Mary Alessi : Worship Dynamo

Since the age of four, Mary journeyed across the country singing the praises of God with her sister Marvelyne and twin sister Martha (Martha Munizzi is also an acclaimed singer) and parents, who were travelling evangelists.

“That’s how we grew up,” shares Mary. “I learned to wait on the Lord and not be in a hurry. I believe that’s impacted how I do things today.” It was her upbringing and times on the road where she fell in love with Gospel music and believed eventually she would be ministering as a career. “From the time I was thirteen or fourteen, I knew I was going to sing for the Lord. I wasn’t sure how it was all going to work out, but I had the drive to sing Gospel music.” Mary and her sisters formed a group called Testament and sang at churches and conferences state-wide, honing their skills. There was one sermon that changed her life forever.

A desire to worship, not just sing
“Years ago, my husband and I went to a conference and heard TD Jakes speak. Back then, no one knew who he was. He got up and preached and I remember the hairs on my arm stood up. As I drove home, I started to talk with the Lord. I didn’t just want to sing anymore. I wanted people to feel the presence of the Lord like I had just sensed. I knew that was the anointing and I wanted it. I knew after that moment that either I was going to be a singer or I was going to be a worship leader.”

Pressing on despite challenges
As a busy wife, mom and recording artist, Mary shifts from role to role with ease – or so it seems. She says she has learned from each stage of her life to trust in God through everything and rely on His mercy every day.

For Mary it’s all about worship. The gifted and anointed musician from Miami is focused on one thing alone: giving all glory and honour to the King of Kings. For the Dove and Stellar Award Nominee, it’s a privilege to be chosen as a vessel to lead others to God. Her skill in bringing people into the throne room of God is evidenced on her new release called ‘Pressing On’. Debuting at number 11 on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums Chart and at number 23 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart, ‘Pressing On’ was produced by Mary herself.

Fighting the good fight of faith
Pressing On, the title of the new CD, was not casually chosen. Not only does the moniker represent the challenges life can throw our way, but even more, it’s symbolic of God’s deliverance, if we persevere.

“Anytime you start declaring what God’s going to do and He does it, it’s almost always followed by a valley experience,” says Mary. It’s a declaration to the enemy that no matter what comes her way; Mary will indeed ‘press on’. Prior to the live recording, she and husband Steve experienced a number of major obstacles. Under an inordinate amount of stress from the trials, they decided to get away and vacationed.

God is in control
On the first day of their getaway, Steve suffered a massive heart attack. Thankfully, it happened right in front of paramedics, who were able to save Steve’s life.

“There was a moment where fear tried to tell me that my husband was dying in front of me,” recalls Mary. “But all those years of trusting God, all the times I had to lean on Him to receive my peace just flashed before my eyes. I knew (despite the fear and uncertainty) that no matter what it looked like, I had to keep going.” Mary documented the entire riveting story in a book released last year.

“Those painful experiences are precious to me…Having been so broken, I have a huge capacity to appreciate the wonder of God and all the provision He has for us! I wouldn’t trade a moment of what I’ve learned!”

Working on the album
The CD’s title song is a wonderful acoustic number that’s got a catchy, little hook. Originally, she wasn’t certain about including it on the album, but after mentioning it and singing it to Martha during a song-writing session, they fleshed it out, added lyrics and within ten minutes, the song was done. It wasn’t just the sisters that fell in love with the song. Even during the live recording at Mary’s home church, it was clear that the congregation adored it as well.

Something different
Stepping into this project, Mary wanted to make sure that the songs were easy for people to learn and simple musically and lyrically. Songs like the praise and worship anthem, “I Will Bless the Lord”, fit perfectly into that criteria. It’s beautiful to hear how the audience chimes in singing even before Mary has a chance to sing the chorus.

Songs worth repeating
‘Hero’ is another powerful worship tune speaking of how Jesus is the only true hero. Many fans will also love the edgy and vibrant ‘All of the Doors’. This one finds the Christian proclaiming victory.

