Freedom through business – what?

   freedom bussinessss                                                                                                               

“Freedom Business.” It’s not often that we see those words in the same sentence, IN THAT ORDER. Sure, “Business Freedom” or “freedom in business” is something that every entrepreneur is chasing, but Freedom Business? What does that even mean?

A Freedom Business is a very special business that exists for one main purpose: to fight human trafficking or commercial exploitation by creating real economic change in peoples’ lives, freeing them from their bondage. That bondage can look different depending on where a specific Freedom Business has concentrated their work, but all of these businesses have one thing in common. They are putting people first.

This approach is completely counter-intuitive to the business world, which has long regarded “the bottom line profit” as the end-all measuring stick of a company’s success. In fact, a quick Google search of “freedom business” returns a mish-mash of polarized results. On one side is the “get rich or die trying” camp, which equates freedom (from work) through money. On the other side we find the Freedom Business Alliance.

The Freedom Business Alliance is a group dedicated to strengthening the global community of Freedom Businesses. Through training, mentoring and offering resources and networking opportunities, the FBA provides Freedom Businesses a place to be nurtured, grow and share ideas and visions for the future with other like-minded companies. Not only that, but by joining these companies together the FBA also helps to shine a brighter light on the issues of sex trafficking and sex-slavery.

Who We Are

As a member of the Freedom Business Alliance, Made In Freedom provides high quality, Fair Trade, 100% organic cotton printed textiles. This includes custom t-shirts, hats, bags of all kinds and even pillow cases! We sell custom printed corporate apparel to businesses, conferences and trade fairs, fashion stores and more. Our products carry the World Fair Trade Organization seal, and are produced from Global Organic Trade Standard (GOTS) sourced cotton. However, what really sets us apart is best described in our USP.

“We Print Hope”

Our textiles are not printed by machines, they are made by women who have been impacted in one way or another by the sex-trade industry of Kolkata India. Through our partner Freeset, these women have been offered a job, paying well above the minimum wage of India, giving them dignity in their communities, hope for their future and a better life for themselves and their families. The change that takes place has lasting impacts that reach beyond the women themselves, but into the community itself, breaking the endless spiral of poverty into the sex trade industry and weakening the grip it has on the community. That is how “We Print Hope.”

You Can Get Involved Today

If you are a business looking for printed uniforms, an event planner looking for a textile printer to partner with, or a shop owner searching for a social justice option to offer to your customers please contact us today. Each and every order with Made In Freedom directly effects lives of people all over the world, from the organic cotton growers to the women employed in India. It’s good for you, good for the environment and most importantly it’s good for the community of women being freed through an economic solution to an economic problem. Together we can work toward our vision of a world free from sex-trafficking and slavery, one order at a time.

For more information about the Freedom Business Alliance, Made In Freedom and Freeset click
the links below.

www.freedombusinessalliance.com

www.madeinfreedom.de/en

www.freesetglobal.com

What does it take to help Anna?

Once upon a time, Anna was born into a family that struggled to survive. As a result, she didn’t get the parenting she needed, she misbehaved and began to drop out of school. What she really needed was love and security. Her dreams were answered by Nick, the most amazing rich boyfriend. Except of course, he wasn’t amazing at all. To please him and try to keep him, Anna found herself selling her body. And then the horror really began. One day on the streets, she met a Christian ministry who promised to help her. She didn’t believe them. How could they really help?

Anna was whisked away to another country, and the sexual exploitation began again. This time, she ended up in hospital. The nurses stared, they wondered what the real story was, but they didn’t say anything. Anna returned to the street. Meanwhile, the politicians decided to legalise prostitution and cut funding police efforts to spot trafficking, so Anna was even more vulnerable. Another Christian ministry promised they could help her. Really? Freedom and normality seemed such distant dreams. Again, Anna did not believe them.  The horror continued.

This story is repeated again and again across Europe. This story, and other similar ones, were created at EFN’s first big conference in 2013. We spent the whole time together looking at “Anna” and all the reasons why what happened happened. We saw all the opportunities where the story could have been dramatically changed if only there had been correct intervention. We considered why Anna would not dare to believe that she could be free from exploitation.

And then we saw what was needed.

It takes many different people to prevent exploitation. (Anna needed good children’s and youth work, and school teachers and medical staff equipped to know what to look out for. And people working with future Nicks. And campaigners to help politicians understand the best policies to stop trafficking).

