The cause behind the lobster claws |

The cause behind the lobster claws

Samantha PalGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

CARBONDALE, Colo. As the Last Minute String Band plays upbeat music just a tent or so away, Jeff Brodsky, founder of JOY International, fights back tears as he explains his mission to save children from the worst of fates – child prostitution.He gets funding for his nonprofit organization by selling $30 Maine lobster dinners at Carbondale’s Music and Lobster Fest.”I told my wife, ‘Honey, if we get enough funds out of this we need to take a trip to Cambodia or Thailand because it’s so bad there,'” says Brodsky.When asked if people had responded favorably to their mission, or if they know where their money is going, Brodsky’s wife, Gail Brodsky, says, “People are enjoying the music and the food and all the festivities.”Jeff Brodsky wishes more people would help.On JOY International’s Web site, a quote from Albert Einstein is poignantly placed below information about their Safe Harbor Project to help rescue child sex slaves:

“The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don’t do anything about it.””The Angelina Jolies of the world get so much attention for adopting a child,” says Brodsky, “when right down the street from them are children being forced into prostitution, living in brothels.”Brodsky knows that speaking about child sex slaves is taboo, saying that corporations he has asked to help refuse because they don’t want to be associated with those words.But these children aren’t prostitutes, Brodsky says, because prostitution is a choice.”They don’t have a choice,” says Brodsky.”The thought of what happens to one of those children tears me apart,” says Brodsky. “It doesn’t make sense to me why people aren’t doing more.”Brodsky has been working to help children since 1979, in countries all over Asia, Africa, and Central and South America.

He says his friend called him one day and told him about children who were living in a garbage dump in Venezuela.”They burrowed holes and lived inside the trash,” says Brodsky. “We were able to get over 200 of them out.”Brodsky says JOY worked with an organization based out of Florida to build a home for the children in Maracay, Venezuela, complete with a school and medical center.He got the chance to meet Mother Theresa in the late ’70s when she invited him into her home. Brodsky says she told him about her work, saying, “We give them dignity before their death.””I think about a child prostitute who’s going to die of AIDS or a drug overdose, and if anyone needs dignity it’s them,” says Brodsky.”Where there’s breath, there’s hope,” Brodsky says. “Hope physically, emotionally and spiritually.”Brodsky says that the rehabilitation of an older child who has experienced life as a sex slave is challenging because all trust is lost. They assume they’re just going from one brothel to the next.

“It takes a while for them to figure out that they’re actually free,” says Brodsky.Trying to raise funds to save child sex slaves is hard, Brodsky says, so that’s why they sell lobster dinners.”I actually hate doing this,” says Brodsky. “I’d rather be in the middle of Cambodia or Thailand trying to get a child out of a brothel.”But Brodsky will take whatever help he can get, and will use it to spread joy to more children.For more information or to donate, visit Samantha Pal:

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