safe house

Staff Notes: Defending the Fatherless - North Korean Orphans

The following post was written by Crossing Borders volunteer staff: There are an estimated 40,000 North Korean orphans in China. The numbers are staggering and it seems there is nothing we can do that would make any difference. "I am only one person!" we cry out, "What can I do?"

According to UNICEF, 21,000 children still die each day of preventable causes. Their mission is "to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood, including health care, clean water, nutrition, education, protection, emergency relief and more." By their definition, an orphan is a child who has lost one or both parents.

There were over 132 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean in 2005. It is estimated that there are 143 million to 210 million orphans worldwide. Out of the millions of children orphaned, only 250,000 children are adopted annually, and those who are not adopted are institutionalized until the age of at 18. Ten percent commit suicide. Sixty percent of girls become prostitutes and 70 percent of boys become criminals. As we see the global perspective, we understand that North Korean orphans are a part of a much more shocking picture.

Chicago, where Crossing Borders is based, is the main national hub for human trafficking. Every day there is someone walking through the arrival gates of O'Hare International Airport who is being trafficked. Every year 325,000 children are trafficked in the United States of America and the prime age of sex trafficked children between the ages of nine and 17. Human trafficking is so popular among criminal business groups because a human being can be sold over and over, where as guns and drugs are perishable commodities that can only be sold once. These things also cost money to obtain and produce, where as human beings can be kidnapped and traded like chattel.

Protecting children is something we can all do without breaking the bank. Volunteering at your local school or becoming a foster parent can protect them from the hands of abuse. If this is too much, you can be a safe house, where children stay in your home for a week to a month at a time. This program allows parents who lack in resources to place their children under that care of someone who will be able to help provide for them while they look for jobs or get their life situated. This program also allows the parent to receive their children back into their embrace without potentially losing their children to the State.

You can also support organizations that focus on children. Crossing Borders supports and provides holistic care for the North Korean orphans in the care of their Second Wave program. Other organizations such as UNICEF or your local adoption agency can also help you to work in defending the weak and fatherless.

“Defend the cause of the weak and the fatherless; Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.  Deliver the weak and needy from the hand of the wicked.”

- Psalm 82:3-4