Tag Archives: human trafficking

Love Does.

This September, I will be flying to the Philippines for one year to work with International Justice Mission (IJM) as their Communications Intern. This internship is unpaid, so I’m still trying to raise support for living expenses.

If any of you would like to join me in this journey and partner with me financially, you can donate here

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IJM is a human rights agency whose mission is to protect people from violent forces of injustice by securing rescue and restoration for victims and ensuring public justice systems work for the poor (for more information, visit
www.ijm.org). IJM’s work in the Philippines involves child sexual exploitation and trafficking. They work hard to defend and protect these children’s human rights and to restore to them their liberty and dignity. 
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Sometimes the passions closest to your heart are the hardest to put into words. I feel like they’ll lose their weight once I let them go—like I can’t do them justice.  So, I’ll do my best and I’ll keep it simple:

Why am I going to the Philippines for a year to work with IJM?

Because: Love does.

I’ve spent a good number of years being sad about the 29 million slaves in the world. I’ve cried in documentaries and newspaper columns and I’ve felt racked with guilt over my comparatively easy and privileged life.

But I haven’t seen my tears or my guilt change one single thing or free one single slave.

The other day I was sharing the statistics of sex trafficking with a friend. “The average age of entrance into prostitution in the United States is 12 to 14 years old.” “Nearly 2 million children are exploited in the commercial sex trade worldwide.”

He paused… took it in, and said, “That makes me really angry.”

And in that moment, my heart beat a little faster, because that’s what we need—not toxic anger or hate towards the pimps or traffickers, but an anger that looks at the brokenness of this world and says “It shouldn’t be this way.” It’s an anger that feels others’ pain strongly enough to do something about it.

Gary Haugen, the executive director of International Justice Mission said, “God has a plan to help bring justice to the world — and his plan is us.”

Haugen Quote

I’ve seen the need for justice in this world. I’ve looked into the eyes of a girl my own age as she told me how she was forced into prostitution. I held back tears and watched hers fall as she told me how she still struggles finding the will to wake up every morning.

I’ve read and heard the stories of the young girls in the Philippines who have had their childhood and innocence stolen as they’re forced to work in brothels every single day. I can’t just brush off these stories and move on unchanged. I’ve asked myself why it wasn’t me too many times. I still don’t know why, but as I hear these stories, I know why my heart breaks and I know why I feel it beat faster inside my chest.

… Because I have to do something about this.

I know not everyone is supposed to do what I’m doing. I firmly believe that we are all given our own unique passions and gifts. However, I do feel that when there is something that makes our hearts beat faster, when a passion is laid so closely on our hearts that we are stirred to action for people we have never met; we’re not just supposed to ignore it and move on.

And as a Christian, I believe with all my heart that Jesus left his home and laid down his life so I could live. And as much as I can, I want to try and do the same. It is for freedom, that I have been set free.

So, this September I am going to the Philippines to work with IJM for a year, and I’m going to help give what I can—as little as it is. Because I believe in justice and freedom and a God who loves the people most abandoned by this world. And I don’t believe that love simply feels sadness, pity or guilt. I believe that love goes and I believe that love does.

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O Holy Night’s Call for Justice

“Chains will he break/ for the slave is our brother/ and in his name/ all oppression shall cease…” -O Holy Night

O Holy Night has always been one of my favorite Christmas carols. Every lyric resonates within me–the hope for a weary world, the discovery of the worth of our soul, the birth of our Savior. The message of the song is incredible, but there’s one line I always gloss over.

When I used to sing “chains will he break, for the slave is our brother,” I would think back to hundreds of years ago. I would think back to slavery in America in the 17th and 18th century. I would sing the lines, not with a hope for the future, but with a thankfulness for what seemed to be a problem solved–an issue of the past. However, the problem is not solved. An estimated 27 million slaves are in bondage around the world today. And it’s not just somewhere else. It’s here. It’s in the U.S. It’s in Los Angeles. It’s not even just people from other countries. Girls from Los Angeles neighborhoods–girls you may have gone to school with–are forced into sex slavery every day. 

It’s so, so much more common than anyone realizes. The majority of those prostitutes you see out on the streets in Los Angeles are not there by choice. They are forced through physical and mental manipulation. They have what is called, “a chain around the brain.” Oppression and slavery exist today, all around us; it’s just hidden. Because we don’t see the physical chains, we sing the lyrics to ‘O Holy Night’ with a quick glance to our past and a brief recollection of the images we saw in our history books.

However, as I’m realizing the weight and the magnitude of this problem–of this evil–I realize the weight of these words. This problem seems so overwhelming. It’s so easy to get discouraged in the face of all we have to do. It feels as if nothing can change. That’s when these words resonate with me. “Chains shall he break.” I can’t do this on my own, we can do this on our own–but we’re not on our own. We have Jesus. He’s alive and he’s always with us.

Christmas this year is a reminder to me that he was here. Jesus took on human flesh and became one of us to save us, to set us free. He came once, and he is coming back again. One day, tears will be no more, injustice will be no more; and we will all be free.

In his name, all oppression shall cease. 

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” -Revelation 22:20

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