Misappropriated charity

We met a group of about 6 young people (in their 20’s) from the states the other night. They were a nice group of people. They had come out to Cambodia for a month because they wanted to do something to help. If I remember right, this was not their first trip and they have been coming to Cambodia for a number of years now doing what they called “exploratory” trips to see what they could do to help (I am really trying to not be judgemental here but whats the point of endless exploratory trips?). They were helping out at another recovery center called Hagar and were going to head on up to Siem Riep for a bit to work with a few people who have pulled in about 5 to 6 girls and are taking care of them.

Now I want to start this off by saying that each and every one of these people were ernest in their desire to help and wanted nothing more than to see Sex Trafficking end in this country. But after my short stay here, I must admit that they are going about it in a totally waste full and unproductive way. Their limited stay will not provide much benefit other than to probably make some emotional connections with the girls that are destined to be ripped apart when they leave. This only reinforces the girls past trauma of constantly making emotional (and grossly sexual) connections with men who say they love them but leave after they have had their fill of them. These girls need a family (preferably Cambodian) that loves them unconditionally and protects them, not a white persons hug.

Secondly, their air fair alone probably came out to about $10,000. Couple that with their living expenses out here and that number can easily reach $15,000. The average Cambodian will make $30 a month. Just do the math. I personally would not be here at all except for the fact that I truly believe that what we are doing out here will bring in millions of dollars to help keep these centers running as well as build new ones. My suggestion would be to find an organization who is already doing a great job and supporting them with that 15k.

There is also a false notion that the war against trafficking is being won. This is not the case at this point in time. Although trafficking has had a visible decrease, this does not mean that it has slowed down, but that it has only gone underground. The war against trafficking has only just begun.

Lastly, a friend of mine has just reminded me of a documentary on trafficking that is just coming out in theatres titled “call + response” (if I remember correctly). While I am glad that this documentary is bringing more awareness to the issue, it is also offering up foolish methods of fighting it. This includes buying girls out of these brothels. Those girls will just end up right back where they were and the pimps will have made extra cash. I would write more on what should be done to help, but I already have done so in other posts and it is getting late.

I want to finish off buy reiterating that the group of young people that we met were great people. I have no problems with them, just their methods.

Again, thanks for your prayers. God bless.

s

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8 Responses to Misappropriated charity

  1. Rachel says:

    Hi Seth,
    Reading your post I can’t help but think of all the millions of dollars that is wasted each year on these kinds of “projects”. It’s basically a way for Christians to visit the world and feel good about themselves while doing it. While some people really want to help there is all to often a lack of discernment on how to go about this. Thus money that could be used to actually help people is spent on airfare and debriefing retreats.

    We love you and are praying for you.

  2. Kassia says:

    When we were leaving Russia, we felt a little hopeless, and were thinking, “Why did we even come here to love these kids and then leave them like everyone else in their lives has left them?” I know the situation’s a little different. But…it does seem futile to spend tons of money on short term trips that don’t do much good. I think we do it because sometimes we see a mission or service trip as a way to improve ourselves and broaden our experience, instead of truly seeking the best way to help people.

  3. hope4cambodia says:

    Rachel: Yah, I think it is good to examine our motives and make sure that what we are doing is truly benefiting the people we want to bless. Thankyou for the prayers.

    Kassia: I have personally stayed away from short term mission trips for very similar reasons. I think short term mission trips can be very beneficial if they support the local church in what it is doing to reach the lost (or to equip the church to reach the lost in its area of influence).

    I don’t want to make a blanket statement that short term trips are bad. They are not. They just need to be effective.

  4. Kassia says:

    Thanks for making me think.

  5. hope4cambodia says:

    HAHA! Your welcome.

  6. Kassia says:

    I saw the NEW post. This always happens on blogs. I think I agree with someone, then they change their mind. šŸ™‚

  7. hope4cambodia says:

    haha! I didn’t change my mind at all. I just wanted to remove any attack (or perceived attack) that I may have made on those people. It was late and I was grumpy (still no excuse). I would not change any of my arguments at all, but I think I could have been a little more tactful and gracious.

  8. Kassia says:

    Ok. I understand.

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