I once read that the "most precious jewels we will have around our necks are the arms of our children." God has entrusted these precious souls to us. Oh, what a blessing they are! Yet every day we read of another headline on child abuse.
When looking at the FBI website about crimes against children today, we read, "It's nearly unthinkable, but every year thousands of children become victims of crime -- whether it's through kidnappings, violent attacks, sexual abuse, or online predators."
Here are some recent headlines... and I do mean recent. On January 27th alone, the following crimes against children became headlines:
Kansas City: Columbia Missouri man sentenced to 20 Years for Child Pornography
New York: New York Man Convicted of Sex Trafficking of Minors
Orlando: Former Teacher Sentenced to 210 Years for Sexually Exploiting Children
Denver: FBI arrests two Child Traffickers and recovers six minors during 2015 National Western Stock Show.
Albuquerque: Prior Sex offender pleads guilty again to Federal Child pornography Charges
Jacksonville: Orange Park Man sentenced for Possession of Child Pornography
Chicago: Former Sycamore Resident Pleads Guilty to Child Porn Charges
One of our own Utah residents, Elizabeth Smart, has lived this abuse. In discussing the night of her abduction with CNN, she related:
He said, "I have a knife at your neck, don't make a sound, get up, and come with me"... And then I remember getting up and going with him, and then on the way through my house he bent over to my ear again and said, "If you make any sound, if you do anything that causes any attention or causes someone to come, I not only will kill you, but I will kill anyone who tries to stop me."
If you are like me, you normally associate child trafficking and some of these egregious crimes with third world countries. However, they are happening right here in our own neighborhoods.
No child, and I mean NO CHILD, should ever hear those chilling words. Child abductions are a huge problem. Here are 10 Quick Tips for Parents I picked up on AlertID.com
- Know where your children are and whom they are with at all times
- Always accompany your children to public restrooms
- Teach your children to not accept rides and/or gifts from stranger
- Agree on a simple code word for emergencies
- Teach your child how to call the police
- Promote an environment where your child feels comfortable speaking with you
- Check with your local law enforcement to see if there are sexual offenders in your area.
- Tell your children about child abductions in simple and easy terms
- Avoid clothing and toys with your child's name on it. A child will not fear someone that knows their name.
- Teach your child to recognize suspicious behavior and tell you about it
I have some dear friends that are trying to do something to prevent crimes against children and I want to support their efforts fully. Carl Bacon, Ed Smart, and their teams are presenting a benefit concert for the Elizabeth Smart Foundation at Utah Valley University on March 14, 2015 and it is titled the "Utah's Stars and Friends" benefit concert. It will feature Alfie Boe, the preeminent Jean Val Jean from Les Mis and recent soloist with Mormon Tabernacle Choir. He will be the lead act along with some of the best commentators, performers, and musicians conceivable including, but not limited to, Larry King, Shawn King, Lexi Walker (who has 60 million YouTube hits), the Center Stage Dancers, One Voice Children's choir, Kurt Bestor, Sam Cardon, Ben Hale, Kendra Lowe, and the Ray Smith Orchestra. Proceeds will benefit the Elizabeth Smart Foundation and Operation Underground Railroad, both of which bring hope to children and families by trying to eliminate crimes against children.
This will be a fantastic evening and I encourage all who read these words to actively support the effort. You can learn more about this spectacular evening by going here: http://utahsstars.com/about.html.
Deepak Chopra once said:
"We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity."
We share this life journey with our children. Let's ensure they enjoy this parenthesis in eternity.