What is global indifference? "Global" seems obvious. It means: universal or across the world. However, "indifference" is bit more difficult to put your finger on. The simplest definition I have seen is: "of no importance or value one way or the other," according to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary. When it comes to children across the world, indifference should never even be an option.
Someone that agrees with this statement is Carl Ralston, the founder of Remember Nhu, an organization that, according to Ralston, "exists to prevent children from ever entering the sex trade around the world." Ralston is traveling to Ashland University Feb. 7; his evening presentation is at 7 p.m. in the Hawkins-Conard Student Center auditorium. Two short, seven-minute films will be shown and a Q & A will be hosted afterwards.
Ralston will be talking about his multi-international program as well as how scary it can be for children across the world.
Finding out about the horrible conditions on a trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand, Nov. 14, 2003, Ralston and his wife decided to commit themselves to the fight against sex slave trade of children. "Remember Nhu" became an official non-profit organization in Feb. 2005 and opened its first children's home in January 2007.
Ralston has dedicated his entire life to this cause.
"When I first started I just knew I wanted to do whatever I could to stop children being used in the sex trade," Ralson said. "Within a year or so I felt working had no meaning for me and I had to focus on Remember Nhu."
He believed so much in his organization, he and his wife moved to Asia in order to "be on the ground," as Ralston put it.
So, why Remember Nhu? What or who is Nhu? This incredible story started with Nhu, a 12-year-old girl that was sold into the sex trade by her grandmother. Ralston took his first trip to try and find Nhu in September, 2004, but it wasn't until two years later that his mission came to a happy end.
"In September, 2006 Nhu became the first official employee of Remember Nhu. I found her after...taking 6 trips to Cambodia to look for her. Now, Nhu calls my wife and I, ‘Mom and Dad.'"
Students can find Nhu's testimony about what it was like being sold into the sex trade at www.remembernhu.org, under the section "In Her Words."
According to the Remember Nhu website, the four objectives of the organization are:
1. Meeting physical needs: "Children with little to no shelter or food and not even basic medical care are at risk of being sold."
2. Meeting educational needs: "When honest, sustained work is an actual possibility, the financial allure of the sex trade industry lessens immensely. A quality education and/or practical vocational training gives children the means to opportunities for a future."
3. Meeting emotional needs: "Children disconnected from the loving care of concerned, responsible adults are at risk."
4. Meeting spiritual needs: "Children deprived of any real, lasting hope are at risk. When introduced to the incomparable love of Jesus Christ, children are introduced to a new and accurate vision of themselves: that they are of deep, intrinsic, and eternal value."
Though Remember Nhu has its own spiritual beliefs, it does not discriminate against a child of "a different religion, worldview or persuasion." Ralston is deeply committed to all children vulnerable to the sex trade and sincerely will take anyone he can.
Many US citizens today believe in an isolationist role for our country, and that we should take care of our own before reaching out to others. However, Ralston makes a point to the contrary.
"The U.S. makes up of about 4.3% of the world's population and its children represent about 1.2% of the children that fall prey to the sex trade. In some areas in Asian countries more than 40% of the children fall prey to the sex trade. Also, the U.S. protects its children through social workers, guidance counselors, foster care, the courts and etcetera. Some Asian countries lack these protections for their children."
Ralston enjoys speaking engagements in order to promote his cause, having already spoken at 20 events and over 100 churches.
Speaking at AU is a great opportunity, because, "It seems people your age are interested in seeing child sex trafficking stopped more than any other age group," according to Ralston.
AU already has a human trafficking awareness group but there is always more students can do. Ralston offers words of encouragement, saying: "Start a Remember Nhu College Chapter, raise awareness, raise funds and dedicate [your] lives to preventing children from ever entering the sex trade."
Ralston is an inspiring example of the kind of compassion that often seems missing in today's world. He and his wife see the unconditional love and vulnerability in a child, and use that as motivation for their work. They prove that no matter where you are in the world, children should always come first.