicial system.
In spite of those odds, IJM Phnom Penh is having an impact. In 2009, for example, it rescued 54 women and girls from sexual slavery. In 2010, 37 perpetrators were convicted and sentenced with the assistance of IJM personnel. The team here also arranged aftercare and skills training for dozens of rescued slaves.
We were able to put a human face on one of our favorite organizations today. We can’t show you those faces or give you the location of the office because, as you might expect, the enemies of IJM are not nice people. We’re only too glad to protect their security.
We also sat through staff devotion with the team. It was interesting . . . they trace the motivation for their ministry to Luke 4:16-21. If you have a really good memory, that’s the exact passate we used in December for What Child Is This. Coincidence?