I’ve said it before, but it still stands true: I am so grateful to be part of a Christian community here on campus that puts love into action and works for social justice, both locally and abroad. Being in a community that not only prays for people (which is still super valuable), but also gets their hands dirty and invests in improving their life now– that’s invaluable. This semester, we once again had the opportunity to raise money during a week we call “Loose Change to Loosen Chains.” Throughout the week, we table in the Union and outside Dale Hall, collecting change for and spreading the word about an organization working to fight human trafficking. This week culminates with a speaker from the organization coming in place of our Thursday night large group Bible study and sharing about their work. It’s always a really powerful event, and we draw people from across walks of life on campus to unite around one common philosophy: you can’t put a price tag on a person, and everyone deserves freedom.
This year we partnered with the organization She is Safe. This non-profit works in eight countries or regions around the world to prevent and stop human trafficking. They do so through a four-step approach: first, identify the vulnerable and determine what makes them vulnerable. Is it lack of employment, education, extreme poverty, or a combination? Second, partner with local women, churches, and non-profits. With the support of these groups, She is Safe is able to cross cultural boundaries and garner support from local governments and other powerful decision-makers. Additionally, these groups are empowered by the training and support they receive, which is powerful since many women were victims of trafficking themselves. Third, She is Safe equips both Country Directors and local partners with the resources to see the success of the work so far and to share it with others to build a community of support. Finally, She is Safe works to evaluate the measures taken in an innovative and effective way to ensure progress that will last for many generations.
It was an honor to get to learn firsthand about their work around the globe from a leader who was herself a victim of trafficking. Too many times, there is a disconnect between those who want to help and the victims themselves. It was powerful to hear how Michele Rickett’s personal experiences moved her to action on behalf of girls everywhere. She is working not only to “save” them, but to empower them to become leaders and change agents themselves.