A passionate existence
As much as Mary appreciates the accolades and enjoys travelling, her heart is never far from home – that is Metro Life Church. Started in 1997 by the couple, the church has grown tremendously since its humble beginnings in a hotel room.
Both she and Steve love to be active in their members’ lives. “I love being in someone’s life, living life out together and seeing what God does. It’s a great experience,” she says.

But the best experience for Mary comes during her times of worship. It’s what she’s passionate about. “To me, worship is all there is,” she says.

It’s all about worship
“When we understand that worship is what we were created to do, bowing our knees to Him and surrendering our lives to Him, everything in our life follows. 
When God is on our list of priorities and we give everything to God – that is the life of worship.”

By: Frank Naude’

Ancient Oils- Aloe (Agar wood)

Aloe (Agar Wood)
Santalum album
Hebrew meaning: Ahalim
Scripture references: Numbers 24:6; Psalms 45:8; Proverbs 7:17; Song of Solomon 4:14; John 19: 39
General properties: Relieves anxiety and brings a deep sense of peace. Aloe helps in stimulating the secretion of melatonin. It contains the fourth-highest concentration of Sesquiterpines, the oxygen bearing molecule that is responsible for deprogramming incorrect information in each cell.

Decreases nervous tension and stress
Great for cuts and wounds, acne, dermatitis
It helps in treating urinary-tract infections

Prophetic meaning:  My past has been redeemed.  Aloe highlights the gentle forgiving nature of Jesus. I love the fact it gives us all a clear message of hope. As you continue reading about Aloe you will notice that Jesus always turns our past into a purposeful future. So be blessed as you enter into the Aloe anointing.
Aloe oil is not from the typical ‘aloe vera’ plant we are familiar with. It is obtained from a fungal infection that attacks the “heartwood” of the Aquila tree. The infection causes the trunk and roots to secrete a resin which preserves the tree. The resin has a beautiful fragrance and is extremely valuable.The resin embedded wood is commonly called gaharu, jinko, aloeswood, agarwood, or oud and is valued in many cultures for its distinctive fragrance, and thus is used for incense and perfumes. It was believed in ancient times that it was the only tree descended to mankind from out of the Garden of Eden. Legend had it that Adam took a shoot from the garden and planted it where he settled and that every aloe plant originates from this shoot. Other names for it are Shoot of Paradise or Paradise Wood.
There is another mention of aloe in Numbers 24:6 “as the valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river`s side, as the trees of ‘lign aloes’ which the Lord hath planted as cedar trees beside the waters.” The word for aloes in this context in Arabic means” little tents”. This word was derived from the small tent-like capsules from the lign aloe tree. The symbolic picture speaks of the blessing coming for the Bride. We, like Israel are blessed of the Lord and He comes to marry us to His Son who is preparing a tent or bridal chamber next to His Father’s house for us. This is confirmed in John 14: 1-2, “I go and prepare a place for you and when it is ready, I will return for you.” Throughout our preparation time here on earth, the Holy Spirit comes along side us and helps us to “make ourselves ready.” He does this by revealing Jesus and His perfect and complete gift of grace to us. He lavishes us with many gifts and provides us with strength to surrender into His powerful hand of surgery and healing.
An “infection” can come in many forms. We are all infected by sin and God provided the blood of His Son to turn our infection into a treasured fragrance. The Bible says that we are a fragrance unto Christ. Jesus paid a very high price for our sin….He came and took the sinful, sick, diseased nature out of us and gave us a new valuable identity. He continually transforms us to become a sweet smelling aroma unto God.
“Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing.” 2 Corinthians 2:15. We often experience seasons where our choices and decisions influence our lives negatively, or the sovereign hand of God allows us to go through trials and tribulations for the purpose of strengthening our faith in the finished work of the cross. God understands our human limitations and the daily struggles we are challenged with. The solution to this “re-infection” is to bring it under grace. God’s plan is to keep us in relationship with Him. He took our sin that was destine to destroy us, and placed it all upon Himself. We should never allow the trials we are challenged with to overcome us. We have been given everything we need in Christ to be more than over-comers. As I reflect back upon my life, I realize that I could have allowed the “re-infections” over the course of my life to have destroyed the greater purposes God had waiting for me. Allow me to encourage you; Jesus came to give you life, abundance and fulfilment in all you do. Continue reading and discover the wonders of His great love.
Aloe is mentioned 4 times in the Bible:

