International (MNN) — Dresses and human trafficking. What do they have in common?
"Giving the girl a new dress not only makes her feel so great and valued, but it makes her look less like a victim for the would-be predators," says Rachel Eggum Cinader of Hope for Women International.
To give vulnerable girls dignity and protect them from traffickers, Hope for Women International started a project called "Dress a Girl around the World."
It mobilizes people around the world to sew dresses from pillowcases and fabric. Dresses are then donated to ministries who distribute them in places of need. Along with helping girls appear less vulnerable, there's also a tag attached to each dress.
This shows traffickers the little girl is being looked after by an organization, Cinader says.
"We don't have any stats to back up [the statement]: 'We've saved this many girls from being trafficked.' But we feel like if it saves one girl, it's worth it," states Cinader.
The Ships Ministry of Operation Mobilization recently came alongside the project and asked for 10,000 hand-made dresses. Logos Hope crew members spent an afternoon sorting the dresses by size in preparation for them to be given away. Cinader and a team of seven were then flown to Cambodia, where the ship was docked for ministry.
There, the "Dress a Girl" team and 25 Logos Hope crew members worked side-by-side to distribute dresses. It was a daunting task.
On their first day in Cambodia, Cinader says the teams met 2,000 children. She told crew members to focus on each girl in front of them, not the thousands more needing a dress.
"Drape that dress, put it right over whatever she's wearing, kneel before her, tell her that God loves her, and then say a little prayer over her," she instructs.
Each child was also given Christian literature from OM, Cinader adds. Pray that each girl who received a dress would come to understand God's love for her. Ask the Lord to use these dresses to protect girls from traffickers.
You can help replicate this in your own community. Click here to learn more about "Dress A Girl Around the World" and how you can get involved.