Friends, here’s a journey to the Barre-a-thon I thought I would share from when I first joined the blogging team with with anti human trafficking organization, The Exodus Road. You can find the original post on my ithinkagain.com blog here.
A few years ago, right before I launched Tribal Marks (Passion Barre’s parent brand), I started to hear a lot about this “human trafficking thing”, but like with many others, the concept just wasn’t hitting home… until I actually listened. I was listening to Lisa Bevere with Pearl Alliance and she told the story of an undercover visit to a brothel. She spoke of a lady who was trapped in sex slavery and forced labor. We’ll call the lady “Pearl.” Pearl was accustomed to servicing about 40 clients a day while her children waited under the bed. She had concluded that there was no hope for her, but maybe someone could smuggle away her children… if she could just get them into the right hands, that is. She ran after them and almost blew their cover as she called out “Please, take my children.”
I didn’t know when a wail came from within me as I listened. Not just tears or sadness, but a long, painful WAIL! Oddly enough, Lisa had just said this a few weeks before in another one of her podcasts: “It’s not until you wail on behalf of another. It’s not until the plight of another touches you to the core… then will you do something about it.”
I had considered myself an orphan and abuse victim advocate, yet I had never imagined an industry where perpetrators maximized the very worst of this combination. Preying on orphans, “harvesting” babies, and putting children as young as 7 years into sex slavery and pornography while clients from suits to beach bums took advantage of them.
How did women like Pearl get into this bondage? Was she lured with a great “job” offer that would help her take care of her family? Was she sold off by parents or guardians who couldn’t afford basic neccessities? Was she born into it? Or was she simply kidnapped and never heard from again, becoming another soul lost in the sea of about 27 million in captivity.
You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know. ― William Wilberforce
Tribal Marks launched, with the Please TAKE My Children campaign, and the brand I were bound to the cause of Freedom. “Please TAKE My Children”, is the cry of a dead or helpless parent, but ultimately, the heart of God– asking us to steward His creation-His children, and take up their cause as though they were ours, just as He did for us.
Our campaigns have allowed us to raise funds in a creative manner with evenings of art, fashion, food, dance, poetry, friends… and then we channel the funds through allies on the field as we build relationships.
Right before opening up the studio in the Rancho Cucamonga location, I was introduced to The Exodus Road team and fell in love with the coalition’s strategy of intervention; and had the privilege of spending a week with them in South East Asia, blogging about their incredible work. This was life-changing. The Exodus Road is a coalition of covert investigators and organizations working together to fight human trafficking through interventions. They gather legal evidence, support raids and prosecutions, and support aftercare facilities in our network. Read the rest at ithinkagain.com
Freedom has often come, and can only come, as a result of the free becoming distressed by the captivity of the enslaved.
As a coalition also with Pearl Alliance they enable individuals to be an important part of the work of rescue and restoration. A part of raising awareness about human trafficking is being aware not only of the issue, but becoming a part of the solution. Rescue is happening, and it’s happening in the hands of everyday heroes like you and me.
I have since met with more incredible teams since Pearl Alliance and Exodus Road; some of whom we consider featured partners at Passion Barre. Most also have their projects featured under Pearl Alliance, which is fantastic, as we thrive on the principles of partnership and unity.
This season and Human Trafficking Awareness month, we dedicate a lot of time, resources and energy to rescue and freedom, culminating in our Barre-a-thon for Freedom – a series of deliriously liberating Passion Barre classes in one day, free to the community, at a suggested donation. Proceeds from our Barre-a-thon and overall Fight for Freedom 24/7 Giving Challenge go directly to empower our partners’ work in rescuing women and children from slavery.
If you can join us for a Barre class, we’d love to have you. If not, you can still be a part of it. We encourage you to consider giving what you can towards our team goal of funding a raid (to seek, rescue and restore victims; and convict these criminals) this season.
Click here or call 909.276.5442 to register and reserve your spot for a class.
But this is what the Lord says:
“Yes, captives will be taken from warriors, and plunder retrieved from the fierce; I will contend with those who contend with you, and your children I will save. Isaiah 49:25 NIV