Numbers 24:5, 6″How beautiful are your tents, O Jacob, your dwelling places, O Israel! Like valleys they spread out, like gardens beside a river, like aloes planted by the LORD, like cedars beside the waters. He shall pour water from his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters.” We are like aloe trees planted by the Lord. He created us as His master pieces and is constantly restoring us back to our original state. We are watered by Him and can only survive in and through Him.
Psalm 45:8 “All your garments are scented with myrrh and aloe and cassia” This piece of scripture is preceded with, “You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God has anointed you with the oil of gladness more than your companions.” The love we are encouraged to have for Jesus will instil in us a walk of righteousness. It will be a relationship filled with gladness because we become aware of the magnitude of His grace toward us. Once the reality of our destiny without grace becomes fully known to us, we cannot help to be in awe of His mighty hand of love toward us.
Proverbs 7:17 “I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes and cinnamon” A bed is a place of rest. We enter into the anointing of His peace and rest, through learning to trust Him in all circumstances.
Mark 20:39 “….bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloe, about a hundred pounds . . .” Jesus was embalmed with aloe, signifying that He came to conquer the effects of the “infections” that come to steal and rob us. He overcame the curse of death on our behalf. This is why the “infections” we experience in life will offer resurrection life to us if we choose to surrender our lives to Him.

Aloe reminds me of my own life in many ways. I remember desperately searching for love, acceptance and recognition. I made unhealthy choices in relationships. I compromised my moral standards which lead me to feel more and more guilt and dislike of myself. Have you ever looked into the mirror and wondered who you are looking at? I knew that I was doing harm to myself, yet shortly after deciding that I would never allow myself to walk this path again, I found my footsteps tracing back into the same direction. Have you felt like you are going around the same track over and over again? Have you noticed a pattern in the way you have lived your life?
To enter into the aloe anointing, means surrendering into God’s plans for your life. It requires trusting God to turn your PAST into a FUTURE. Only God can turn the ‘infection’ into a sweet smelling balm. Nothing you have tried or are hoping to try will satisfy the thirst you have for meaning and deep gratification. Only the unconditional love of Jesus, who took me into His loving, and forgiving arms, even though I felt ‘dirty and unlovable’, was able to change my life forever. Everything else I tried only gratified my flesh for a season. Jesus came and took me as I was, and gave me hope again.
You may experience days of weakness and find yourself falling back into your old patterns. Remember, God is patient and kind. He will pick you up and allow you to try again. He is always willing to go the extra step with you. People may say you are ‘hopeless’, or you will never make it. God says, “When you are weak, I am strong, when you can’t, I can”. The Bible teaches that there is no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the desires of the flesh, but after the Spirit. God sees your heart and knows the ultimate plans He has for you. God has intended you to be a winner and so you are in Him. Allow God to come and overcome the infection of temptation. You are safe with Him! I know that making a choice to change unhealthy habits is easier said than done. I made so many new, New Years’ resolutions and failed dismally. This only made me feel worse and more of a failure. In Numbers 24:6, God describes Israel as aloes planted by the Lord! “Like valleys that stretch out, like gardens by the riverside, like the aloes planted by the Lord, like the cedars beside the waters.” Aloes is one of the eight trees in scripture mentioned by name, which the Lord has planted.
The anointing of aloe encourages me, because I am reminded by the Lord that it is He who has planted me. He has planted me securely in Him, to be adorned in His robe of beauty and gladness. Psalm 45:7, describes this garment of joy as having a fragrance of aloe, cassia and myrrh. The aloe anointing, amongst other properties, grants comfort, freedom, victory and the mantle of praise.
I received enormous peace as I began anointing myself with aloe, because the revelation of God planting me for a purpose, gave me rest from trying to create my own destiny. I realized that I was planted by God for His pleasure. In the new covenant we have been made righteous and so my own efforts to become more worthy or make myself feel better before God were all in vain.
The aloe trees infection becomes the most precious oil or balm. This is hard to understand when we try and apply this theory to our own lives. Most of the time we try so hard to keep our pain hidden and away from others. I know from my own life, I was embarrassed about my self inflicted illness of anorexia and also the embarrassing path of failed relationships, and two unsuccessful marriages. My life was not an attractive tapestry, yet God looked at me through His eyes of love and much greater potential. As you are reading this, perhaps you are feeling as though your life has nothing to boast about or perhaps you have achieved all you have dreamt of, but are dismally unhappy. God has made a plan for you, and it is a plan that requires no ‘work’ of your own. It only requires a relationship of trusting Jesus and the finished work He has done for you.
Prayer: Father, I surrender myself to You. I declare that I have been planted by You as an tree of righteousness, to display Your splendour and not my own. Forgive me for trying to achieve my own sense of worth and recognition. I surrender my successes and my failure to You, and ask for You to turn my ashes into beauty and give me a crown of beauty for Your honour and glory. Father please come and reveal the deepest lies that have held me in bondage, so that I may surrender to You everything that has kept me from receiving the fullness of Your gladness and joy. I receive this anointing of truth into my life and declare that the truth according to God’s word shall set me free. Thank you for your truth and I receive Your blessings which You have stored up for me in heavenly places. In Jesus Name Amen
Naomi Sheneberger
Rock Rose Ministries

