Written by LaVerne Thorpe
Member, Common Global Ministries Board
In 2009 I was nominated as the Vice President of the International Disciples Women's Ministries. Later I was given the assignment to update the training material of our social action emphasis of human trafficking. Before I could do this, I had to learn about human trafficking. So, I read books, attended conferences, saw films, and attended workshops to learn as much as I could. I was horrified that so many children around the world were being victimized by this crime including an approximate 300,000 children a year here in the United States.
In 2011 Global Ministries assisted me to travel to Accra Ghana, Rev. Dr. Julia Karimu, Co-Executive of Global Ministries, requested that I visit two global partners. During this visit, Joyce Larko Steiner with the Christian Council of Ghana took me to visit a few of the 190 boys that they had rescued from labor slavery. That was a life changing moment. It is one thing to learn about human trafficking intellectually, but it is quite another to see the results firsthand. The children I met still had physical and emotional signs and scars of their abuse at the hands of the traffickers. Seeing these boys broke my heart. It was then and there that I decided I had to do something to help. I learned that by having a smoker, families can earn money by smoking fish and not have to face the starvation and slavery of their children. For the cost of $100, one smoker can service 10 families.
When I returned to the States, I shared the story with the Disciple Women of Arizona and raised enough money to purchase seven smokers. As a glass artist I also decided to donate 25% of my profits from my glass art sales to fight human trafficking. Later that year I created a power point presentation and wrote a five-week Bible study to educate our women on human trafficking. The Bible study is still available on the Disciple Women's webpage and I still donate to agencies fighting human trafficking here in the United States and to our Global Ministries partners. I may not be able to make a gigantic impact but if I can prevent one child from being a labor or sex slave, I am satisfied. I am blessed to be a blessing.