OM workers get green light for new HIV program

By August 8, 2013

Zambia (MNN) — Lake Tanganyika is the longest and second-deepest freshwater lake in the world, and it's surrounded by four countries: Burundi, DR Congo, Tanzania, and Zambia.

On the shores of Lake Tanganyika, there's not a lot keeping kids in school. In Zambia, there are few opportunities for employment if and when a child finishes school; commercial fishing, cross-border trading, and subsistence farming are primary drivers of the economy.

According to Operation Mobilization, young boys are lured away from their education by commercial fishing, and girls are drawn into the sex trade.

Girls as young as 12 years old become prostitutes in the port town of Mpulugu. The town's high volume of traffic and low cost of living makes it attractive to sex workers, says a UN report.

In a profile of Zambia on the U.S. State Department's 2013 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, "Zambian boys and girls are recruited into prostitution by women formerly engaged in prostitution….Women and children from Malawi and Mozambique are forced into labor or prostitution after arriving in Zambia."

As a result of the high prevalence of prostitution, HIV infections are common. According to last year's human rights report from the U.S. State Department, Zambia has approximately 1.1 million HIV/AIDS orphans under the age of 18.

OM Zambia is fighting the pervasiveness of this disease in Lake Tanganyika communities with a new program. OM workers are teaching people about God's love and His plan for their lives through HIV testing and education.

Praise God for the favor these workers have already received: permissions they need to do medical work in this region have just been granted. Pray that many in Zambia will turn to Christ through this program.

OM Zambia sent its first team to work in the villages surrounding Lake Tanganyika in 2005. Called the "Good News II," this team established a base in Mpulugu.

Read more about OM's work in Zambia and Lake Tanganyika.

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