Reclaiming Lives – Human Trafficking, Sex Industry & The Daughters of Bulgaria
I am ever amazed at the beauty of a pipe – its briar, its grain pattern, its shape and its story. Each pipe is a singularly, unique expression of creative beauty – of both God and man. Unfortunately, this beauty is often hidden by the rough conditions and/or misuse some pipes have experienced along the way. To restore pipes well, it seems to me that one must see the hidden potential and latent beauty in a dirty, mucky, broken complex of wood, rubber and dried saliva.
Much of our work in Bulgaria, was seeing broken, enslaved, trafficked and sexually exploited women and children, with eyes that can (must) see the hidden beauty and eternal value of these Daughters. The Daughters of Bulgaria is a coalition and legally registered foundation, that seeks to confront the plague of human trafficking and sexual exploitation of Daughters not only in Bulgaria and Europe, but globally. My wife and I gave given much of our lives to this effort and I have dedicated The Pipe Steward to the tasks of raising awareness of the Daughters – of human trafficking and of funds to help. A large portion of the proceeds from the sale of pipes is used to advance the work of the Daughters of Bulgaria – one life at a time, one pipe at a time. For more information about the Daughters of Bulgaria, go to www.DaughtersOfBulgaria.org.
In 2011, my daughter was aspiring to be an artist under the tutelage of a well-known Bulgarian artist. At age 17, she was very aware of the work we did with the Daughters of Bulgaria and the troubling realities we faced. She wanted her painting to capture the experience of the ‘Daughters’ on the streets of Bulgaria – those enslaved to prostitution and often trafficked throughout Europe. Bulgaria is widely known for the beauty of its roses and the commercial production and distribution of rose products such as creams and soaps throughout Europe. Unfortunately, Bulgaria is also known as a major supplier of girls for the European and global sex industry.
Her creation seeks to convey how the love, care and value extended to these vulnerable Daughters enslaved on the streets of Bulgaria, are held in the delicate and fragile embrace of the rose with the grim reminder of the thorns nearby.