Over ten years I ago, I watched a Dateline report on the trafficking of children. I was horrified. My eyes were opened to a human plight that I could not look away from. In the days that followed, I prayed myself to sleep for the millions of little girls trapped in brothels. Because of the vastness of this issue, I didn’t know where to start, but I knew I had to do something. I asked God to connect me with a reputable organization already doing something about this unspeakable crime against humanity, not to mention, innocent little children. Approximately ten years ago, I spoke at a conference in which Sara Groves performed and shared her gift of music. Our product tables were side by side, and through that divine interaction, my husband and I learned about the work of International Justice Mission.
International Justice Mission is a human rights agency that secures justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression. IJM lawyers, investigators and aftercare professionals work with local governments to ensure victim rescue, to prosecute perpetrators and to strengthen the community and civic factors that promote functioning public justice systems.
IJM’s justice professionals work in their communities in 12 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to secure tangible and sustainable protection of national laws through local court systems.
- Human trafficking is the world’s third largest criminal
- enterprise, after drugs and weapons. (U.S. Department of State)
- Worldwide, there are nearly two million children in the
- commercial sex trade. (UNICEF)
- There are an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 children, women
- and men trafficked across international borders annually.
- (U.S. Department of State)
- Approximately 80 percent of human trafficking victims are women
- and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors. (U.S. Department of State)
- The total market value of illicit human trafficking is estimated to
- be in excess of $32 billion. (U.N.)
- Sex trafficking is an engine of the global AIDS epidemic.
- (U.S. Department of State)
- (*Information taken from the IJM website)
Our Justice Journey:
My husband Kevin and I served alongside Troy and Sara Groves as co-chairs for the Minnesota IJM Benefit from 2008-2012. On March 30th of 2009, Troy, Sara, Kevin and I had the privilege of going to Capitol Hill and lobbying for legislation to end the trafficking and slavery of children. We've also traveled to Guatemala to meet with government officials and to observe the impact of IJM’s work there.
Check out my book Embracing Your Freedom:
Since we are literally free, may we be totally free. May we pursue God and the freedom He offers and live the abundant life to which we are called. And in amidst our journey towards wholeness and freedom, may we become freedom fighters for those without a voice. Her freedom and your freedom. They both inspired me to write the book:”Embracing Your Freedom: A Personal Experience in God’s Heart for Justice.” Want to be challenged to a deeper walk of faith and a greater view of God’s heart for the world? Please check it out. I believe you’ll be inspired and challenged!
50% of the Author’s royalties for ‘Embracing Your Freedom’ will go to International Justice Mission.
For more information on the work of International Justice Mission, go to:
Our Friends at IJM:
Through hard work, unfathomable bravery, and the provision and protection of God, our friends at IJM are seeing miraculous results around the world. Lives are saved; whole communities are rescued from bonded slavery, children are being rescued and restored, and perpetrators are being brought to justice. While most of us tend to cower or hide from the world’s bullies, IJM confronts them and rescues those who are desperate for an advocate.
Slave and sex traffickers callously refer to their victims as disposable people. They abduct, bully, or buy men, woman, and children, to use, abuse, and discard at their whim. These precious souls bear the mark of our Creator. They were made in His image. And as my friend Sara Groves often says, “This isn’t about charity, or about stepping in out of the bigness of our hearts. This is about justice. This isn’t right. These people are valuable, just as we are; they are made in God’s image and we must speak up on their behalf.”
Isaiah 1:17 calls us to: Seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow. This is exactly what our friends at IJM do every single day. My life is forever changed because of the work and the impact of International Justice Mission. Each and every one of us can do something. Be a voice. Pray earnestly. Give out of your resources. Educate others. Bring perspective to conversations. Be an advocate for justice.