Why is Biblical Marriage such a Big Deal?

Biblical marriage is often viewed as an old-fashioned institution with no place in modern society – an opinion that holds sway not only outside the church, but within it too. So we asked Fred and Lucille May some of the difficult questions…

Why is biblical marriage a big deal?
The simple answer – because God’s commitment to reveal Himself on earth is supremely important to Him. Although all of creation reflects something of who He is, Scripture teaches that God specifically designed marriage as His inaugural revelatory podium. Man and woman together in matrimonial covenant are the first custodians or bearers of His image.
 “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis 1:27 (NASB).
The gender war within marriage sometimes masks a much deeper issue namely, the battle raging over the revealing or the destroying of the glorious image of God through the institution of marriage. Over time mankind has gravitated toward man-made images over the image of the “glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God” Romans 1:23 (AMP)
God has ordained biblical, Christian marriage between a natural man and a natural woman, who are committed to the Lordship of Christ, to be the first, and smallest, social institution to reflect this ‘mystery’ of who He is. The other, and also the greatest of social institutions to do the same, is of course the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Marriage can only bear the glory of His image within the context of fellowship within the local Church. “This mystery is very great; but I’m speaking with reference to Christ and the church”. Ephesians 5:32 (NASB)

So why is marriage a problem within the church?
Sadly the divorce rates inside and outside the church barely differ. The reason for this is not that Christians aren’t committed to marriage or are necessarily bad at it. It rather has to do with the fact that a brutal, unremitting demonic onslaught has been raging against the integrity of heterosexual marriage since its inception. And unfortunately much of our marriage counselling and preparation tend to either deny or underplay this grave reality.
From the beginning of time Satan has had this singular objective namely, to destroy the God-image in the earth, or at the very least disrupt and distort it. That’s why Christian marriage is under such vicious attack and heterosexual, biblical marriage remains one of the world’s most contentious, politicised issues. Sadly, we as believers seem to be the last ones to wake up to this fact…
What should the church be doing?
Obviously we have to help our members prepare for marriage, and there are many good courses that cover topics like intimacy, communication and stewardship etc., but from God’s perspective, I believe,  these are secondary issues.
When two believers say the ‘I do’, they step right a danger zone of savage spiritual combat. And if the Church does not alert couples to the threat and equip them with the tools and skills for spiritual warfare within the context of marriage, we fail them miserably! We need to see the statistical carnage of Christian marriage turned around, and that does not happen through quick-fix, self-help, psycho-babble motivational counsel as found in the secular-humanistic approach.
As His Church we need to wake up to the greater eternal agenda and understand that we have the responsibility to discern and to take spiritual authority over spiritual assignments. We ought to seek an understanding of why Christ in His High Priestly prayer in John 17 petitioned the Father to impart His Glory for the purpose of conciliation. As couples we need to learn how to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we pray together – and especially for the restoration of His Glory that makes us one. (John 17:22)

