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Blog

Surprised by Hope

Lindsey Malcolm

By Seema D.

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I have been supporting International Sanctuary since January 2009. International Sanctuary empowers survivors of human trafficking through a unique model integrated employment, education, healthcare, and community.

Growing up, my parents could never provide me with answers to my troubling observations as we visited India. Not until I was 18 did I realize the atrocity of human trafficking, that girls were being sold for sex. Since having my two daughters, I have become even more passionate about fighting for women’s rights.

For years, I have heard about the courageous young women escaping human trafficking and imagined a time when I would meet them. Finally, this past summer, I was able to meet them face to face in Mumbai, India.

The Sanctuary, however, was not at all what I expected. Walking in, I anticipated a heaviness which you would expect in an environment fostering healing from trauma. Instead, I experienced joy, hope, and a spirit of bold confidence.

I had the opportunity to teach a Life Skills & Professionalism session in The Academy, their 3-year educational program. The session included a Q&A on cultural barriers and how to overcome them. I was able to share with them a bit about my beliefs and perspectives, and encourage them in their growth and development. Many of the girls expressed challenges that they were currently experiencing and discussed ways to work through them.

I also had the opportunity to sit down in the workshop and have one of the young women teach me how to make a piece of jewelry. We bonded as she demonstrated the skills needed to handcraft such beautiful creations. I gained incredible respect for the determination required to hone her craft.

It was an honor to be able to meet 25 of my new sisters and become their Didi; I look forward to returning.

The Gratitude Series: Mexico

Lindsey Malcolm

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As the Gratitude Series continues, we turn our focus to Tijuana, Mexico. We are so thankful our work has taken us south of the border, just 100 miles from our headquarters in Irvine, California. Did you know the U.S.-Mexico San Ysidro border crossing in Tijuana is the busiest border crossing in the world? Did you know it's also a gateway for human trafficking?

Tijuana is home to Zona Norte, the largest red light district in North America. Estimates of more than 500 girls are working in one of the city's largest brothels. These numbers are staggering, but emphasize why International Sanctuary must have a presence in Tijuana. The need is enormous and we are prepared to face the challenges, but we can't do it without your help! 

Our Tijuana Sanctuary will be the recipient of our Giving Tuesday campaign. Every donation given will go directly toward increasing our resources in this Sanctuary. When you give financial support, you'll help a girl escaping human trafficking discover a better, brighter future through healing, training, and love. We believe in these young women, and we know you do too. 

We give thanks for the tremendous work that has already been accomplished in Tijuana: the partnerships that have been formed, the beautiful space we can offer the young women, the welcoming of our first participants, the local community that has embraced our mission. And this time next year, we'll be grateful for the wonderful faces who fill the Sanctuary with love, laughter, and joy...all because you gave on Giving Tuesday 2017. 

GIVE NOW TO HELP INVITE MORE GIRLS INTO THE MEXICO SANCTUARY. 

Traditions

Lindsey Malcolm

For many families, Thanksgiving is a celebration built on traditions. Whether it’s Grandmother’s dressing, the family Turkey Trot, or all of the cousins packing up the leftovers and heading out for the Black Friday early bird specials, the anticipation and joy that comes with each ritual is a great way to kick off the Holiday Season.

Some of the International Sanctuary staff and volunteers shared their favorite Thanksgiving traditions:

“Our family goes around the table and we all say one thing that so are very thankful for in that year.”

“My mom and grandma always have a glass of sparkling wine with raspberries the night before while cooking!”

“My family immigrated from China to the U.S., so Thanksgiving for us means the whole family getting together to cook - everyone bringing their favorite recipes and we all create unique, Chinese dishes. Last year, I made the turkey and, instead of traditional stuffing, we filled it with rice and veggies. It was so good!”

“I grew up overseas, so we would always invite other military members over to our house for Thanksgiving, especially those who had just arrived and their families hadn’t come over yet.”

