Hey Restoration, this is David.
One of my favorite ‘best practices’ that we have done as a church since our beginning is to identify places or groups of people in need or organizations that are doing great, Gospel-centered work outside of Restoration’s scope. Particularly during the season of Lent, we try to enable our treasure to go to a place that brings our heart along as well. (‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.’ Matthew 6:21)
During our services on Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, The Great Easter Vigil, and Easter, we will give away our entire offering to International Justice Mission’s work in Cambodia. You can learn more about IJM and Restoration’s history in Cambodia from the video: We have dear friends, Jesse and Sarah Blaine who are working with orphans in Pnom Penh and beginning to lay the foundation of a new church plant. From its beginning, Restoration has generously given to see the reduction of human trafficking and the creation of systems for aftercare of trafficking victims. Southeast Asia and Cambodia in particular are strategic places for us to aim our financial resources for the work of anti-trafficking.
Here are some things IJM has accomplished over the last decade in Cambodia:
- At the end of last year, after nearly ten years of work in Cambodia, IJM hosted a gathering for NGO’s and all government agencies working in anti-trafficking to discuss a study lead by IJM. The study produced a 160 page report which documented a substantial decrease in the prevalence of minors available in sex trafficking and a substantial increase in the trust of locals to refer possible cases to police. The full report will be available to the public sometime this year.
- One piece of core work in Cambodia now is working on interpretation of undercover investigative authority. Since 2008, Cambodian authorities have interpreted the Cambodian trafficking in persons law as prohibiting police officers from working undercover on trafficking investigations. This has impeded the police’s effectiveness in anti-trafficking efforts. IJM Cambodia continues to advocate for undercover investigative authority for law enforcement in Cambodia. The Ministry of Justice has recently approved a landmark nation-wide workshop for police, prosecutors and judges to review the legal framework for undercover authority and to create a set of guidelines to outline the legal use of undercover techniques in sex trafficking cases. We are praying that undercover authority will be formally granted and that the guidelines for its use will empower law enforcement to effectively combat sex trafficking in Cambodia.
- Ongoing police training and capacity building continues to be a core piece of our work. Especially as we work to shape interpretation of the undercover authority, we will likely be invited to shape the training curriculum for police so that this work is used for the benefit of the poor and oppressed, and not used to oppress the people of Cambodia. This training curriculum and implementation will be critical in establishing the strength of the public justice system which will work to protect, rescue, and defend the poor and vulnerable.
- Here is a link to IJM’s most recent published website article about work in Cambodia (1/28/14).
- This article from the website highlights the level of cases that IJM is going after these days. Also see the editorial note at the bottom which highlights the immense challenges we still face in places like Cambodia.
As Restoration enters the season of Lent together, will you let your treasure lead your heart to places that matter deeply to God? I look forward to being generous with you, to praying alongside you, and to interceding for justice in a place like Cambodia.