Visiting the Netherlands!
Wow, where to begin! As you can see from the picture above, I am currently in Amsterdam!
Recently, Not For Sale Campaign asked me to consider heading up their European offices, offerseeing their current project in Romania and connecting it with a planned enterpenerial intiative headed up in Amsterdam. This initiative will provide job skill training and work opportunities for Romanian victims of sex-trafficking in Holland who are wanting to return to their country of origin.
Around the same time that I was considering this new opportunity, I needed to book a flight out of South Africa because my visa was expiring, and so I decided to combine the situations for a chance to visit Amsterdam and learn more about what Not For Sale is planning for the future.
I originally thought I would be leaving this weekend, but on Tuesday morning thought I better check my flight times, and realized that they left that night from Cape Town! Good thing I looked it up:)
Since arriving, I have been staying with my uncle in Amsterdam, and making several connections with other Anti-Human Trafficking workers! It has already been an inspiring trip, as I got to sit in on part of a YWAM conference around Human Trafficking in Europe. Already I have met with an amazing member of the Dutch Human Trafficking law enforcement, and was blown away by their comprehensive laws and his passion to help free individuals from slavery. I also got the chance to learn more about the current situation surrounding prostitution in Amsterdam, and found out that Romania is one of the major source countries for women trafficked into the Netherlands for prostitution! Some of the other countries where women are tricked from include Hungary, Bulgaria, and Nigeria. Many of the girls from Nigeria have African voodoo performed on them before they come to the Netherlands and are told if they disobey the traffickers or try to escape they will be cursed. Often when a woman returns to Nigeria after being in forced prostitution she discovers that she has HIV/Aids, which further enforces the mindset that she was cursed. She then may be rejected by her family, either because of the shame of prostitution and HIV, or because she comes back poor and broken, when they were hoping for her to return rich and succesful.
Next week, the international operations director from Not For Sale will be joining me, and we will both go to Romania for the first time to see the project happening there. I am really excited because Not For Sale is partnered with a local Romanian organisation which provides support to over 150 survivors of Human Trafficking. Read more about Not For Sale Romania here: http://www.notforsalecampaign.org/projects/romania/.
This is all incredibly exciting, but at the same time, I am really wanting confirmation about where I am supposed to be heading as God has opened so many doors for me around the issue of Human Trafficking, and I am needing wisdom on how to move forward!
I love the work we do in South Africa, and am constantly blown away by how much favour God has shown us, and how effective we have been! Honestly I am a little nervous about relocating somewhere else because there are so many unknowns and South Africa has become a second home for me.
So, in the meantime, I am needing lots of prayer, that God will give me peace, and continue to provide God-appointments as we explore the issue of Human Trafficking in Europe. We will be flying to Romania on April 4th, so also just pray for smooth travels and safety!
I will continue to keep you updated as I grapple with the decisions for the future!