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Thanksgiving is an American holiday, but at the heart of it lies family, love, and peace, the very things our girls are discovering within the walls of our Sanctuaries around the world. It is not uncommon for these young women to share meals together and bond over the joys and struggles of everyday life. For some who did not have family or friends before International Sanctuary, they now have a safe, loving community where they belong.

What are your traditions? Head over to our Facebook page and share your favorite Thanksgiving activities!

The Gratitude Series: India

Lindsey Malcolm

It can be hard to be grateful for growth, especially when it’s filled with challenges, discomfort, and “try-agains”, but when it comes to the progress that’s coming out of the Mumbai, India Sanctuary, it’s almost impossible to be anything other than amazed.

We launched The Academy in the summer of 2016. By recognizing each woman’s potential alongside her current limitations, we provide academic instruction and learning support that not only prepares our girls to reach educational milestones, but also encourages them to think critically, problem solve, and cultivate proactive self- development practices. Half of their workday is spent developing their academic abilities, personal strengths, and professional skills in structured classes; the other half is dedicated to applying their learning in the workplace where they are employed making jewelry. Though we thought we’d see a decrease in production, with focused intention, one-on-one check-ins, and daily goals, here’s what happened:

  • Jewelry production actually doubled
  • 2,106 hours of educational instruction were provided
  • Students’ English reading rose by an average of 5.8 reading levels (U.S. Common Core)
  • Students mastered 71% of grade 4 Hindi (per India’s State Board (NCERT) Standards)
  • 100% in The Academy feel they have what they need in order to study

“I used to think I was very dumb, I didn’t even know simply math. And then I used to get frustrated. But our teacher in The Academy would encourage me and give this look like ‘You can do it!’ It built confidence in myself. And now, I can do multiplication, division, medians and mean. Those subjects were very difficult for me, very difficult, but now I can do those things.”
-a student in The Academy

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It’s hard for us to imagine life without the ability to read, write, or do basic math, but for so many that enter our Sanctuary, that’s reality. We knew we had to address this issue in order to give our girls their best chance at long-term success, so The Academy was born. We are enormously grateful for Pritish, our award-winning teacher with a heart for our mission, for the countless hours that went into the planning and execution to make this dream a reality, and for our volunteers who so joyfully give their time to students as they learn.

Did you know you can volunteer as an online tutor for students in The Academy? Once a week, you can give an hour of your time to help improve a student’s English speaking, reading, and comprehension. You don’t need any teaching experience, so if you’re willing to help, able to commit for 8 weeks, and ready to go through the orientation, email jackie@isanctuary.org.

The Gratitude Series: Uganda

Lindsey Malcolm

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Not too long ago, in Spring 2017, we welcomed our first cohort into the Kampala, Uganda Sanctuary. A culture of support, perseverance, and joy must be established for long-term success and, over the last few weeks and months, we’ve seen proof that these seeds have taken root.

Each week, we receive an update from our Program Coordinator in Kampala and with every email, we are overwhelmed with gratitude. Here are some of the excerpts and reasons we give thanks for what is happening in Uganda:

“I wanted to stop, but, Mary, she believed in me. She kept working until I succeeded.” -a participant who struggled making the Mira Cuff and was encouraged and coached by her fellow participant, Mary, for hours under the mango tree

“During the last storm, the power went out and we were all huddled around two small desks with a couple of flashlights; the participants seemed to feel a lot more comfortable with us in such close quarters. They spent the day asking us all kinds of questions: Does it snow in the U.S.? Have we ever seen a bear? Do bears eat people? What do animals eat when everything is covered in snow? They’ve heard that in Alaska, there are sometimes days without night. Is it true? How do people know when to sleep, when to go to work? It was a pretty fun day!” -Emily, our program coordinator

“When we first started making Olivia earrings, everyone was terrible at them and got really frustrated. I saved everyone's first attempt in a little bag with their names attached. After we'd been making them successfully for several days, I handed the first attempts back and everyone had a good laugh at how bad they were. At the end of the day, we asked what they learned and a few of them drew lessons about how it's important to keep with something, even when it’s difficult.” -Emily, our program coordinator

