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Blog

Filtering by Tag: awareness

Surprised by Hope

Lindsey Malcolm

By Seema D.

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I have been supporting International Sanctuary since January 2009. International Sanctuary empowers survivors of human trafficking through a unique model integrated employment, education, healthcare, and community.

Growing up, my parents could never provide me with answers to my troubling observations as we visited India. Not until I was 18 did I realize the atrocity of human trafficking, that girls were being sold for sex. Since having my two daughters, I have become even more passionate about fighting for women’s rights.

For years, I have heard about the courageous young women escaping human trafficking and imagined a time when I would meet them. Finally, this past summer, I was able to meet them face to face in Mumbai, India.

The Sanctuary, however, was not at all what I expected. Walking in, I anticipated a heaviness which you would expect in an environment fostering healing from trauma. Instead, I experienced joy, hope, and a spirit of bold confidence.

I had the opportunity to teach a Life Skills & Professionalism session in The Academy, their 3-year educational program. The session included a Q&A on cultural barriers and how to overcome them. I was able to share with them a bit about my beliefs and perspectives, and encourage them in their growth and development. Many of the girls expressed challenges that they were currently experiencing and discussed ways to work through them.

I also had the opportunity to sit down in the workshop and have one of the young women teach me how to make a piece of jewelry. We bonded as she demonstrated the skills needed to handcraft such beautiful creations. I gained incredible respect for the determination required to hone her craft.

It was an honor to be able to meet 25 of my new sisters and become their Didi; I look forward to returning.

The Gratitude Series: Uganda

Lindsey Malcolm

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Not too long ago, in Spring 2017, we welcomed our first cohort into the Kampala, Uganda Sanctuary. A culture of support, perseverance, and joy must be established for long-term success and, over the last few weeks and months, we’ve seen proof that these seeds have taken root.

Each week, we receive an update from our Program Coordinator in Kampala and with every email, we are overwhelmed with gratitude. Here are some of the excerpts and reasons we give thanks for what is happening in Uganda:

“I wanted to stop, but, Mary, she believed in me. She kept working until I succeeded.” -a participant who struggled making the Mira Cuff and was encouraged and coached by her fellow participant, Mary, for hours under the mango tree

“During the last storm, the power went out and we were all huddled around two small desks with a couple of flashlights; the participants seemed to feel a lot more comfortable with us in such close quarters. They spent the day asking us all kinds of questions: Does it snow in the U.S.? Have we ever seen a bear? Do bears eat people? What do animals eat when everything is covered in snow? They’ve heard that in Alaska, there are sometimes days without night. Is it true? How do people know when to sleep, when to go to work? It was a pretty fun day!” -Emily, our program coordinator

“When we first started making Olivia earrings, everyone was terrible at them and got really frustrated. I saved everyone's first attempt in a little bag with their names attached. After we'd been making them successfully for several days, I handed the first attempts back and everyone had a good laugh at how bad they were. At the end of the day, we asked what they learned and a few of them drew lessons about how it's important to keep with something, even when it’s difficult.” -Emily, our program coordinator

“I enjoy it when things are easy, and when they're hard. When they're hard, I learn and improve my skills; when they're easy, I feel good about how quickly I finished something.” -a woman rebuilding her life in the Kampala, Uganda Sanctuary

“My birthday was yesterday. Several of the participants surprised me with cards, which was sweet and totally unexpected. After lunch, a bunch of them disappeared. We started to wonder if we were going to have give a lecture about attendance, when suddenly they came in singing Happy Birthday, dancing, and showering my head with flower petals.”
-Emily, our program coordinator

During this season of gratitude, we hope you’ll join us in giving thanks that support, perseverance, and joy are alive and well in the Uganda Sanctuary.

If you’re interested in keeping up with the goings on in the Uganda Sanctuary, email ashleymccully@isanctuary.org and she will add you to our Uganda email list.

A Father's Day Message from Robert Yi, Chairman of the Board

Lindsey Malcolm

Recently, I was asked why International Sanctuary is so important to me.

In 2005, the moment my first daughter was born, I became a parent. Over the past 12 years… through joys and sorrows, blessings and trials, successes and failures… I’ve been learning how to be a father. And that journey continues.

In the anti-trafficking movement, rescue occurs in a moment. This work of helping people escape trafficking is absolutely critical.

However, the road to recovery is a long, long journey and the global community today is largely unprepared to address this challenge. We need more aftercare centers that provide a supportive community empowering trafficking survivors to embrace and realize their freedom.

International Sanctuary’s unique model of providing long-term, holistic support is proven, successful, and scalable. The organization’s ability to provide dignity and hope is life-changing.

As a father of two young girls, I regularly reflect on how best to help them fully realize their potential with as much joy as possible. It sickens me to know that children around the world have been forcefully robbed of that opportunity.

On this Father’s Day, I challenge all dads out there to act on behalf of the 15 million children being trafficked today. Advocate for freedom and justice. Protect those who are the most vulnerable.

Find and support International Sanctuary or another anti-trafficking organization with your time, expertise, or giving. As fathers, our children are our greatest pride… let’s live today with the goal of being theirs.

Happy Mother's Day

Lindsey Malcolm

She is strong. She is kind. She is patient. She is resilient. She has unconditional love. Oh, and did I mention that she wears a red cape and can make a mean lasagna?

Today's blog is about our amazing, fierce, unstoppable mothers! There is no denying that our mothers deserve (way more than) 24 hours in the year to be celebrated.

The definition of motherhood is more than having a child - it is everything from conception to the end of her time on this earth that encompasses that definition. Motherhood is sleepless nights, it is cradling a sick baby, it is cutting off the crust on a PB&J, kissing the scraped knees...motherhood is the most challenging, rewarding, most self sacrificing thing. Motherhood is nothing short of a miracle.

