Recently I had the priviledge of asking Jocelyn a few questions about Slavery No More and how they are working to abolish modern day slavery.
How did you become aware of modern day slavery and human trafficking? I first became deeply aware and moved to action when watching a Leadership Summit DVD that featured Gary Haugen, President of International Justice Mission. As he showed photos of their clients, I began to see my own nieces and nephews, cousins, friends, and it became personal.
How did Slavery No More come about? Slavery No More was something my husband, and Co-Founder, had felt led to do many years ago, but we hesitated because we felt there were so many under resourced anti-trafficking agencies, but after years of operating as a Community Based Organization, it was time to formalize it into a non-profit that existed to support the great work that was already being done.
Slavery No More has a desire to be a bridge builder. To bridge law enforcement with non-profits, and people who are doing something to directly rescue and restore victims of human trafficking and slavery to those who have a desire to combat this problem. We truly believe that “awareness becomes compassion when it takes action.” We want to mobilize people from awareness to action, thus showing compassion.
What dreams and hopes do you have for Slavery No More? Our deepest desire is to see modern day slavery abolished- completely abolished on this earth. It would no longer be an organized crime where oppressors take advantage of the weak. We know this doesn’t happen overnight, but we do believe that if enough people do something, even if it’s just one thing, we can collectively see slavery abolished in the 21st century. According to a report by UNICEF in 2001, 27 million people are enslaved today. That’s more than any time in history. We would love to see 27 million people offer their voices, talents, and influence to seeing them freed.
I often hear people express feelings of being overwhelmed by the realty of modern day slavery and as a result they are unclear on how they can help. What action steps do you recommend for those just learning about the enormity of the issue? A house doesn’t move from not existing, to being a house. Foundations are laid, one brick at a time is strategically and properly placed, and each portion of a house can be divided up into parts. That’s what can be done with combating human trafficking. As one educates themselves, they can align their skills and areas of influence to the part of the issue they are passionate about. Slavery No More helps mobilize people into meaningful engagement.
What projects is Slavery No More currently working on that anyone can participate in? On January 26, we are assembling our first 200 Freedom Bags. These first Freedom Bags will be given to 200 victims of human trafficking as they enter an aftercare facility in Southern California. We hope to see the Freedom Bags go all across the nation. One can visit our site about the Freedom Bag Campaign.
February 18, we have a Justice Matters Conference hosted by Calvary Chapel Murrieta. Registration is currently open our site.
May 5 we are co-chairing a benefit dinner for International Justice Mission at the Millennium Biltmore Los Angeles. IJM, in our opinion, is one of the leaders in fighting trafficking.
IJM founder and president Gary Haugen once said, "The victims of injustice in our world do not need our spasm of passion; they need our long obedience in the same direction. They need our legs and lungs of endurance." How do you maintain your long obedience and endurance of your legs and lungs in the fight against slavery? I often think of Alex, a commercially sexually exploited minor I had the privilege of knowing and spending time with. She was trafficked here in the United States, and she was only 16 years old when I started working with her. Her story is sad, yet tragically typical, but her triumph is nothing short of miraculous. Her family wasn’t looking out for her, the people who are supposed to love and protect her. She was groomed by a pimp who promised to meet her needs. She was quickly forced into prostitution and had no way out…but someone took the time to know her story and decided to help her.
What if no one was looking for her, listening for her cry, what would have happened to her? There are an estimated 300,000 children trafficked within the US, many of whom have no one looking for them- that’s what motivates us- finding them. I honestly feel haunted imagining their cries late at night when I’m going to bed. Witnessing their rescue and restoration increases my faith. God is asking us to take back all of what has been taken from the innocent of the world by evil, and giving them back all the riches that God has born them to have.
God has a heart for the weak, the oppressed, and the forgotten. When we take it upon ourselves to respond to God’s invitation to participate in their rescue and restoration is when you truly see His power, mercy, and His people at work. Sometimes our willingness to go into pain and search in the darkness is when healing and light shine the most.
In what ways can we help prevent human trafficking today? Get Informed- Learn all you can about the issue. There are a lot of great resources on our website Store written by professionals in the field. Learn about the non-profits that are doing something to end human trafficking, and then take that first step- get involved in one of their campaigns and initiatives, or start attending and supporting their events.
Become an Abolitionist- Talk about it. Tell your family and friends what you are learning and why you want to see it put to an end. Some feel that bringing about awareness is nothing, but a supervisor for the LAPD increased my conviction that awareness IS prevention and awareness IS rescue. Often times the victims are too traumatized to testify, but if there is a witness, someone in the public that saw something and said something, that could be the one witness that could move a case forward. Also, an educated juror means everything to the victim because they understand the type of trauma and manipulation they have been under, and truly see them as a victim.
Are you part of the problem? Many don’t realize that they may perpetuate the problem. The sexualization of our culture has made many people numb to the fact that women are abused every single day. Pornography is a highway to human trafficking. Photos and videos aren’t just created out of thin air, people, who are often children, are tortured and abused to create them. Do you know the age of the one you are looking at? Do you truly know the age of the one you are purchasing a sexual favor from? Are you a responsible consumer? Seeking to purchase Fair Trade items as a regular practice?
Support Freedom- Finances is what allows programs to exist. Investing in the rescue and restoration of victims of human trafficking and slavery is the best investment you can make. Also, become a responsible consumer. Visit our Products That Free page on our website to proactively shop fair trade*, which ensures what you consume is not created by slaves, thus decreasing the demand and providing economic stability and dignity for the workers on the other end.
The national human trafficking hotline is 888-3737-888. If you see something, say something- a slave’s life may depend on it.
*Video by Trade as One featured on Products that free webpage.