“I enjoy it when things are easy, and when they're hard. When they're hard, I learn and improve my skills; when they're easy, I feel good about how quickly I finished something.” -a woman rebuilding her life in the Kampala, Uganda Sanctuary

“My birthday was yesterday. Several of the participants surprised me with cards, which was sweet and totally unexpected. After lunch, a bunch of them disappeared. We started to wonder if we were going to have give a lecture about attendance, when suddenly they came in singing Happy Birthday, dancing, and showering my head with flower petals.”
-Emily, our program coordinator

During this season of gratitude, we hope you’ll join us in giving thanks that support, perseverance, and joy are alive and well in the Uganda Sanctuary.

If you’re interested in keeping up with the goings on in the Uganda Sanctuary, email ashleymccully@isanctuary.org and she will add you to our Uganda email list.

The Power of Volunteering

Lindsey Malcolm

We are actively seeking volunteers this holiday season, so if you and your friends are looking for a place to serve, International Sanctuary has a meaningful opportunity for you! Whether you are local to Orange County and can volunteer time to come into the Sanctuary Support Center or if you’re willing to open your Facebook page to host a virtual trunk show, when you come away from your experience, you will have made a tremendous impact in the fight against human trafficking. That is how powerful our volunteers are!

It could not be easier to take a stand against human trafficking - International Sanctuary will provide you with everything you need to be successful, such as hands-on training at our office or emailing you everything needed to showcase PURPOSE Jewelry to your network on Instagram. All you need to do to make a difference in the life of girls escaping human trafficking is show up!

If you, your friends, or social group would like to spend some time with International Sanctuary, signing up is easy - just click here!

International Sanctuary was happy to welcome a team of volunteers through CarMax Cares, the charitable foundation of the used car retailer giant. Sara, a CarMax employee and International Sanctuary volunteer, shared her thoughts about her most recent volunteer experience:

I choose to volunteer with International Sanctuary not only for the great cause they support, but because you can truly feel the sincerity from all of the people involved in the program. Even though I’ve never met a girl enrolled in the program, I feel a connection with all of them by seeing their hand made jewelry and signed tags and I know that I am directly involved in someone else’s life, thousands of miles away. Being a part of an organization that is so dedicated to changing the world and helping women is a great feeling.

While volunteering, my coworkers and I organized, counted, and inspected jewelry for quality.  It was a great experience bonding with coworkers while supporting PURPOSE Jewelry and International Sanctuary. After we finished up our volunteer time at the office, my coworkers all said how they would love to volunteer again and most of them had already started a wish list of the jewelry they wanted to purchase.

Volunteering with International Sanctuary has always been a fun experience, from helping around the office to going out and actually selling the jewelry at different events, it has given me the opportunity to connect with other great causes and people. This program opened my eyes to the world of human trafficking and I have been able to share my knowledge with friends and family.

If you’d like to host a trunk show (online or in your home), email events@isanctuary.org.

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What Freedom Means To Me

Lindsey Malcolm

Independence Day is one of my favorite holidays simply because it celebrates the fundamental tenant of freedom, something about which I am deeply passionate. 241 years ago, 56 delegates to the Continental Congress signed the most incredible document in our nation’s history, the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

This bold statement that our rights come from our Creator, not from men, is empowering; that we are free to dream and be fueled by ambition is encouraging; that anything less than living in True Freedom is contrary to our purpose, is revolutionary. This is why I am in the fight to end human trafficking.

While this is an American document that spurred the establishment of the United States of America, the role of freedom in life is not limited by our borders and shores. Traffickers rob young women their freedom in places like India, Mexico, and Uganda. Girls in the United States are exploited, manipulated, and abused right here in our city streets. These victims have been endowed by their Creator with the same inalienable rights as you and me, but someone has taken them away through force, fraud, or coercion.

That’s why rescue efforts by our anti-trafficking partners are so crucial. They break the first chains of captivity. I can’t imagine the situation we would be in without their courage and determination.

But what about the emotional and mental chains? How can people escaping trafficking transition from physical freedom to living in True Freedom, where they can make decisions for themselves, develop positive and authentic relationships, be financially stable, and overcome their insecurities? How can they pursue their Happiness?

