According to the U.S. Department of State, human trafficking is the world's third largest criminal enterprise, after drugs and weapons, and UNICEF reports that worldwide there are nearly two million children in the commercial sex trade. Many of these children are orphans who were taken simply because they had no one to care for them and keep them safe. There are so many orphans in this world, so many children in need of help, it's hard to know where to start if you want to do something. Well, I've decided to start in the country of Moldova.
Let me tell you a little about Moldova. It is a republic about the size of the state of Virginia here in the U.S., and is considered one of the poorest and most victimized of the countries of the former Soviet Union. Moldova is a small country with huge problems: poverty, orphaned and abandoned children, and the trafficking of young women into prostitution being among the worst. In fact, it is considered ground zero for human trafficking in all of Eastern Europe.
Kids who grow up in the orphanages in Moldova are discharged when they reach the age of 16. Most of these children are either true orphans or have been totally abandoned by their parents. If they have no family to take care of them, they are forced to try and survive on their own. Think about that for a minute. How many 16 year olds do you know of that are capable of living on the streets on their own? Many of those boys will be arrested for "survival crimes" (stealing food, etc...), and many of the girls will be forced or tricked into the commercial sex trade.
Justice and Mercy International (JMI) is an organization that is committed to changing things for the poorest children in Moldova and has asked our church to help. Volunteers of JMI have been active in assisting orphan causes there since 2002. I would very much like to be a part of something like that, so this year I've decided to join them. I want to go to Moldova and be one of the people that remind those kids that God has not forgotten them. I can't imagine a more meaningful thing to do this summer than to make a difference in the life of children who have nothing to call their own.
But I need your help to make that happen. The cost of this trip is $2500. As much as I want to, in these difficult economic times there's just no way I can pay for the entire trip myself. However, I've been encouraged by the JMI staff and friends that there are people out there who would want to participate in this cause and help me help others.
So I ask, if you are able, that you please prayerfully consider donating to JMI to help fund my trip. JMI is a registered 501(c)(3), so all donations are tax-deductible. You can make your donation online, mail it directly to JMI, or give it to me personally.
How to donate:
- Online - go to http://justiceandmercy.org/donate, and use the "Support a missionary or Pay for a Mission Trip" box in the middle of the page to make your donation. In the text box for "person's name" or "name of trip", make sure you put "Eric Cobb, Moldova Summer 2011 trip", otherwise your donation will just go to JMI and won't get credited to my trip.
- Mail - you can mail a check directly to JMI. The check needs to be made out to Justice and Mercy International, and make sure you specify "Eric Cobb, Moldova Summer 2011 trip", otherwise your donation will just go to JMI and won't get credited to my trip. Their address is:
Justice and Mercy International
1810 Columbia Ave., Ste. 100
Franklin, TN 37064
- Give it to me - If you see me regularly and want to give me the check in person, that's fine. You can make it out either to Justice and Mercy International or in my name, and I'll turn it in to JMI for you. Feel free to contact me if you want to.
Thank you for considering this request. I sincerely appreciate anything you can do for me, no matter what the amount, and especially ask that you pray for me and for the success of our efforts on this trip. I plan on taking lots of pictures and I'll look forward to telling you all about the experience when I get back!