(Yes, times three!)

Last week we received the amazing news that a third conviction has been achieved for our client, *Laura.  I first mentioned Laura’s case in a June blog post and at that point only two of here perpetrators, who were her neighbors, had been convicted.  For nearly two years, IJM has worked with the police prosecutor to represent Laura in as she fought to hold her three abusers accountable for their crimes.  Finally, justice has been secured.

Laura’s case was difficult for many reasons, the first of which is the fact that the perpetrator who was convicted this week is Laura’s own father, who with great impunity abused his daughter for several years after the death of her mother.  Second, the medical report from the government doctor offered contradictory evidence to that of the hospital where she was treated by, shockingly, stating there were no signs of rape or sexual intercourse.  The testimony of the government doctor can carry great weight in a Nairobi court of law, and because of this IJM advocates were unsure whether he would be set free.  They worked tirelessly in this case to ensure that in the court of law the truth would weigh more than lies, and their hard work has paid off.

There have also been personal complications.  In the two years since Laura and her brother and sister were removed from their father’s home, great reconciliation has taken place between the siblings, especially Laura and her brother.  While Laura was living through hell each night, her brother saw their father’s doting on his daughter during the day as a sign of favoritism and paternal affection that he had never known – and he despised his sister for it.  Immediately after the truth was revealed, Laura’s brother was angry with his sister for what he perceived as tearing apart the family and refused to believe his father was guilty of rape.  Through the hard work of our Aftercare team counseling the children, they have come to a place of acceptance of the truth and love for one another despite all they have been through.  They have now been reunited and are living together in a children’s home near their grandparents and other relatives.

[Photo: Laura with her siblings playing near the banana trees in their home.]

For all of the tragedy in Laura’s story, abuse, neglect, apathy and impunity, I see how God is working a miracle in the lives of these children.  I had an opportunity to spend time with them earlier this week, photographing them for a profile that will be done on their case later in the year.  Even now, as I look through the photographs I am struck by the extent to which Laura’s smile sparkles.  Where I might expect bleakness, I see beauty.  Where I might expect standoffishness, I hear her warm laugh and saw tender innocence that makes your heart melt when you meet her.  Where I might expect insecurity, I found confidence I know she draws from the knowledge that she is now in a place where no one can hurt her.  It proves to me that God can take the worst of the very worst things in life and redeem them.  He will turn them into something new, something that glorifies Him.

“Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)

[Photo: Laura]
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Yesterday, IJM completed a National Call-in Day for the Child Protection Compact Act (CPCA). Thanks to voices raised around the country, the CPCA was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (S. 3184) yesterday afternoon!  This urgently needed legislation would help eradicate child trafficking in target countries around the world.

Your voice is important!  The CPCA will now move to the Senate floor for a full vote and I’d urge you to take three minutes and call your Senators to ask them to vote YES on this important piece of legislation.

IJM Institute has even made the process simple with a link to find out  who your senators are (Type in your state in the upper right corner and then look for the “contact” section on your senators’ websites.) and a sample script to make the call.

There are a lot of things you could do in three minutes.

Will all of them have a global impact?

From ijm.org:

“The Child Protection Compact Act, which was introduced in the House on June 5 by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), will provide assistance to select “focus countries” through the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (G/TIP). These focus countries will receive support in building public justice systems that effectively investigate crimes against children and prosecute perpetrators in numbers sufficient to deter and eventually eliminate the crime. The legislation also authorizes increased assistance for care of survivors of trafficking.

On March 25, 2010, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sam Brown back (R-KS) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a similar bill in the Senate, called the Child Protection Compact Act (S.3184), legislation designed to increase U.S. support to eradicate child trafficking in countries that have the will to end the crime but lack resources.”

To learn more about the CPCA please visit www.ijm.org/justicecampaigns/cpca.

Thanks!