What does God want from marriage?
There are two fundamental aspects which apply to marriage as much as it does to the Church. The first one relates to the role of the Holy Spirit; “…for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” 2 Corinthians 3:6 (NIV). The Holy Spirit is the One who helps us to harness the invincible power of spiritual agreement that lies embedded within Christian marriage. This truth ought to take precedence over all else.
The second aspect is that of the relationship itself learning to “abide in Christ” so as to “bear fruit”. In Malachi 2:15 God says that He wants every union to bear “godly offspring”. Every couple needs to understand that the reason God has brought them together is for the purpose of shared mission. The relationship is in fact “… His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” Ephesians 2:10 (NASB).
Every marriage must seek God for a shared understanding of the spiritual legacy they are called to create. If the mission of seeking Christ’s Kingdom becomes priority in marriage, it unlocks the boundless resources of God’s grace for needs to be met in all other spheres.
Unfortunately the primary focus in marriage, and in life generally, has become the banal pursuit of happiness, even for Christians. This sad fact is evidence of the insidious corrupting influence of a secular culture that loves pleasure more than God. Sadly even Christian ministry on marriage tends to hold this ideal of an elusive happiness before us as the lofty goal of marriage. But we cannot continue to tell people that happiness in marriage and life can be achieved through a sum-of-its-parts approach.
What God desires for us in marriage is the pursuit of the contentment and peace that comes only from implicit obedience; that of knowing that we’re doing what God has called us, in particular, to do. Godly offspring refers to us placing the engagement of God’s purpose for our union as our sacred priority. In so doing we enjoy the guarantee of His abiding Presence when His Commission becomes the heart of our mission.

Hypnosis and Yoga Open Hidden Spiritual Doors

Hypnosis and yoga are a couple of mystical practices which have basically become mainstream. Just because a spiritual practice becomes popular however, doesn’t mean that it is safe and beneficial. Many spiritual teachings and practices are dangerous to the soul. This calls for daily discernment and constant vigilance on the part of every Christian.

Opening dangerous spiritual doors
Altered states of consciousness and other mystical practices open doors in the spiritual realm. Once a door is opened, a person becomes vulnerable to any spirits which come through that door. For example, a séance opens a door. So do animal sacrifices and all voodoo rituals as well. Astrology is another spiritual exercise which opens a door. Even something seemingly as innocent as placing a ‘dream-catcher’ above your bed opens a door in the spiritual realm.
A number of years ago a mother heard me talk about dream-catchers. She told me that her daughter had been having nightmares every night for years. She immediately removed the dream-catcher from her daughter’s bed. The first night the dream-catcher came down, the nightmares stopped and never came back. Close the spiritual door and you close off access to unwanted spirits!

Flee from hypnotic trances
Hypnosis is basic to the Eastern religions. Prominent hypnotists have estimated that there are probably over 100 different stages of hypnotic trance. Christians should never allow themselves to be put in a trance, regardless of who is leading you into that mental state of relaxation. No matter what obstacles we face, God will help us if we rely upon Him rather than magical or mystical experiences. It is very dangerous to open hidden spiritual doors through hypnosis.