International Sanctuary. The road to freedom starts when the doors of a Sanctuary open. In these safe, healing communities, young women and girls can find space to learn while surrounded by love and grace. They can establish a career path and become leaders and providers thanks to our social enterprise, Purpose Jewelry.

The 56 men whose names inked on the Declaration of Independence pledged their “Lives, [their] Fortunes, and [their] Sacred Honor” so that their countrymen could live in True Freedom. What can we pledge?

  • Instead of your life, could we have a couple of hours of your time? Host a Trunk Show

  • Instead of your fortunes, would you consider a monthly or one-time gift? Click to Give

  • Instead of your sacred honor, would you introduce 3 friends to International Sanctuary?

Every journey starts with a step - will you walk with me?

This blog was written by Ashley McCully, International Sanctuary’s Development Coordinator

A Father's Day Message from Robert Yi, Chairman of the Board

Lindsey Malcolm

Recently, I was asked why International Sanctuary is so important to me.

In 2005, the moment my first daughter was born, I became a parent. Over the past 12 years… through joys and sorrows, blessings and trials, successes and failures… I’ve been learning how to be a father. And that journey continues.

In the anti-trafficking movement, rescue occurs in a moment. This work of helping people escape trafficking is absolutely critical.

However, the road to recovery is a long, long journey and the global community today is largely unprepared to address this challenge. We need more aftercare centers that provide a supportive community empowering trafficking survivors to embrace and realize their freedom.

International Sanctuary’s unique model of providing long-term, holistic support is proven, successful, and scalable. The organization’s ability to provide dignity and hope is life-changing.

As a father of two young girls, I regularly reflect on how best to help them fully realize their potential with as much joy as possible. It sickens me to know that children around the world have been forcefully robbed of that opportunity.

On this Father’s Day, I challenge all dads out there to act on behalf of the 15 million children being trafficked today. Advocate for freedom and justice. Protect those who are the most vulnerable.

Find and support International Sanctuary or another anti-trafficking organization with your time, expertise, or giving. As fathers, our children are our greatest pride… let’s live today with the goal of being theirs.

Happy Mother's Day

Lindsey Malcolm

She is strong. She is kind. She is patient. She is resilient. She has unconditional love. Oh, and did I mention that she wears a red cape and can make a mean lasagna?

Today's blog is about our amazing, fierce, unstoppable mothers! There is no denying that our mothers deserve (way more than) 24 hours in the year to be celebrated.

The definition of motherhood is more than having a child - it is everything from conception to the end of her time on this earth that encompasses that definition. Motherhood is sleepless nights, it is cradling a sick baby, it is cutting off the crust on a PB&J, kissing the scraped knees...motherhood is the most challenging, rewarding, most self sacrificing thing. Motherhood is nothing short of a miracle.

The women of International Sanctuary play no short part in this role of motherhood. Mary*, a participant from International Sanctuary’s Orange County Professional Opportunities for Survivors of Trafficking (POST) Program shared a few reasons why she loves being a mother of four beautiful children.

“I love when I have been at work all day and when I finally get home, all my kids come running to hug me,” she says. “I live for those moments. Being a mom is not easy but my children are my happiness. Everything I do is for them so they can have a life that I was not able to live. My hopes and dreams for my kids are that they are able to go to a university. The most rewarding thing about being a mom is knowing that my kids love me and need me just as much as I need them.”

I am sure many mothers are reading this blog and can relate to Mary’s love for her children. We all know that being a mom is as rewarding as it is challenging. Here is where you can support more women like Mary by giving your time, talent, donations to iSanctuary or even purchasing Purpose Jewelry (which is fulfilled by iSanctuary’s POST team). Your contribution not only helps our participants, but your contribution has a multi-generational effect. Mary’s success plays a direct part in her children's success.

