International (MNN) — Imagine how much good $32 billion could do. It could bring food to the starving, end poverty in deprived areas, and save millions of lives.
Yet according to Borgen Project, $32 billion is the amount of money generating the forced labor and sex slavery industry every year.
The Freedom Challenge
Yesterday, we talked about how Operation Mobilization’s Freedom Challenge is saving those stuck in or at risk of modern day slavery. Millions of dollars have been raised to prevent further slavery and rescue and restore women and children who have experienced it firsthand.
OM’s Tina Yeager is the U.S. director of the Freedom Challenge. She explains that 55 developmental projects are chipping away at the $32 billion industry.
With funds from climbs, the Freedom Challenge offers schooling, after school programs, and meal plans in order to educate women and kids on their privileges and worth.
Further, the Freedom Challenge opens doors for vocational training, giving women a chance to earn a living by doing hair, sewing, working on computers, etc. It all adds up to building a brighter, safer future to prevent at-risk people from falling into slavery.
A number of women and children have been rescued from slavery through the Freedom Challenge’s efforts and are now being restored with counseling and self-help groups. Classes are vital to women and children’s growth, but the Gospel is even more so.
“We truly believe unless Jesus is a part of that healing process, it is very insignificant.”
So who are the women being saved?
Not surprisingly, refugees have become specifically victimized over recent years. They’re in a vulnerable place and are easily persuaded to make a quick buck for the provision of their family.
The Freedom Climb has a lot of self-help groups in action at different refugee camps. They’re teaching people about “their rights and their values, that they’re made in the image of Christ, and giving them dignity and self worth, realizing their value, and then helping them with planning for where do we go from here.”
But on top of that, the Freedom Climb has seen a diverse range of people and stories whose lives have been transformed because of their efforts.
For example, one 12-year-old girl in India was dedicated as a devadasi, or a temple prostitute. She was raped and screamed for her parents’ help. But they did nothing. Afterwards, she confronted them and asked why they didn’t help her. They responded by saying it was her fate.
Fortunately, it was not. Since that dark time, the Freedom Challenge has swooped in and intervened. “The child has entered our school,” Yeager explains. “The family has been a part of our organization now, and they understand now that that should not be her fate.”
Millions of other girls worldwide have been forced into slavery, convinced it was their fate, or it was the only way they could make money and survive. But the Freedom Challenge is telling them otherwise. They’re saying these women and children still have a bright and free future ahead of them.
The most important part of being free: realizing “true freedom does not happen unless you have the Gospel, unless you know that Jesus Christ is the Savior.”
Thousands have been saved by the efforts of the Freedom Climb. The work to get to these results has been overwhelming and painful, but “we allow ourselves to be broken and exhausted, and stretched to these kinds of limits. God is able to come in and do incredible work in us as we’re doing something incredible for someone else.”
The Freedom Challenge has a dream of saving 1,000,000 women and children. Check out the ways you can take action at their website.
Also, pray for safety over this year’s climb.