All Posts in Trafficking Prevention

October 2, 2020 - No Comments!

I Can Do That!

For all of us who work at ZOE, in any one of the 5 countries, we often cross paths with people who say, “I want to do something … what can I do?” Less often though, we see people who passionately embrace ZOE’s mission, combine it with their interests, skills or hobbies and then actually use it to influence their sphere. But when we do - it’s powerful!

Recently in Australia such a person came forth and reminded us again how everyone has something that they can do to bring awareness to the issue of ending child trafficking. 

Meet Sharon! An ordinary, yet amazing, woman who is using her heart -- along with her hobbies and circle of influence -- to make a difference by helping children.

Not long ago, I asked Sharon a few questions and here’s what she had to say!

1) How did you hear about ZOE?

I first heard about ZOE when Brett became the ZOE Development and Advocacy Coordinator in Australia.  About 9 years ago, I became aware of child trafficking through another organisation that was setting up in Mozambique. (My husband and I were living there at the time.)  But after a few years this connection waned.  I first met Brett when he was senior pastor at a local church my family started attending maybe 20 odd years ago and so his getting this position led me to check out your website

I noticed you were involved in education and had developed a curriculum for year 10 students and are in the process of a curriculum for year 9 students and possibly primary school students.  This sparked my interest even more as most of my time has been spent in ministry with children.   I started reading Facebook posts on ZOE’s work, then Brett invited me to be part of the ZOE prayer team. I’m excited to be part of an organisation that brings healing, transformation, hope and the good news of Jesus to vulnerable children. 

2) What 'sparked' your ideas for both the dinner and the art work you're doing?

When I saw the delicious food being prepared from ZOE’s recipe book, I asked Brett if I could purchase one.  He said, “How about I send you some books and you can maybe cook something from it and have a few friends over to talk about ZOE and its work.”  My immediate response was, “I can do that!”  So then began my planning for my ‘awareness afternoon tea.’  I’m now planning to host a second one in the near future.

I’ve enjoyed sewing quilts and other projects for about 20 years and along the way, it’s been a pleasure to create things for other people and organisations.  When I saw the ZOE colouring book, I thought this may be a way for me to do some creative work for ZOE.  When Brett said the drawings were done by some of the ZOE children and staff, well that was a bonus! 

3) Why are you passionate about ending child trafficking?

I’m passionate about ending child trafficking because it saddens me greatly that children, through no fault of their own, are subjected to terrible abuse and miss out on so many opportunities including to know unconditional love and the right to enjoy their childhood.  NO child should have to endure what so many are ‘living’ through and that also includes working in factories/or on farms for little pay and not receiving a formal education.  I have four children and one grandchild and am so blessed they have had and are still having many wonderful opportunities to grow, learn and flourish! I’m excited to be part of an organisation that brings healing, transformation and hope to vulnerable children. 

I feel that prevention and education is the key for big changes in so many areas. If I can play a small part in making people aware of what is happening in our world, in our country, then it can be the start of a journey which others can take and pass on.  Love the ripple effect!  

*If you have a passion to end child trafficking and ideas on how you could use your interests, skills or hobbies to influence your sphere, then please reach out and discuss your plans with Brett Gottle (ZOE’s Development and Advocacy Coordinator in Australia).

May 27, 2020 - No Comments!

STEPS TO KEEPING KIDS SAFE ONLINE

Just like other environments where you allow your children to play (like the park, school or at a friend's house) the internet can be a really enjoyable space to explore, learn and compete. Left unsupervised though, there are also many dangers that children need help to navigate.

Always remain actively involved in your children’s digital and day-to-day lives and communicate openly. If your child is using devices for school, has a mobile phone, or uses gaming systems; it’s time to have a conversation with them about internet safety.

In order to support your child through their online experiences, there are several tips that we think are worth remembering to help protect your child!

