Suriname (MNN) — Sex trafficking numbers are on the rise in Suriname. With the swell has come an inevitable increase in HIV/AIDS cases.
Suriname has become sort of a hub for sex trafficking across South America. Since many believe they are less likely to contract HIV from a child than from an adult, child prostitution is also on the rise. Within this poor country, many youth transition easily from vending on the streets to prostitution.
As a result, statistics on HIV are high in Suriname. "At this moment, we heard about 3.5 percent of youngsters (being 6,000 people in a population of 490,000)," says Jan Otter speaking of HIV rates in Suriname. Unofficial figures increase the statistic to at least five percent.
Otter, the Biblica Netherlands Director, says Biblica is doing what they can to see that these numbers do not explode any further. Biblica has just launched its Reach 4 Life program in Suriname, in which they delivered 20,000 books to educate youth on the risks of HIV/AIDS.
The books are distributed through local churches and schools. Otter says the Minister of Health in Suriname is considering making Reach 4 Life a permanent in-school program.
What makes the program unique is its biblical focus. Reach 4 Life books are more accurately deemed Reach 4 Life New Testaments and include 40 Bible studies designed to disciple youth. The main priority of the books is really to share the Gospel with students, while accurately informing them about the reality of HIV/AIDS.
As the Reach 4 Life program reaches youth in Suriname, the number of HIV/AIDS contractions may go down, along with the number of youth involved in prostitution. As they become more educated about risks and, more importantly, Jesus Christ, their lives and choices will undoubtedly begin to change.
Biblica has already implemented this program in several other countries and has observed its effectiveness. The program in Suriname hopefully will have a similar effect.
Otter asks first and foremost for prayer. "Pray that the youngsters may be touched by the Word of God and that they discover that the God of the Bible is the real and living God."
It only costs $3 to print and distribute a Reach 4 Life New Testament. If you would like to participate in bringing God's Word and freedom to young teens, click here.