NOT For Sale Tennessee

New Name, Same Work - Plus International

As someone following the ever expanding anti-human trafficking /slavery work in Tennessee, accomplished in the past year under the name Not For Sale, I want to share with you exciting new developments:

  • I have been asked to share the vision and what I've learned in Tennessee in an effort to mobilize 1,200 workers in over 60 nations to fight slavery and aid victims.
  • Our Tennessee work continues with the existing team of volunteers, no longer under the national Not For Sale Campaign, but as End Slavery TN - with International Teams.

 I began our Tennessee work in late 2008 and soon found dozens of volunteers standing with me to expose the growth of slavery in our state, warn the vulnerable, educate the influential and aid former victims. Their efforts have touched thousands, and our enthused army of volunteers will move the work forward. However, we have concluded that the national Not For Sale Campaign organization is no longer the best cover for this local, grassroots work.  

Maintaining Momentum in Tennessee

We will move forward with the work in Tennessee under the name End Slavery in Tennessee. While continuing to reach out to a wide range of participants, as Christians we believe recovering victims can only be wholly restored through the transforming touch of God and that our work is in vain without His empowering grace; this belief will be reflected in our work.  We will work under the covering of International Teams, under which our work will also expand. More about that...

Reaching Across All Borders

From 1987 to 1994, Bill and I served overseas with International Teams (ITeams), a Christian mission bringing people together to help the oppressed: The poor, the slave and the blind. We recently spoke with Scott Olson, president and CEO of the U.S. office. Scott wants to train and mobilize ITeams workers to seek out current and former slaves in need of healing and vulnerable people who are especially at-risk  of enslavement. He wants ITeams workers, worldwide, to set the captives free - physically, emotionally and spiritually, with a long term commitment to deep, effective initiatives.

Scott asked me to help in efforts to  train, equip and mobilize these 1,200 workers around the globe (and urban U.S.) who already have daily contact with vulnerable people, where human traffickers prey. Just as with the local work, I'll serve as an unpaid volunteer. While I continue to work (alongside Bill) from our Tennessee home, some travel is required. Already, we plan to meet in May with a gathering of ITeams leaders in Turkey.

How To Stay Involved

For those who are already involved, just keep doing what you are doing! Volunteer groups continue to meet in Nashville and Franklin. I'll continue to provide support and resources to groups in  Memphis and Knoxville.

You can help pay the expenses of the Tennessee work by sending a tax-deductible gift to International Teams, 411 W. River Road, Elgin, IL 60123 or on-line , putting"for Derri Smith's work account" in the memo line or "designated for" field. This account will also pay travel and operational expenses in support of the international work. If you wish to specify your donation as "local" or "international," just indicate this. We'll make sure your funds are spent according to your wishes.

But this message is not about giving money as much as it is about  continuing  involvement to set captives free. Thank-you for reading our blogs, educating yourself and participating in our common cause. I welcome your comments, your questions and your prayers. Grateful, NFS card

 

      

In Their Own Words #2

Chelsey lived a seemingly “normal” middle class life with her family in Georgia, but at age 10 her life forever changed when she was sold as a prostitute by her own father. Chelsey’s story is one of redemption. After her escape, she managed to graduate from high school and received a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Georgia. Chelsey is now working on her master’s degree. The following is an excerpt of a journal passage Chelsey wrote during her unfathomable ordeal: “As I hang from the beam of a dim, musky, cold basement, I think of as many descriptive words as possible for the body parts I loathe the most. I have endured 14 hands, 70 fingers, all the while my hands are tied. They are numb from being laced above my head and are exhausted from supporting the rest of my body. I am naked, beaten, bleeding, and alone. Sunshine creeps in through the holes in the shades and amplifies my new wounds. I am coming down from a large dose of cocaine and I hope that at least one pair of hands returns to feed me some more. I close my eyes because the drips of sun, of life hurt, and I begin thinking of names of presidents and countries. Dusk approaches with footsteps. I count 14 feet, 70 toes, returning for another round. I inhale, I exhale, I brace myself. I close my eyes, ask silently for death, and hope they have enough blow to get me through the night. I am twelve years old.”

