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9-9-09: Born 2 Fly's "Twitterthon" to Fight Child Slavery and Trafficking

Born 2 Fly staff : Sep 1, 2009 : Born2Fly Project

"The real shock was to learn that child trafficking is not just across the globe but also across the street. The problem has grown so bad in my own city of Orlando, Florida, that we now have a human trafficking coalition as well as a prayer group that focuses specifically on the problem." -Diana Scimone

(Orlando, Florida)—A Florida-based journalist turned abolitionist recently named in Huffington Post as one of the "Top 10 Women Warriors of Twitter" has launched "09-09-09" —a one-day Twitterthon initiative happening on September 9, 2009, to raise funds to fight child trafficking.

Born2Fly ProjectDiana Scimone, a veteran journalist who has chronicled the $9.5 billion-a-year human trafficking industry for years, founded the non-profit Born to Fly International to help end child slavery. Scimone's 09-09-09 Twitterthon goal is for 9,000 people to give $9 each—the $81,000 needed to start printing a new child-trafficking awareness book and curriculum by Scimone and illustrator Leah Wiedemer. "Each year more than a million children are lured into slavery around the world," Scimone said. "Imagine what a dent we can make in the trafficking pipeline if we educate kids and their parents about the tactics traffickers use before they show up at their doorstep."

While there are many reasons why a child may be trafficked (sadly, some are knowingly sold into slavery by their parents), Born to Fly works specifically to educate the millions of children and parents who are lured into slavery by false promises of "employment" and a better life for a child. The centerpiece of the Born to Fly project is a picture book—wordless so it doesn't have to be translated into hundreds of languages—that teaches children to make wise choices. A companion curriculum will reinforce the important concepts in the book.

The curriculum and book illustrations are nearly complete. The final layout is scheduled for October. If enough funds are raised, printing will start in December. Born to Fly will then ship to a waiting list of schools, missions and aid organizations in North America and as far away as Ghana, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, India and Bulgaria. Scimone, a woman of faith who has a vast network of Christian NGO's from her years as a correspondent, will partner with both secular and faith-based organizations to get the critical material in the hands of those who need it most. "Our goal is to give the books away without charge, of course. So we are counting on our crowd-funding (the Twitterthon) to help get this done."

Born to Fly International founder and director Diana Scimone is a journalist who has traveled to more than 40 countries including Sudan, Zimbabwe, Thailand, China and India.

"As a journalist I've seen a lot," says Scimone. "I've been to a refugee camp in Sudan, an orphanage overflowing with "throw-away" kids in China, and a home for AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe. Nothing, however, prepared me for what I saw in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India: cages that held little girls—some as young as 5 years old—smuggled in from Nepal.

"That's when I first learned about the global child sex trade and began to write about it. On that trip I interviewed a young teenager whose boyfriend had drugged her and sold her to a madam. The stories did not get prettier. In Pattaya, Thailand, I remember a banner hanging over an intersection in the red-light district proclaiming this was 'boys town.' In most areas where child sex slavery flourishes, girls are for sale, but this particular area specialized in young boys.

"I've stood at border crossings into Cambodia and Myanmar, knowing that children were trafficked across the border along with cattle, chickens, and rice. The real shock was to learn that child trafficking is not just across the globe but also across the street. The problem has grown so bad in my own city of Orlando, Florida, that we now have a human trafficking coalition as well as a prayer group that focuses specifically on the problem."

How can people everywhere help in the battle against child trafficking and slavery? Enter the 09-09-09 Twitterthon.

The Born to Fly Project 09-09-09 Twitterthon Challenge:

Donate: Go to www.born2fly.org and use the orange Chip-in button to donate $9.
Twitter: Tweet about it. Follow @09_09_09. Add a Twibbon after you've donated.
Email: Tell 9 people about 09-09-09 and send them to www.born2fly.org where they can donate via the Chip-in button.
Blog: Post about 09-09-09. Include the logo and a link to www.born2fly.org.
Facebook: Talk about 09-09-09; include a link to www.born2fly.org.
Updates: Check Diana Scimone's blog for the latest: www.dianascimone.com

For more about the Born to Fly Project, visit www.born2fly.org.







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