Someone once shared a beautiful metaphor that encompasses anti-trafficking efforts perfectly. Human trafficking is like a faucet that won’t turn off, all the water falls into a bucket. We are using spoons to try to scoop out water from this bucket, but what we need to do is find a way to turn off the faucet. This Mother’s Day, let us contribute with a collaborative effort to turn off this faucet one step at a time.

*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality

Blog written by Jackie Kong, International Sanctuary Program Coordinator

3 Things You Can Do To Help Today

Lindsey Malcolm

Over the last two days, we’ve shared with you why we’re opening our doors in Kampala, Uganda, explained how the funds we are raising will being spent, and introduced you to our first cohort of survivors.

We are certain our model of economic empowerment will help break the cycle of poverty, escape trafficking forever, and help them build bright futures for themselves and their families.

With 83% unemployment among Ugandan girls and young women, International Sanctuary may be the only employment opportunity available to them; without it, they may be forced, tricked, or sold into slavery. Our research has proven employment is the key to long-term success and total transformation.

With life pulling us in many directions, time has become a most precious resource. Thankfully, technology gives our supporters a path to quick, easy, and secure giving. Also, because of our incredibly generous donor who has agreed to match up to $50,000, taking a few minutes to donate will have twice the impact!

There are 3 powerful things you can do right now to help Bring Freedom to Uganda

  • Give -- So far, donors like you have opened the door of freedom to 33 girls. We still have 7 more invitations to give! Will you help one more begin her journey of healing?

  • Sponsor -- You can walk with our girls every step of the way when you give the gift of true freedom on a regular basis. Our automated system can securely process your payment every month, week, or quarter. Because PURPOSE covers all of the operating expenses, every dollar entrusted to us by our donors goes directly to serve survivors as they rebuild their lives.

  • Share -- After you give, introduce our cause to 3 people and ask them to get involved. Whether you email this blog to your family, post it on Facebook, or text the Bring Freedom to Uganda link to a friend, you can also make a difference by spreading the word!

Meet Our First Cohort in Uganda!

Lindsey Malcolm

Yesterday, we shared why we’re intent on serving survivors in in Uganda. With unemployment at 83%, young Ugandan women are trapped in extreme poverty and are sold, forced, or tricked into slavery every day. Today, you may find yourself asking who exactly are we serving and how is your donation being spent?

Let us introduce you to our first cohort:

Adia  *  Anana  *  Agatha

Maha  *  Matina  *  Momina

Pamela  *  Primrose  *  Prema  *  Semira

These ten girls have come to International Sanctuary in search of a safe, healing workplace community where they can learn transferrable job skills and have meaningful employment. Our partner in Uganda, Willow International, has been providing for their immediate care needs and is recommending each of them for our program.

When a girl is invited to participate in our program, she is provided with a workspace (which keeps her out of a trafficker’s reach), tools and materials to make beautiful, hand-crafted jewelry, training and instruction from an experienced International Sanctuary mentor, issued the appropriate licenses, certificates, and permits to work, and (most importantly) a fair wage to put her on the path to financial freedom.

The first 40 invitations require $3,750 each. After the first 40 girls go through the program, the Sanctuary is entirely sustainable, meaning the sales through PURPOSE Jewelry can cover the operation costs for the duration of the program. 40 invitations at $3,750 each means $150,000 is needed to open a Sanctuary and bring it to sustainability.

As you can see from our Bring Freedom to Uganda thermometer, we almost have what it will take to run the Sanctuary until the jewelry sales can sustain it. Remember, a very generous donor has agreed to match up to $50,000 in donations so when you give $250 today, it could really be $500! If you have the ability to give $3,750 and open the door of true freedom to one girl, the match can open another door to another survivor.

Bring Freedom to Uganda today and help her

  • Break the cycle of poverty

  • Escape trafficking forever

  • Build a better future for herself and her family

Bring Freedom to Uganda

Lindsey Malcolm

Did you know International Sanctuary is raising money to open our doors in Kampala, Uganda? Our campaign is called Bring Freedom to Uganda and we have raised $121,400 of our $150,000 goal!