From The Columbus Dispatch July 28, 2009

Ten Quick Facts about Modern Day Slavery

  1. Human Trafficking, or modern day slavery, is the #2, and fastest growing, crime on the planet; a $32-billion-a-year business.  
  2. Today there are 27 million people enslaved, more than at any other time in history. 
  3. Slavery has been outlawed in every country but still occurs everywhere. 
  4. The average price of a slave is 90 dollars, making modern slaves disposable people. 
  5. The USA, along with Japan and Australia, are at the top of the list of wealthier receiving countries for foreign victims.  
  6. Eighty percent of victims are female and fifty percent are children.  
  7. Every minute two more children are forced into slavery; 1 million children are forced to work in the sex industry daily. At least 100,000 American children alone are used in pornography and prostitution each year.  
  8. It is estimated that 200,000- 400,000 people are in bondage at any given time in the USA. 
  9. Every year the slave population in the US grows upwards of 17,000. 
  10. Suburbs, rural areas and small towns, and normal residential neighborhoods, are increasingly popular for this progressively computer based business. 

 

What does that mean for us?

Buying differently: Select fair trade chocolate, freely made cars, clothing, jewelry and household goods. (See Free2Work.org)

Getting educated: Learn more about the issue including red flags for identifying the victims that may be hidden in plain sight. Start with notforsale.info and sign up for our newsletter at notforsaletn.org . We’ll send you a list of recommended books and links to video clips.

Taking Action: There’s a place for everyone in taking effective action to end slavery and aid its victims. Join the Abolitonist Movement today! Let us know you’re ready, by writing to info@notforsaletn.org.

In Their Own Words

child prostitute photoFrom time to time, between my own musings here, I will post examples of actual trafficking scenarios. This will, I trust, help all of us remember that when we talk about human trafficking/slavery, we are talking about real, flesh and blood human beings , not merely cold statistics. The following is a quote; a victim's own words, describing one way traffickers recruit needy children who are hungry for someone to love and care for them: "I was 14 years old and the way the pimp came at me was that first I didn’t even know that he was a pimp. He came at me like a boyfriend. Yes he was an older boyfriend but he cared about me...6 months later he told me ‘Let’s run away together. We can have a beautiful house and family.’ And I did believe him, and we ran away and then the story changed and I met the other girls that he had in his stable. And I had to go out every night and work the streets—the alternative was being gang raped by a group of pimps while everyone watched"

Modern Day Slavery Vs Slavery in the Past

Slavery is what it has always been: involuntary servitude. Bondage. Today’s traffickers in people force their victims into labor, service or the commercial sex trade. They maintain that control through violence: Brutal beatings, repeated rapes, threats of severe harm to the slave and often to their families, as well as through lies, deception and psychological manipulation. But there are three notable differences between modern day slavery and that of, say, the slave trade of the Civil War Era in the US.

  1. Numbers: There are 27 million slaves in the world today. That’s more than at the peak of the trans-Atlantic slave trade. More than at any other time in history.
  2. Laws:  Abolitionists, like William Wilberforce in England, spent their lives working to change the laws that allowed slavery. Today slavery is illegal virtually everywhere. It may not be enforced because of corruption, or may not be effectively enforced, and the laws certainly need improvement, but there are laws in place. And that gives us hope of truly being able to end slavery in our lifetime.
  3. Cost: The biggest difference is cost. A plantation owner in the old south made a big investment when he bought a slave. A young male agricultural worker cost the equivalent of $40,000 today. That slave may have been treated like an animal, but at least it was like a prize bull. The slave owner didn’t want to lose his investment.

The average cost of a slave today is about $90. Today’s slaves are truly disposable people. So slave owners have little motivation to care for their victims, little motivation to protect them from AIDS or accidents or harm from “clients” or themselves, or to provide health care or good nutrition. If one slave gets used up, another one can be easily procured to take their place.

So this Fourth of July, while you celebrate your freedom, rejoice in all that you are free to do. And remember those who do not share your freedoms.