“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are,29 so that no one[i] might boast in the presence of God. 30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption…” 1st of Corinthians 27-30 (NRSV)
Greetings to you from the Dominican Republic during this blessed Lenten season! As we prepare ourselves for Christ's death and resurrection, it is important to release all that we wish to give up to God and to accept a life closer to the one who gives us so much. This Lenten season I wish to surrender any negative thoughts that lead me astray and to encounter a spirit of acceptance; acknowledging that I am doing all in my power to assist those in my journey and that through prayer and perseverance God's peace will come to more here in Boca Chica.
Boca Chica is undergoing dramatic changes this decade as the population of child workers on the beach continues to fall. More youth are entering school due to the persistent work of Caminante's educators who emphasize the importance of education with children and their parents. As most of you know, Caminante was founded to ensure that all children are guaranteed their rights to not work, to recreation, and to education. These rights are inextricably linked to keeping youth active and engaged alongside friends and family in safe environments. Caminante encourages all youth to stay in school and has additional spaces for older girls to learn more about staying away from the dangers of the tourist zone.
The change that is occurring now is a result of the increased effort to combat a persistent reality.
Caminante finds itself at a crossroads, focusing some of its staff towards combating the resurgent commercial sex trafficking happening in Boca Chica and the surrounding area.
In addition to their efforts to reach the boys and girls in the community before they are placed at risk, Caminante is also putting pressure on tourist hotels to combat the sex trafficking of adolescents. To accomplish this Caminante has appointed a team of employees to travel to the hotels and speak about the "The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism" that hotels are given the opportunity to sign. The Code of Conduct challenges hotels to make infrastructural changes by adding cameras, train staff to spot predators, and gives hotels a way to boost tourism of a safe nature. It is exciting to see many hotels sign on to this effort.
Lastly, Caminante is accompanying women who have left the industry by allowing them to enter La Casona’s training courses as early as age 15 in some cases, providing logistical support to women looking for help, and offering counseling and a safe space for workers.
Global Ministries supports Caminante through your generous support, as well as by sending mission groups that we receive with great joy and an eagerness to impart our love of this work with each visitor.
I am happy to lift their work up and hope that it continues to inspire all of us to help out in some small way in stopping commercial sex trafficking. I pray that this work continues forward and that we can all join together in this struggle. Thanks for reading and have a blessed Lenten season!
Henry Brewer-Calvert serves as a Global Mission Intern with Proyecto Caminante in the Dominican Republic. He works with the children in Caminante’s Outreach Ministry. His appointment is supported by Week of Compassion, Our Churches Wider Mission, Disciples Mission Fund and your special gifts.