It takes many different people to find Anna and help her believe life could change. (Intercessors, outreach workers, safe house staff, counsellors, a welcoming church to be family for the long haul, legal advisors, teachers, business people and more…)

No one ministry can prevent exploitation. But, by linking together, we form planks of wood that form a bridge. It’s a bridge that we can help Anna to see. The path to freedom may still be long but it suddenly seems possible.

Collaboration and networking spread good practice and save money and effort for us all.

Collaboration and networking mean that we can do things together, e.g. sophisticated campaigning, top quality training or prayer events that we could never do on our own.

Most of all, collaboration and networking mean we can build a solid bridge to freedom.

No matter how good we are, one ministry on its own is not enough for Anna.

A plank of wood is just a plank. But planks of wood linked securely together make a bridge that Anna can trust and dare to walk on.

And that’s why EFN’s conference is called Bridge.

Julia

Julia Doxat-Purser is the Socio-Political Representative & Religious Liberty Coordinator for the European Evangelical Alliance, wherein she inspires and facilitates excellent Christian engagement in society. Her particular interests are advocacy and enabling others to be effective in ministry.

With One Voice – Can They Hear Us?

There’s so much I want to say to people about human trafficking!  Stop judging or blaming the victims.  Stop ignoring this crime. Stop cutting the public services which are exactly the ones that could stop exploitation from happening in the first place. And more positively, come on Church, our God wants to transform these lives, and He invites us to help.

But what if EFN spoke with one voice and invited the wider Church to join us?  What if we as EFN partners locally, nationally or even across the continent began to think, pray and plan so that our voice was strategic, and our voice would be heard? What if we encouraged and helped each other to be clear, positive and effective so that our message would be noticed above all the noise?

What if, when a police chief or politician spoke about human trafficking, we were ready to respond with our stories and expertise, thanks or challenge?

What if every newspaper article on exploitation got a letter from EFN partners or friends in response that would end up on the letter’s page? Or the phone-in programme got us calling in with gracious and clear input?

What if every local public meeting – with the police or politicians or concerned residents – had EFN friends or partners prayerfully present and ready and able to speak up?

What if we did even more to speak with one voice on EU Anti-Trafficking Day or World Women’s Day? Vigils, marches, street theatre, social media campaigns, youth events, art exhibitions? Our combined creativity has so much potential.

What if we prayerfully worked out the most important messages and language for all of us to repeat as much as possible until change came?

And what if we prayed with one voice, lifting up all the needs and challenges, the individuals we know and one another? And we invited churches locally to join us?

Bridge 2017, our conference 16-20 October, will be an opportunity to bring our voices together as we pray, plan and learn from one another.   Our prayer is that, afterwards, we will increasingly speak With One Voice.

Julia

Julia Doxat-Purser is the Socio-Political Representative & Religious Liberty Coordinator for the European Evangelical Alliance, wherein she inspires and facilitates excellent Christian engagement in society. Her particular interests are advocacy and enabling others to be effective in ministry.

Survivor Reintegration and Secondary Beneficaries

Wherever there is a survivor, there invariably is a community and for many individuals that community is more-often-than-not family. 

“You can kiss your family and friend’s goodbye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world, but a world lives in you.  – Frederick Buechner

In researching this blog, I was looking forward to breaking down the concept of reintegration and being able to more clearly define what this rather blurry concept looks like!  Unfortunately, what I discovered was that the definition of the word ‘reintegration,’ although universally the same, differs in meaning quite significantly from organization to organization, individual to individual and from region to region. In fact, it became apparent that even the perception of reintegration for survivors of trafficking (primary beneficiary’s) differed significantly, not only from mine as a practitioner, but equally significantly from one beneficiary to another.

The goal of any aftercare or human trafficking survivor service program is the successful reintegration of the trafficking survivor. Achieving this goal however, is not quite so easy – while survivors of trafficking face the daunting task of rebuilding their lives, those providing them with this support, encounter an array of other challenges including the needs of secondary beneficiaries, in ensuring that their assistance empowers survivors to live healthy, independent lives.

Reintegration is loosely defined as “the process of economic and social inclusion following a trafficking experience” and it includes:

  •      Settlement in a safe and secure environment,
  •      Access to a reasonable standard of living,
  •      Mental and physical well-being,
  •      Opportunities for personal, social and economic development,
  •      Access to social and emotional support.

Realistically, the process of reintegration is a complex, unpredictable and long-term problem, which is often impacted by:

  • Individual contexts including the management of the physical, psychological and social effects of exploitation.
  • The family, community and cultural context
  • Pre-existing vulnerabilities

Addressing the root causes and impact of trafficking requires a full and diverse package of services for beneficiary’s both from an individual perspective as well as from a collective perspective which would include secondary beneficiaries (family).

