Why did I start the Little Black Dress Project? It was an act of desperation. I couldn't do something so instead I did nothing. The LBD Project is a fast of sorts. Join us.
Joy Lippard Hanna, a worship leader and Northern Virginia native, shared with us recently how she went from discovering human trafficking exists to tangibly helping victims.
Joy learned about trafficking at the Passion Conference in 2013 when Gary Haugen, president of International Justice Mission, shared stories about girls sold into sex slavery.
"I was broken hearted. I felt helpless,” she said. "I was angry too. Angry and disheartened that people could do such a thing to other human beings. I felt a bit confused as well, and couldn’t comprehend why I had never heard about this problem before and how as Christians we could ever turn a blind eye to such violence and oppression.”
But God doesn’t leave us in the dark. Often the answer, “What now?” is to keep using the talents we already have.
"I remember sitting in the arena and asking God what He wanted me to do in response to what I had just learned. Believing God has gifted me with a passion and talent for songwriting and singing, I prayed that He would “give me a song” to bring awareness to the issue,” Joy said.
God did more than that: He gave her a whole album of songs, inspired by a missions strip to Cebu, Philippines, and input from local survivors.
Joy wrote her first two songs for the album after her trip to Cebu, and sang them at an event she hosted at her church that fall. But it wasn’t the end— she felt God challenging her to do more.
“In all honesty, I was feeling pretty good about myself and felt I had checked the box 'do something practical about the problem of human trafficking,'but God was prompting my heart to do more,” Joy said. "I had prayed for just one song but I sensed Him saying, 'no, Joy, a full album of songs!' And thus began the project to record an album of songs to raise awareness about trafficking and encourage its victims with the hope and truth of Jesus Christ.”
The first and most important step in getting involved, Joy said, is prayer. Pray for victims; pray for an end to trafficking; and pray for guidance in how to get involved, whether that means volunteering with a local organization or sending a care package to victims like those Restore Innocence sends through the FBI and Homeland Security.
If you would like to volunteer with NOVA HTI, please use our contact page to get in touch with us. We would love to help you get involved!
Joy’s album, Set Free, includes songs of encouragement and freedom, as well as a call to action to the church. It is available on iTunes, and proceeds benefit Lily House in the Dominican Republic.
Six Steps To Advocating With Credibility:
1.) Try to use statistics backed by multiple non-profits and government sources if you can find them.
2.) Look for the most current research on what you want to share–research and numbers change often. If you have a 2007 number, try to find one from 2010, or better yet, 2015.
3.) Spend five minutes checking Google/Snopes to see if there are any articles questioning the facts you want to use–become familiar with the controversy so you can explain it with more diligence.
4.) Use accurate phrasing to express questionable facts, such as “some sources claim x number while others use x to describe . . .” or “13 is considered by most authorities to be the average age of entry to prostitution, which leads to trafficking–even though this number is debatable.”
5.) Focus on the story. From what I’ve read, potential donors/volunteers usually respond better to faces than numbers, anyway. Also, numbers are hard to use as a designation of worth. Ex. Does your number mean the issue is better or worse? If 200,000 people have a disease, are you pointing out a lot of people have it, or just a few do? Or should I compare a number to the whole global population?
6.) When possible, go out of your way to bring people hope with your imagery. Avoid sensational graphics. Example–as the majority of trafficking victims are not chained, maybe chains aren’t the best graphic to use to highlight the situation.
A few years back before our organization became NOVA HTI, a few of us were talking with a local top-level judge. He told us we didn't think we needed a stand-alone law declaring human trafficking illegal, because wouldn't kidnapping cover human trafficking? Well, as most victims aren't kidnapped, we told him we didn't think it was sufficient.
How can you know if a solicitors or door-to-door salesman/ salesperson is actually trafficked? It is hard to know, but what regardless, we need to be aware that they could be trafficking victims rather than just doing magazine sales.