Tell me a little about yourself? Where are you from, what are you doing, what are 3 of your most favorite things? I am from the small town of West Union Ohio! There are more cows that live in my town than people..but I love it! I am currently about to go into my senior year at Ohio Christian University, and I am majoring in Business Management. I have a blast attending school at OCU and living with my 2 best friends and roommates Josie and Orline! I am in love with all things Christmas!! It’s the best time of year and I’m a firm believer that it should be celebrated all year round! I’m also a huge fan of dogs and I love sunflowers!
When did you first feel a drawing to trafficking victims? I first heard about Human Trafficking at Ichthus, the Christian music festival, in 2008. I was 13 years old at the time and I heard a speaker talking about young girls my age and younger being sold and bought by men. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and I remember being very upset by the thought. I thought about that message a lot and tried to put it out of my mind several times because of how upset it made me feel. I knew it was on my mind and heart for a reason so I would always pray for God to deliver those girls whenever it would come into my mind. I never thought I would be able to do anything about this tragic crime, until I came to OCU and heard a chapel message about The Stand for Freedom. The Stand for Freedom is a 24 hour stand to raise awareness about Human Trafficking and money to combat against it. International Justice Missions is a Christian, human rights organization that founded The Stand and does so many amazing things to combat Human Trafficking. They do everything from directly rescuing the girls from brothels and these terrible places they are kept and sold from, defending them in court and getting their sellers prosecuted, all the way through to after care and counseling! I took a huge interest in International Justice Missions because when I heard about everything they do it matched up exactly with what I wanted to do in my heart but had no idea how I would ever achieve. I believe that God brought me to OCU to learn that with Him nothing is impossible and He has plans for our lives that are far greater than anything we can imagine. I never imaged I would be able to actually do things to combat Human Trafficking, but I’m so thankful that through God I am able to! This year I got to serve as the president of A Heart for Justice – The IJM Campus Chapter Club. Through this club, we planned the 4th annual Stand for Freedom at OCU and raised money for IJM to continue their fight against Human Trafficking.
What is human trafficking, who does it affect and what are the stats? Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. It involves controlling a person through threats and abuse, force, and fraud to exploit the victim for forced labor, sexual exploitation, or both. There are 37 million people who are trapped in this slavery in our world today. 50% of that number is children. The form of human trafficking that I first heard about is called sex trafficking. This is when young girls and women are kidnapped, drugged and forced into prostitution. Human Trafficking effects many different ages and types of people. Mostly young girls and women, the average age of them getting forced into it being 11 to 14 years old.
What can I do to help? There are many things that you can do to help! The first thing that I always ask people to do is to pray. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 God tells us to pray continually. Our God is a God of healing and deliverance. He is completely able to deliver all the victims of Human Trafficking. We should pray daily for these victims to be rescued, to have healing and to have peace. We should also pray for all the people who are working for IJM and other amazing organizations that are fighting for these victims. We should pray they have strength, stay in tune to The Lord and are able to make breakthroughs and rescue those who are enslaved. We should also pray for the traffickers and the buyers. This one can be a little hard because we are so mad at them for what they are doing to these innocent people, but we must pray for them and ask for God to convict and change their hearts and help them to turn from this terrible lifestyle. I have heard testimonies of men who used to be sellers of women, who have encountered The Lord and turned from that lifestyle to now working to rescue these women. May we never forget, God can do anything!! Another thing that you can do would be to raise awareness in your local area about Human Trafficking. There are still many people that do not know how prevalent it is. By you spreading awareness you could spark a passion in someone to fight against it. There is a lot of information that you could get online to share with people. You could even hold a small event to teach people about it or a prayer group to pray against it.
There are also many amazing organizations that combat human trafficking that you can get in touch with to work with or donate money to. International Justice Missions has a great website that gives you many ways to advocate for them and be on their team to end trafficking. Along with them, Red Cross has many events to raise awareness that you could help with, The A21 Campaign has a lot you can get involved with to help, and there are even brands that you can buy from that use their money to combat Human Trafficking! Some of these brands are Good Paper, Malia Designs, Starfish Project, Women at Risk Jewelry, and Isanctuary jewelry