ONE STRATEGIC WAY TO BREAK THE VICIOUS CIRCLE OF TRAFFICKING IS TO GO BEYOND DIRECT AND SHORT-TERM ASSISTANCE TO SURVIVORS AND INVEST IN LONGER TERM SOCIO-ECONOMIC INCLUSION INITIATIVES AND PROGRAMS.

“Secondary beneficiaries” fall into three main categories:

  • Children of trafficked parents;
  • Parents of trafficked children and
  • The husband or wife of a trafficked spouse.

FAMILIES â A KEY TO SUCCESS

“When I ask for help the shelters can help me but not my children – what must I do? Lleave them behind?”

“When I was at home with my parents, we did not have enough to eat and I used to look out on the street and think of the choices I had.  And the street looked like a way to make money”

“I think I will be happy to see my family … I remember with my joy to see my family I am forgetting the many hard things we have live with in my family’s village”

The family environment for a returning trafficking survivor is crucial to the reintegration process.  Unfortunately, it is often overlooked and under-appreciated and situations where families blame unreached social and economic needs and expectations on a returning survivor, or where families refuse to welcome the survivor home, pose a serious stumbling block to a survivor’s healthy reintegration.

In many cases, assisting the family as part of a secondary beneficiaries’ reintegration process is vital in addressing the needs of the primary beneficiary, as well as creating an environment which is conducive for long-term reintegration.  If a beneficiary is anxious or concerned about family who are not being fed, assist the family as this will lessen the beneficiary’s anxiety and assist with better recovery and reintegration.  Alternatively, if a beneficiary is anxious about what could happen to her because of an abusive family dynamic then this too needs to be addressed and looked at and evaluated as to whether it is even a viable environment for reintegration.

Including the family, relatives and communities more systematically in the return and reintegration projects is critical to fostering the sustainability of the process.

Keys to success:

  • A tailor-made approach: Consider designing a program based on the needs of the individual rather than designing a program and then imposing the program upon the beneficiary.
  • Flexibility: Start educating and advising donors and supporters that funding/grants need to be available for any aspect of reintegration work – services, staff, office costs as well as secondary beneficiaries. Such flexibility is invaluable where precise needs and numbers of potential victims are unpredictable and varied.
  • Long-term is key: Adopt a long-term strategy that will achieve comprehensive sustainable reintegration success by addressing the needs of the primary beneficiary along with her secondary beneficiaries.

Secondary beneficiaries matter! Whether good or bad, they play a crucial role in the recovery and reintegration of trafficking survivors and need to be considered when looking at a healthy and holistic reintegration program for primary beneficiary’s.

References:

  • Surtees, Rebecca, Beyond Trafficking. The re/integration of trafficking victims in the Balkans, 2007 to 2014. Final report, Brussels: KBF, Washington DC: NEXUS Institute, 2015
  • Lessons learnt from the CARE and TACT projects. Enhancing the safety and sustainability of the return and reintegration of victims of trafficking, IOM 2015
Peta-Ann Small is Co-Founder and Operations Director of Set Free Foundation in Bulgaria an anti-trafficking organization focused on prevention, reintegration and community transformation. She has a background in education and is passionate about helping people find joy, strength and dignity in Jesus so they can face their future without fear.

How to Write an Article for the Evangelical Focus with Joel Forster

Evangelical focus group

Evangelical Focus is an online news site that reports on what evangelicals are doing around the world as well as dealing with current issues, one of which is human trafficking.  They currently have a readership of over 25,000.

If you would like to submit an article to Evangelical Focus then here is the format you need to follow.

Style.

The article should be written in a journalistic style (it can include opinions of others, quotes, etc., but the author should keep an objective point of view when writing). If needed, we will edit the stories to adapt them to this style.

If someone wants to write an opinion article or an analysis on a certain topic, please first contact us so that we can let you know if it the topic and the approach fits in our opinion section.

Length.

The text should be 1-3 pages long in a Word document (Times or Calibri size 11).

Pictures.

Attach separately at least 1 picture related to the news article. Stories with 2-3 extra pictures add value to the story, you can send up to 4. Make sure you have permission to publish the pictures you send online. Add a description of every picture and add the author of the picture (it can be a person or the name of your organisation).

Links.

The article can include and external link to more information about the project, initiative, ministry, the story is about. No email contacts will be published.

Author.

Please send a picture (face) of the author, his/her name, and a short 2-line biography (country, job/ministry).

Submit Your Article.

Articles should be sent to the EFN Core Team or directly to Evangelical Focus.

Example Articles.