Do not conform to the world
These doors are ‘hidden’ because they are invisible to the human eye. You also don’t see the spirits that come through these doors. Likewise, you don’t see the Holy Spirit or Jesus when you trust Christ for salvation. Nevertheless, God enters your heart through a door in the spiritual realm the moment you are converted.
The Apostle Paul asked, “Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?” Gal 3:2. There is only one right answer. The Holy Spirit enters a person’s life through the door of Jesus Christ when that person believes the Good News of the Gospel.
Hypnosis operates on the other side of the ledger. As one New Age author put it: “Hypnosis can be an open door to psychic experiences of many kinds.” Born-again believers should never turn to psychic experiences to help them solve a problem. God is our deliverer and our defence. God is not the author of hypnosis.

Protect your mind
Yoga opens hidden spiritual doors as well. The physical exercises of yoga are designed to prepare the body for the spiritual changes which yoga produces. Some of the reported symptoms of a ‘Kundalini Awakening’ through yoga include: itching, burning, cramping, twitching of skin and body, severe emotional mood swings, anxiety, depression, rage, fear and dread, mental confusion, and even paranormal activity.
In short, yoga never produces Christ-centered peace and joy. The Holy Spirit uses the Scriptures and our faith in Christ to produce that good fruit….not the mystical practices of Eastern religions. A person may enter into a séance, hypnosis or yoga with innocent motives. That doesn’t solve the problem. When you open a door to spirits, you place yourself in harm’s way…unless you are turning to the Holy Spirit. No born-again believer should utilise yoga or hypnosis because of the spiritual dangers associated with these practices. Even when facilitated by a ‘professional’, the dangers far outweigh any potential benefits.
Nobel scientist Sir John Eccles said of the human mind that it was ‘a machine that a ghost can operate.’ Altered states of consciousness open doors to various ghosts (spirits). Hypnotism, yoga, and transcendental meditation have always been linked to spiritual darkness.

Test the spirits
The ‘father of hypnotism’ was Franz Anton Mesmer…from whose name we get the word ‘mesmerise’. Mesmer was a practitioner of the occult. He knew how to put people into a trance. It was very similar to the way a medium conducts a séance. Yoga instructors and hypnotists are proficient at mesmerising their followers. Their craft opens hidden spiritual doors whether they realise it or not.
While there is not a ‘demon behind every bush,’ there really are spirits behind every spiritual door. If you open one of these doors, they come right through it. This is why the Bible says: “test the spirits” 1 John 4:1. Evil spirits accompany wrong doctrine…as well as wrong activities. The only Spirit you should seek to guide you is the Holy Spirit. He leads people to repent of their sin and believe in Jesus. He then fills a believer with God’s love and power and with self-control.

Review your actions
If you are out of control today in some area of your life, review your actions to see if you have been opening any doors through sin or specific acts which lead to altered states of consciousness or to anger and rage. Have you been persisting in a particular sin rather than confessing it to God and repenting of it? For example, when you go to bed at night angry with someone, you open a door to evil spirits (Ephesians 4:26,27).
Likewise, you open a door to evil spirits when you dabble with hypnosis or yoga. Those who participate in these activities definitely feel the mysterious energy because the spiritual energy is real – it’s just not from God.
God will use a minister and other Christians to bless your soul. As they share the Gospel and God’s Word with you, a transformation will take place. Believe God’s Word. Trust in Jesus. Flee from activities associated with mediums, the occult, and Eastern religions. God will bless your soul if you choose to rely upon Christ to be your Provider and Redeemer.
Jesus said, “I am the Door. Whoever enters through Me will be saved.” John 10:9. Jesus will never hypnotise you. He will never lead you through physical exercises aimed at bringing spiritual enlightenment. He will simply speak the truth to you, exercising your mind in healthy ways, and He will forgive your sins and give you eternal life.

