This is a continuation of a call we can answer to the Dominican, or any other hurting part of the world for that matter. My purpose in writing is to expose you to a ministry in which I believe you can be part of the answer. Part 1 can be found here. Freedom International Ministries was our hosting organization. You can learn more about them here.
Yesterday we were introduced to the place and the need presented simply by location. We learned that Haitians are picked up at the border by sugar plantation buses and carted into the sugarcane villages where they work for low wages, are 8-9 hours from their homeland, and whose children possess limited citizenship and international rights. Today, let’s learn more about the risk of being a person born in such latitude and longitude.
Working Children & Exploited Women
- In the year 2000, the International Labour Office projected 122,000 economically active children, 20,000 girls and 102,000 boys between the ages of 10-14 years old–representing 13.22% of their age group.
- According to World Bank, 13% of children between the ages of 7-14 do not attend class because they work outside the home or stay home doing house chores. Approximately 11% work and go to school at the same time, translates as almost 1/4 of the population of minors find it impossible to continue the education they need to become more skilled.
- The Directorate of Migration estimates there are approximately 400 rings of alien smugglers and purveyors of false documents operating within the country (In fact, while we were in country, we were told our passports go on the black market for 5,000 USD, or 190,000 Pesos). There is profit found in the trafficking of Dominican and Haitian women to the countries of Spain, Netherlands, and Argentina under false pretenses butfor the purpose of prostitution.
- The government is also aware of the risk facing the nation’s children, as they are vulnerable to adoption by internationals for the intention of child prostitution and pornography.
- 25,455 children were engaged in prostitution. The main age group was between 12-17 years old, 64% of which were girls and 36% were boys.
- There are 50,000 women from the Dominican who are engaged in the sex industry overseas. This is the fourth highest number in the world, after Thailand, Brazil, and the Philippines.
I overheard someone say, “They are sugarcane workers…they were born here and they will die here. How much can we really do to help?”
Does that question grieve His Spirit? When I refuse to part with my skills, my time, or my resources — does it pain the heart of God?
To the one who asked such a question, I believe God’s answer to that is, “Whatever you are able and willing.”
Look at the ingenuity of these children:
At the level of responsibility they are willing to hold for their younger siblings:
And the eagerness they possess to learn:
And then ask yourself, what do you have to offer? One point that was made repeatedly last week was: If not here, then just help somewhere. Use your gifts and talents somewhere that brings the rays of God’s glory to the ground on which you stand.
Isn’t this what we are looking for? Isn’t this why we go to school? Why we dream and plan for the future? So that we can pour ourselves out for others because Jesus did so first?
Tomorrow: The purpose.