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While trafficking varies in every country due to government, culture, and economy, the trauma suffered by the victims is largely the same. Here in southern California, we serve survivors of trafficking who have large gaps in their education, do not have any way of supporting themselves financially, and escaped trafficking feeling broken, isolated, and rejected. The girls 9,394 miles away in Kampala feel the same way.

Ugandan girls and young women suffer from 83% unemployment. Trapped in extreme poverty without any employment opportunities, they are highly vulnerable to be exploited or sold, forced, or tricked into slavery. Not only do trafficking victims in the world come from Uganda, there are also victims who manage to escape while passing through the country en route to other places. 

Human trafficking is a global issue, affecting every country in the world. When we see this injustice, we can’t help but feel like we should do something, but it can be tough to know where to start.

There are 3 powerful things you can do right now to help Bring Freedom to Uganda:

  • Give -- A very generous donor has agreed to match all donations up to $50,000 so that means your contribution can pack twice the punch! Technology has made it so easy to give, that you can make a meaningful difference in a matter of minutes.

  • Sponsor -- If you’d like to give the gift of true freedom on a regular basis, our automated system can securely process your payment every month, week, or quarter. Because PURPOSE covers all of the operating expenses, every dollar entrusted to us by our donors goes directly to serve survivors as they rebuild their lives.

  • Share -- After you give, introduce our cause to 3 people and ask them to get involved. Whether you email this blog to your family, post it on Facebook, or text the Bring Freedom to Uganda link to a friend, you can also make a difference by spreading the word!

When you join us in this fight, you will save and transform lives. Your involvement can mean a bright future not just for a survivor, but for her daughter, her family, and her community. Together, we can prevent these girls from being trafficked across international borders into places like the Middle East and Asia, even farther from their homes and from the hope they so desperately need. You are a force for change in this world  - you can do something big!

Click here to Bring Freedom to Uganda today.

It's National Volunteer Week!

Lindsey Malcolm

When I was asked to write a short piece on why I volunteer, I thought that's easy - it's because I enjoy it. I enjoy the atmosphere and the camaraderie at the office. I enjoy the work, be it packing or unpacking for events, inventory counts, or working events. And there is my favorite, counting in the shipments of jewelry from overseas - it's like Christmas for me.

But as I thought about it, I realized there is so much more to what iSanctuary means to me. It isn't that I get a sense of a great calling - my part is one of support more than of saving the world, and somewhat menial support at that. I'm not anywhere near the front lines of rescue, or of giving physical, legal, or emotional support to the trafficking survivors. But it is the small tasks and gestures that are the most meaningful.

It is working with a woman in the Professional Opportunities for Survivors of Trafficking (POST) program as she sets up her first checking account. It is explaining what an offer of a credit card means. It is assisting with studying for a driver's license test, knowing that that license will bring mobility and independence.  

In the wake of trauma, there are difficult situations that survivors must face; I have to remind myself that my job isn't to fix any of these women's lives. I am just a part of helping them with daily choices that can ultimately lead to a life of true freedom.

I started volunteering with an altruistic attitude of "helping". I had time to donate, and a desire to "be a part of something bigger than me." I have come to realize that what I gain is always so much more than I can give. The community and friendship offered by both the staff and the POST participants is something I treasure. While my life had great meaning and purpose before I volunteered, that has been magnified through volunteering. Every time I leave the office or an event, each staff member gives me a genuine "thank you". But I have to respond, "No, thank you for letting me partner with an enterprise so filled with love and hope."  

Authored by Kathy K., International Sanctuary and PURPOSE Jewelry Volunteer

We are so thankful for Kathy's willingness to share her heart for serving. One of our core values at International Sanctuary is "Heart to Serve" and volunteers bring so much of that to our organization. As we mark time to celebrate those who so selflessly give, we would like to thank all of our volunteers for their service, passion, and perspective!

If you'd like to join our wonderful group of volunteers, email getinvolved@isanctuary.org.

It's International Women's Day!