Don’t be fooled by hidden spirits
Any door other than Christ is just a cheap imitation, and any other practitioner will only open doors for spirits they are incapable of controlling. Even when these folks mean well, they simply don’t have the ability to protect you from the spirits they deliver to your soul. In fact, some of these practitioners have no idea they are opening doors through their enchanting craft.
In those instances, the spirits remain as hidden as the doors they use to enter a person’s mental and spiritual surroundings – surprise, surprise! You didn’t really think the devil and his legions would show up in a red suit with a pitchfork, did you? 
Dan Delzell

Stop Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is an organised criminal industry that affects every nation. While the statistics can seem overwhelming, it is important to remember that every number represents the life of a victim. It is estimated that up to one million people are trafficked across borders annually, with many more trafficked internally in their own countries. It is not just something you see in a movie. It is not over dramatised or over exaggerated…and it is far from finished.
South Africa is a hotspot
Across Southern Africa today, men, women and children are being deceived. Struggling to survive in situations of destitution, they are promised jobs that seem to offer life- lines, but merely mark the beginning of their exploitation.
Not one of the cultures in South Africa claim to condone the abuse of women and children, yet we’ve reached such a state of moral depravity that a recent study shows that one in every four South African men admits to having raped a woman.
Defining human trafficking
Human trafficking is the process of recruitment and transportation of people by means of deception or force for the purpose of exploitation. This exploitation most commonly involves forced prostitution, but victims are also trafficked for bonded labour and domestic servitude. Victims can be men, women or children.
The process of trafficking
Sometimes girls are told there are good jobs in the city. They are lured from their homes with the promise of work; often it is friends and even family members who offer to pay for the travelling costs, passports and accommodation.
The community allows the trafficker to take these girls because they think it is a good opportunity. The traffickers also promise clothes, jewellery and expensive gifts.
Some traffickers put adverts in newspapers promising good jobs, training and accommodation. The opportunity offered to the girls does not exist and they are tricked.

When a girl arrives at the new job, the trafficker asks her to give her ID or passport for safe keeping. The girl thinks it is the right thing to do. If the girl is from another country, she can now not prove that she is legally in the country.
This makes her too scared to go to the police. She is now without her papers and also doesn’t have the job that she was promised.
What the traffickers then do is they tell the girl she owes them money because they paid for everything she needed. These girls are told, you must pay the money back by working as a prostitute. If she resists, the trafficker will beat and rape her. The trafficker will even take away her food and water. Sadly, even if she starts working as a prostitute, the money she makes is never enough to pay back the trafficker.
Shamed into silence
In order to keep the crime quiet, the trafficker tells the girl that they will hurt her family if she tells someone what they are doing. If the girl has a child, the trafficker will keep the child from her as a bargaining tool to force her into prostitution.
The trafficker never takes his eye off the girl (or women). The girl is taken everywhere and she is never left alone. She now has to do everything the trafficker tells her to do.
The life of a prostitute is soul destroying. The traffickers give the girl drugs so that she will do what they tell her to do. The girl starts taking drugs all the time to take the pain away; forcing her into addiction.
A global snapshot
Greece is known as ‘the centre of trafficking in Europe. A primary destination and transit country for human trafficking, Greece is the primary gateway for trafficked victims to enter the European Union, host to 90% of all EU illegal immigration.
Ukraine is a source country for trafficked women, and is currently one of the largest exporters of women not just to the European Union, but also to the Middle East and South East Asia. The “exotic beauty” of Ukrainian and Russian women has made them the most valuable commodities in the current international sex trade. Bulgaria is a source country for human trafficking and to a lessor extent a transit and destination country for women and children trafficked into the sex slave industry, as well as forced labour of men, women and children.
What you can do
In South Africa the statistics are equally as dismal, as our country is a source, destination and transit hotspot for traffick victims. However, STOP (a registered Christian charity), together with several other like-minded organisations are working toward alleviating, preventing and rescuing victims of trafficking.
You can help by supporting them, educating yourself and spreading the word. You can also invite STOP to speak at your school or church.
For more info please email: 
By: Jackie Georgiou