On April 5th, I was a part of a human trafficking awareness event at the Manadarin United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, Fl. The event was organized by Nancy Rushton, the President of the Mandarin United Methodist women. Nancy has been doing so many things to educate the Methodist Women about trafficking and modern-day slavery!
Here is the table that I set up for this event. I baked brownies and I created a new cookie recipe, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. I planned on making my signature cookie, Delightful Oatmeal Cookie, but I ran out of AP flour and I forgot to buy raisins! I ended up using whole wheat flour instead and they came out really good!! I also had samples of the Fair Trade ingredients that I use, set up on the table. Of course all of my ingredients are organic!
There were a lot of other tables set up by various organizations that are operating in Northeast Florida.
My friend Robin Rossmanith had a table set up for her website, Shop To Stop Slavery. Her website is an awesome resource for consumers to find products that are ethically produced and slave-free. You can find things from sports equipment to jewelry on her site. It is really helpful for holiday shopping ideas!
Reading For Awareness is a book club that Nancy has started as a way to engage the members of the community and raise awareness about slavery.
These are a few of the books that were there. Gary Haugen from International Justice Mission and David Batstone from Not For Sale wrote several of the books in this selection.
City Rescue Mission is located in Jacksonville and they focus on helping the homeless get off of the streets and get their lives in order. The homeless are the most vulnerable for being trafficked into slave labor and sex-trafficking.
Jacksonville has a Refugee Services Program through DCF, the Division of Children and Families. This service helps victims of trafficking receive the help they need to stay in the country, if they are foreigners and they help survivors locate services to help them become contributing members of society, from medical care, to housing, and jobs.
World Relief Jacksonville works with DCF and other government agencies to provide refugees and survivors of trafficking with various services. World Relief in a world-wide agency that does some amazing things to help those oppressed by others.
I didn't get a picture of the Made By Survivors table :-( but Sarah Symons, Executive Director and Founder set up a table as well. Made By Survivors provides women in India and elsewhere around the world the opportunity to be gainfully employed and learn a trade in order to provide for their families. This gives these women a chance to get out of the cycle of poverty and out of a life in brothels and red light districts.
Last but certainly not least is Transitions Global. Seth Johnson, their Jacksonville Advocacy Director, set up this table. Transitions provides aftercare to girls rescued from trafficking in Cambodia. They also provide support and a template for other organizations that establish aftercare facilities in other countries. They do amazing work and have a very high success rate for rehabilitating these children from the pain and suffering they endured in the sex slave trade.
I didn't get a picture of the guest speaker, Crystal Freed. She is a lawyer here in Jacksonville and a integral part of the Northeast Florida Human Trafficking Task Force, NFHTTF. She is an effective communicator about the plight of sex-trafficking victims. She participates in speaking engagements around the city of Jacksonville and she works tirelessly to inform and educate others about being vigilant and observant to what is going on around them. Crystal encourages the community to work together to protect children from predators and to spread the word about trafficking. Here is a news story about Crystal and the NFHTTF
I feel honored to have been invited to share in this event. The people that are a part of this community of abolitionists here in Jacksonville are awesome and inspiring. There are other organizations that were not represented there but they are all doing some amazing work!
Remember, together we can make a difference!