We love our moms. They gave us life. While rarely perfect, the bond between a mother and her children is arguably the closest bond that exists in humanity.
It’s one of the hardest jobs in the world, creatively celebrated in this recent video and countless others. Motherhood carries with it a tremendous burden, and is often accompanied by unfathomable joys, incredible periods of unending stress, and a commitment so deeply intertwined into a woman’s DNA, it can never be turned off.
Mother’s Day was officially made a US Holiday 100 years ago in 1914, but it is a tradition that’s celebrated all over the world, even going back thousands of years to the ancient traditions of the Greeks and Romans.
While many women in the IPP sphere of influence can identify or look forward to experiencing the deep meaning associated with motherhood, the women we serve have a more difficult (and often overlooked) challenge. We’d like to enlist your help in giving to them as well as your own mothers this Mother’s Day.
It won’t take much effort, and it will go a long way. We’ll tell you how at the end of this post.
Here’s the background:
Many of you know that there is mounting evidence that the trafficking of women and children for sexual exploitation is the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world. This, despite the fact that international law and the laws of 134 countries criminalize sex trafficking.
At least 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide into commercial sexual servitude, forced labor and bonded labor.
About 2 million children are exploited every year in the global commercial sex trade.
Almost 6 in 10 identified trafficking survivors were trafficked for sexual exploitation.
Women and girls make up 98% of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
The purpose of International Princess™ Project is to do our part to help eliminate these horrific realities. To date, most of our work has been focused on India. While exact numbers vary, all recent studies show that there are millions of prostitutes in India, many of whom have been trafficked, raised, or sold into forced prostitution.
What isn’t often mentioned is the millions of children who are born to these women and who live every day in the midst of the horrific conditions. According to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) report in India, there are approximately 5.4 million children of prostitutes, and most live with their mothers in red light areas (NHRC, 2008), a significant multiple over the actual prostitutes. We see a similar ratio also represented with the women in our sewing centers as well. Collectively, the work of International Princess Project serves several hundred women, a large percentage of whom are single moms.
Efforts like “Kids with Cameras”, born out of the critically acclaimed “Born into Brothels”, and International Princess™ Project’s efforts to get all of our women’s children in school, are making a difference in the lives of some of these children. However, the excruciating reality is that being a mom as a prostitute is one of the most challenging things these women encounter in their often unfathomable existence.
In most cases, children are born from multiple sexual partners, and are the sole responsibility of their mothers. There is no additional social, financial, or emotional support. The children are often raised in unfamiliar, violent, and unclean environments. Despite these realities, many of these women cling tightly to the elusive joy of motherhood. In many cases, it provides their only source of joy, hope, and psychosocial space of their own. Like most other women around the world, these women will do anything for their children, but lack many of the fundamental resources that we take for granted.
How you can help:
This Mother’s Day, we hope and pray that you celebrate richly with your mom. If appropriate, please consider giving a gift in your mom’s name to IPP, or buying a cozy pair of PUNJAMMIES™ for all the moms in your life.
Additionally, we are asking that you give a different kind of gift from your heart to the moms who struggle every day in the red light district to provide for their kids.
Here’s how: Please send a note of encouragement, an image, a short movie, or any other communication through your digital channel of choice. Wherever you share most and most often, we’ll be there to listen and share your thoughts and your story. Whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, and/or a combination or some or all of the above
Tag the note with the following hashtag #hopeformoms.
Tell a friend, or two or three, and let’s collectively give a small encouragement to the mothers out there facing the most difficult of circumstances. We’ll be monitoring Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Google+ accounts, and even comments on our blog right here to hear and see your hearts poured out to help.
We’ll then work to collect and bring your collective creativity, hearts, and minds together to present a message of hope to the women we serve.
We’ll be sharing these with the ladies in our sewing centers, the ladies in the surrounding red light districts, and with our larger community to help bring hope to those in desperate need of another path, and awareness to others who haven’t yet joined in the battle against sexual slavery.
If that weren’t enough, for every share on the #hopeformoms, $1 will be donated by our donor community to the continuing work of IPP to restore the lives of women and children who have suffered from the ravages of sexual slavery.
Your voice, your heart, your few moments of time will hopefully help to provide encouragement to these brave women on this 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day.