We recently announced that we are planning on opening a fair trade store in the Dallas area to provide employment opportunities for the women we serve. You may be wondering, why is fair trade important? I wondered the same thing not too long ago. After learning about the tragic realities of sex trafficking victims this past year, I was infuriated. I thought, how could this be happening, even nowadays? How are people getting away with this? As the famous abolitionist William Wilberforce once said, “Having heard all of this, you may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say you did not know.” I did not want to be someone who looked the other way, so I decided to get involved with organizations that were doing something about it, including Redeemed Ministries.
This past Christmas, one of the other groups I am involved with posted a gift-giving guide that featured businesses and organizations that help fight against sex trafficking and support survivors. Even though I had heard about other philanthropic businesses, seeing this list got me very excited. I could help support sex trafficking victims while shopping for things like clothes and purses? I’m all in! As I continued my research into these and other similar companies, I saw the words “fair trade” frequently. I had heard of fair trade coffee before, but I discovered that there were lots of other fair trade goods out there. Simply put, the definition of fair trade is a type of trade that ensures fair prices for producers of goods, but it means so much more than that. It is a movement that prioritizes people over profits. It provides dignity, respect and, most importantly, hope. Here at Redeemed, we are providing the same kinds of things for the women in our residential and independent program. God cares for them and wants them to not only survive, but to flourish. In my personal life, I felt like God was challenging me to put my money where my mouth was. The Wilberforce quote again ran through my mind as I carefully considered what I was buying and where it came from.
When I learned that Desirie, our Houston Director was starting Sparrow House Botanicals, a fair trade, organic bath and body line, I was thrilled! The idea of fair trade lines up perfectly with Redeemed Ministries’ mission. We are against sex and labor trafficking, as they are both forms of modern slavery. After seeing what Sparrow House Botanicals was doing, opening a fair trade store was a natural next step.
Now, as we prepare and plan for the store, we are excited about what God will do through it. Not only will it give these women a living wage and job experience, it will also help empower them. I read in an article recently that, “Human sex trafficking survivors are in great need of not just jobs, but those who will see, affirm and maximize their skills, knowledge, capacities, and potential, and channel them into an employment opportunity, a future career or profession — and ultimately a place of purpose and dignity.” This statement couldn’t be truer, as we hear this from our ladies time and time again. We want to provide a safe place for them to work as they continue in their healing process. Will you consider giving towards this project? During this year’s North Texas Giving Day online fundraiser, our goal is to raise $5,000 towards our store startup costs. You can donate on our North Texas Giving Day page on Thursday, September 14th. Thank you for your support and prayers as we continue to share God’s message of hope and love to our Sparrows!
Author: Kelli Kieschnick
Kelli Kieschnick serves as the Dallas Operations Director for Redeemed Ministries. She is a Texas native, enjoys travelling and loves seeing people transformed and set free.