Have you ever wondered how you can do something about human trafficking? Maybe you’ve grown increasingly aware of the injustice of slavery in the world, but have no idea how to join the fight. After all, you’re just one person. And there are already many great organizations working to fight human trafficking. But rescuing and rehabilitating those who have been exploited takes money. Working to put offenders away takes resources too. One valuable way we can join in this work is by donating funds to those doing the ground work. Here are three inspiring stories of ordinary people who are using what they have to generate funds to donate to the cause of ending slavery. I hope they inspire you!
A Dream Maker
A Dream Maker began in the household of stay-at-home mom of 3, Alisa Sherman, with a passion to end human trafficking.
“I decided one day to ask myself what I have in my hands that could bring change. I love creating, designing, taking what one thinks is trash and making a treasure out of it. I realized that every drop helps and if we all do a little, together it does a lot! I hoped one day that my creations could help bring funds to anti-trafficking efforts.”
About 8 years ago, Alisa began designing and making items in her home for the boutique industry in Portland where she lives. As people bought her designs, a portion went to a transition home for rescued trafficked children. Her designs included adorable original baby clothes, often made from repurposed material.
The idea of a coalition formed when many people began to ask her how they too could get involved. Many felt that they didn’t have any practical skills to contribute or were already running a household and raising children. A belief began to expand, reinvigorating the notion that although it was impossible for any one person to start a major organization alone, together, real change could be possible.
A Dream Maker’s creations have expanded too. Kids clothes are still a major selling feature, but they also have vintage and repurposed household decor items. They sell them in boutiques in Portland as well as online at their Etsy shop. A Dream Maker also partners with Red Door Reclaimed in selling at booths in fairs and markets. Proceeds go primarily to human trafficking efforts in Europe through Freedom 61 and Virsavia Project.
Make A Stand
At just 8 years old, Vivienne Harr’s story became famous when she started a lemonade stand with the goal of raising money to free children in slavery. “On may 5, 2012, I saw a picture of two enslaved boys with big rocks strapped across their heads. To feel better, they were holding hands. I never knew about slavery, but I knew it was wrong. I decided to make a stand for them,” writes Vivienne on her blog, My Make A Stand.
“Compassion is not compassion without action,” is Vivienne’s motto. She vowed to sell lemonade at her stand every day, rain or shine, until she reached $100,000! She began selling her lemonade for $2 but later decided it should be “free because every child should be free.” Her average sale went up to $18, with one person paying $1000 for a glass of lemonade. On day 173 she reached her goal of $100,000 and donated the money to Not For Sale. Her parents congratulated her for reaching her goal and being done. But she responded, “Is slavery done?” When they shook their heads, she added, “Then I am not done.”
Vivienne decided to keep going for a full year. Her story was covered by prominent newspapers and tweeted around the world. On day 366, her stand moved online and Make A Stand Lemon-aid was bottled and sold in stores. Since then, she has also written a children’s book called Make a Stand: When Life Gives You Lemons, Change the World!
Scrap Cars Not Kids
When Chris and Jane Wiens became aware of child exploitation and sex trafficking, they knew they had to do something. Along with close friend and business partner, Brian Falls, they founded Just Right Recycling, a social enterprise, as well as Scrap Cars Not Kids, a registered Canadian charity located in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia.
“Our eyes were opened to an issue that we knew we had to do something about, so we took my industrial skilled background and wove it together with a cause and we came up with this great idea,” says Chris. “We would launch a charity that raised awareness of the issue and then took automobiles and other forms of recyclable metals and turned it into support for different projects being run by a few other organizations who already have a strong presence both locally and abroad.”
Since then, Scrap Cars Not Kids has done a variety of projects including participating in an open house event put on by a local company and showing up at expo’s to let people know about their work. They accept car donations as well as scrap metal. Depending on their condition, cars may be scrapped or sold. Either way, proceeds go to help kids.
This passion has also taken Chris and Jane to Mexico. They had the opportunity to be part of a team racing the Baja 500 as a way to raise support and awareness, which would benefit a local children’s home. It was a dream come true.
The goal is to build a basic automotive and mechanical shop on site for the youth. “This has long been a dream of mine,” said Chris, “giving the kids a garage where they can learn basic, marketable skills. These young people can go on to careers that earn them a chance at a stable, productive future.”
As Matt Parker, founder of The Exodus Road puts it, “Justice is in the Hands of the Ordinary.” Each of these inspiring stories exists because ordinary people asked themselves what they had and came up with a way to use it to fight slavery. What skills can you use for good? It’s amazing what you can do with what you already have. Comment with an inspiring story of your own or someone you know. Together, we walk the paths of justice.