Lindsey Malcolm

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In 2011, I had the privilege to be amongst women from Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East, the United States, and North Africa for a conference I was coordinating. A few days into the conference, I went to breakfast and every woman I encountered was wishing me, "Happy Women’s Day!" I was confused at first because, honestly, I had never heard this before. It turns, out, it was in fact International Women’s Day, celebrated on March 8 every single year. In that moment, I googled the “day” and read the history attached to it. As a college student studying Gender & Women Studies as a minor, I felt pretty ashamed I hadn’t heard of this! As the day continued I joined in the well-wishes to each woman I encountered.  

It was beautiful: a woman from across the globe bringing awareness to me so then I, too, could share with others love, value, and worth through the simplicity of a phrase, “Happy Women’s Day!” You guessed it, today is International Women’s Day! Today we celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women! No matter how big or small, today we celebrate. We must celebrate today, to be a giant megaphone to each other, to our friends, family, men and women alike, shouting from the rooftops bringing dignity to those whose has been stripped away. Human trafficking affects millions of women in every country of the world. Let us not miss today as an opportunity to be bold for them!

What can you do to help victims of human trafficking today?

1.    Tell Someone – Call, text, email, post on social media, just get the word out to your friends and family that today is a day to recognize women for their value and worth.
2.    Thank Her – Consider saying "thank you" to a woman who has made a difference in your life by purchasing a piece of jewelry that’s been hand-crafted by a survivor of human trafficking. By shopping with PURPOSE Jewelry, you’re supporting efforts to keep these survivors employed and at much lower risk of being forced back into trafficking.
3.    Give Freedom – Did you know we’re opening a Sanctuary in Uganda? Girls and young women who have escaped trafficking in Kampala will have a safe, healing place to rebuild their lives – you can help us open the doors!

Written by Chelsea Maietta, Community Involvement Coordinator for International Sanctuary

She needed help.

Lindsey Malcolm

Little did she know when she boarded a flight from Seattle to San Francisco that Sheila Fredrick would become somebody’s hero. The Alaska Airlines flight attendant trained by Airlines Ambassadors International, an organization that has teamed up with the airline industry to protect vulnerable children knew the signs of what to look for.  Shelia was empowered to act when she saw a disheveled girl traveling with an older, well-groomed man. Something wasn't right.

And it wasn't.

Using a note in a lavatory, Shelia was able to discreetly communicate with the teen. When the flight attendant retrieved the note that read "I need help", she acted at once. Police were waiting when the flight landed. The girl was taken to a safe location and the man transporting her was taken into custody. 

This is a perfect example of the tremendous work our partners in the anti-trafficking realm are doing every day: training people to spot the signs, know how to act, and be a force for positive change. We are privileged to work along side these organizations to provide restorative and holistic care those those escaping trafficking.

Shelia, thanks for showing us that one person can truly make a difference!

Image from NBC News. 

Image from NBC News. 

But I'm just one person...

Lindsey Malcolm

How many times have you looked at a problem so big that you actually felt helpless against it? When we look at human trafficking - 45.8 million people being bought and sold in the world today -- it seems insurmountable. It seems too big for just one person...

"I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will."
-Edward Everett Hale

You are one person, and so am I. Your favorite barista, the UPS guy, the person who cuts your hair - they're each one person, too. But together, we have better odds! Suddenly, we've gone from one person to five people. Five people can raise $1,000. Five people can reach hundreds, maybe thousands on Facebook. Five people can fundamentally transform the lives of human trafficking survivors.

What if we were a team of 10? 50? 200??
Imagine the impact we could have!

Individuals are powerful beings. We all have stories. We are motivated by different things. We have different friends, different communities, different lives. And that is what makes the individual amazing: an enormous power contained in a single heart waiting to be ignited by a common cause. 

What's your story? How did you get involved in the fight against human trafficking? Do you give freedom through raising awareness, financial support, buying jewelry

Harness your power and build your team. Who are the 5 people you will share your story with? Take your story and share it with your friends on social media or via email - tell them why you care, and ask them to join your team. Set a goal and rally your team to achieve it!

Help us build a community dedicated to empowerment, freedom, and change. Together, we'll move mountains. Together, we can put an end to human trafficking.