Human Trafficking or Human Dignity?

When vulnerable people are exploited, we have several responses: ignore the injustice and pretend it doesn’t exist; support efforts to correct the injustice; or get involved at some disadvantage to oneself in order to improve the lives of others.  Gina Calvert, a local author and wife of a good friend of mine, has chosen the third option.  A year ago, she traveled to Ghana to help provide an option to their fated human trafficking.  Here’s her story as she wrote to me upon her return.

I traveled to Ghana with Freedom Stones, a non-profit that works in Thailand and Ghana to create sustainable income-generation projects for the prevention of trafficking. Right now they’re making jewelry with local resources (beads and stones from the area). Our job was to train the people who would be making the jewelry. We thought it would be local women, but it ended up being teenagers rescued from trafficking (explained in the next paragraph.) The Diamond Empowerment Fund, an organization made up of all the world’s major jewelers, has commissioned up to 100,000 pieces of a specific necklace from Freedom Stones’ Ghana project in order to show the world they’re against trafficking (since the diamond industry is rife with it). The necklace will be sold in Sterling Jewelers and I think Zales. It’s given a lot of women jobs! The founder is Leah Knippel of Frisco.

We traveled with and stayed at a children’s home belonging to Touch A Life,  which rescues children from trafficking. They have rescued and are committing to long-term support of almost 400 children (200+ in Asia, the rest in Ghana.) Pam Cope, the founder, has been on Oprah, and works with celebrities, sports figures, doctors, etc. to take care of these amazing kids. She works to educate about trafficking and caring for the world’s orphans and widows, as well as advocating personal healing through this work. Her son died suddenly at 15 ten years ago, which ultimately led to her work. The story is compelling. The book is Jantzen’s Gift. It’s been translated into several languages (it’s a bestseller in Italy right now).  She and I coauthored a book called Little Bead. It’s a coffee table book with a simple message even kids can get. The gorgeous pictures depict the bead-making process in Ghana and we have explained how this models the way God transforms us. A copy of it recently auctioned for $100. Right now it’s selling for $40, which includes a $10 donation to a Ghana project.

Tim Keller says

Doing justice in poor communities includes direct relief, individual development, community development, racial reconciliation and social reform. (p. 78)

It seems to me that Gina Calvert is participating in several of these areas.

This is another example of good people doing good things.  When more people, like Gina, are moved by the indwelling Christ to reach out to the vulnerable areas of our world, we see the proper fruit of faith which is good works.

Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:15-17)

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