  • Keep connected. It’s so important your child feels safe and connected to family members. The more connected and safe they feel with family, the more comfortable they will be to discuss issues, including issues they encounter online. In contrast, the more disconnected they feel from parents/family, things have potential to start becoming secretive, and they may seek affirmation, connection, and relationships outside of the home for that connection.
  • Have open conversations with your child about the dangers of the internet and how to practice online safety. Use the acronym S.M.A.R.T to help you!
  • Work together with your child to establish internet guidelines. Don’t just give a list of “don’t do this or that,” have a conversation with your child, teaching them why. You may consider signing a contract with your child about the agreed upon rules for online use. We suggest covering these topics:

-What apps/sites can be visited? What apps and/or sites are off limits?
-Where can they use their devices? Should they limit their internet use to general spaces?
-Who needs to be present when they use the internet? Do they need parental supervision?
-When and for how long can they be on their device? Do they need to limit screen time to certain hours/times of day

  • Make the most of parental controls to help monitor and protect online activity. Regularly check posts, messages, texts, etc.

To parents who are just starting out on this journey with your kids, one ZOE staff member shared, “Even though I have been working in this area for years, I recall that when we started this process, it was quite overwhelming. It takes time for you to establish guidelines, find software that helps show their activity, and time for you to monitor and check-in with your child… No matter what software you use, it is not set and forget! Initially we used the free version of Qustodio to help us set up simple daily time time limits. Apple also has great parental control software.”

  • If you notice behavior changes in your child, such as isolating themselves, becoming secretive about their phone, or wanting to spend more time in their room with a device, ask your child what’s going on, without judgement or punishment.
  • If you discover your child has been interacting with a potentially dangerous person or content, don’t panic! Be a safe place for your child. Break off contact — stop talking and stop replying. Criminal activity, including explicit photos or text messages, should be saved and taken to the police for investigation. Report any illegal activity to law enforcement. 

As in all areas of parenting, be aware and be vigilant so that each online experience your children have is fun, and safe!

May 1, 2020 - No Comments!

The Fight In Australia

Recently it was reported that, “The United States, Britain and Australia are the main consumers of child sex abuse streamed over webcam” (spokesperson from the AFP).

ZOE raises awareness in Australia through the media, influential voices, speaking engagements, internet communities, and encouraging student involvement.

ZOE’s work in Australia to ”prevent,” ”educate,” and ”bring awareness to” trafficking continues. Although the corona virus has affected the movement of our team, and restricted school, church, and small group visits, each staff member is working from home, staying in contact with each other via video calls, and collaborating on projects in preparation for the future.

Brett Gottle, our Development and Advocacy Coordinator, has been finding ways to connect with small groups online to pray, or bring awareness about, issues related to child exploitation both in Australia and overseas.

One of his highlights from last week was a ZOOM meeting with one of Petersham AOG’s connect groups. Let’s hear why!

“There were a number of reasons why. First, I was able to share ZOE and my personal experiences of rescue, restoration, and prevention. There was a deeply moving moment when I shared the time when a little bunch of rescued children gathered around me to pray at one of our regular ZOE Prayer nights. I mentioned how for the first time I’d experienced the wholeness, the courage, and the trust of children who had been rescued and restored from serious abuse – this experience changed my life forever. Second, I talked about how I joined in with an American Police team to gain intel on a trafficker and how that information was then passed onto the Thai Police. Significantly, I was able to share how the relationship between ZOE, the Thai Police, and Thai Government is deeply respected and crucial for the process of rescue and restoration of children in Thailand. Not only that, this deeply trusted relationship resulted in the recent arrest of an identified trafficker and the rescue of a number of children.  We praised God for this wonderful relationship. And last, a significant highlight was being able to reveal that the exploitation of children is a very real Australian problem to solve and prevent.  With the self-isolating effects of the Covid-19, many Australians are being encouraged into pornography. Australians are currently spending 1.3 million dollars a year live-streaming children being raped and sexually exploited. Likewise, I shared how I am gaining an unquenchable sense that bringing awareness to Australians, stimulating prevention here in Australia, and activating rescue of Australians from pornography is a vision that’s being powerfully awakened within me. As it was with the group I met with from Petersham AOG, Australians are significantly unaware of our problems to solve and prevent. Through our ZOE family, I want to change this! Jesus is on the move and wants us to ‘set my people free’ both ‘here’ and ‘there’.”

Brett is regularly meeting up with Australians to pray for ZOE’s work (as shown in the picture). We believe that God is breaking into dark places with a rescue plan – a plan to bring light, exposure, restoration, protection, and to release victory over darkness!

If you would like to join in and pray, please email Brett at brett@gozoe.org.au

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