The women of International Sanctuary play no short part in this role of motherhood. Mary*, a participant from International Sanctuary’s Orange County Professional Opportunities for Survivors of Trafficking (POST) Program shared a few reasons why she loves being a mother of four beautiful children.

“I love when I have been at work all day and when I finally get home, all my kids come running to hug me,” she says. “I live for those moments. Being a mom is not easy but my children are my happiness. Everything I do is for them so they can have a life that I was not able to live. My hopes and dreams for my kids are that they are able to go to a university. The most rewarding thing about being a mom is knowing that my kids love me and need me just as much as I need them.”

I am sure many mothers are reading this blog and can relate to Mary’s love for her children. We all know that being a mom is as rewarding as it is challenging. Here is where you can support more women like Mary by giving your time, talent, donations to iSanctuary or even purchasing Purpose Jewelry (which is fulfilled by iSanctuary’s POST team). Your contribution not only helps our participants, but your contribution has a multi-generational effect. Mary’s success plays a direct part in her children's success.

Someone once shared a beautiful metaphor that encompasses anti-trafficking efforts perfectly. Human trafficking is like a faucet that won’t turn off, all the water falls into a bucket. We are using spoons to try to scoop out water from this bucket, but what we need to do is find a way to turn off the faucet. This Mother’s Day, let us contribute with a collaborative effort to turn off this faucet one step at a time.

*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality

Blog written by Jackie Kong, International Sanctuary Program Coordinator

3 Things You Can Do To Help Today

Lindsey Malcolm

Over the last two days, we’ve shared with you why we’re opening our doors in Kampala, Uganda, explained how the funds we are raising will being spent, and introduced you to our first cohort of survivors.

We are certain our model of economic empowerment will help break the cycle of poverty, escape trafficking forever, and help them build bright futures for themselves and their families.

With 83% unemployment among Ugandan girls and young women, International Sanctuary may be the only employment opportunity available to them; without it, they may be forced, tricked, or sold into slavery. Our research has proven employment is the key to long-term success and total transformation.

With life pulling us in many directions, time has become a most precious resource. Thankfully, technology gives our supporters a path to quick, easy, and secure giving. Also, because of our incredibly generous donor who has agreed to match up to $50,000, taking a few minutes to donate will have twice the impact!

There are 3 powerful things you can do right now to help Bring Freedom to Uganda

  • Give -- So far, donors like you have opened the door of freedom to 33 girls. We still have 7 more invitations to give! Will you help one more begin her journey of healing?

  • Sponsor -- You can walk with our girls every step of the way when you give the gift of true freedom on a regular basis. Our automated system can securely process your payment every month, week, or quarter. Because PURPOSE covers all of the operating expenses, every dollar entrusted to us by our donors goes directly to serve survivors as they rebuild their lives.

  • Share -- After you give, introduce our cause to 3 people and ask them to get involved. Whether you email this blog to your family, post it on Facebook, or text the Bring Freedom to Uganda link to a friend, you can also make a difference by spreading the word!

Bring Freedom to Uganda

Lindsey Malcolm

Did you know International Sanctuary is raising money to open our doors in Kampala, Uganda? Our campaign is called Bring Freedom to Uganda and we have raised $121,400 of our $150,000 goal!

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While trafficking varies in every country due to government, culture, and economy, the trauma suffered by the victims is largely the same. Here in southern California, we serve survivors of trafficking who have large gaps in their education, do not have any way of supporting themselves financially, and escaped trafficking feeling broken, isolated, and rejected. The girls 9,394 miles away in Kampala feel the same way.

Ugandan girls and young women suffer from 83% unemployment. Trapped in extreme poverty without any employment opportunities, they are highly vulnerable to be exploited or sold, forced, or tricked into slavery. Not only do trafficking victims in the world come from Uganda, there are also victims who manage to escape while passing through the country en route to other places. 

Human trafficking is a global issue, affecting every country in the world. When we see this injustice, we can’t help but feel like we should do something, but it can be tough to know where to start.

There are 3 powerful things you can do right now to help Bring Freedom to Uganda:

  • Give -- A very generous donor has agreed to match all donations up to $50,000 so that means your contribution can pack twice the punch! Technology has made it so easy to give, that you can make a meaningful difference in a matter of minutes.

  • Sponsor -- If you’d like to give the gift of true freedom on a regular basis, our automated system can securely process your payment every month, week, or quarter. Because PURPOSE covers all of the operating expenses, every dollar entrusted to us by our donors goes directly to serve survivors as they rebuild their lives.

  • Share -- After you give, introduce our cause to 3 people and ask them to get involved. Whether you email this blog to your family, post it on Facebook, or text the Bring Freedom to Uganda link to a friend, you can also make a difference by spreading the word!

When you join us in this fight, you will save and transform lives. Your involvement can mean a bright future not just for a survivor, but for her daughter, her family, and her community. Together, we can prevent these girls from being trafficked across international borders into places like the Middle East and Asia, even farther from their homes and from the hope they so desperately need. You are a force for change in this world  - you can do something big!

Click here to Bring Freedom to Uganda today.

She needed help.

Lindsey Malcolm

Little did she know when she boarded a flight from Seattle to San Francisco that Sheila Fredrick would become somebody’s hero. The Alaska Airlines flight attendant trained by Airlines Ambassadors International, an organization that has teamed up with the airline industry to protect vulnerable children knew the signs of what to look for.  Shelia was empowered to act when she saw a disheveled girl traveling with an older, well-groomed man. Something wasn't right.

And it wasn't.

Using a note in a lavatory, Shelia was able to discreetly communicate with the teen. When the flight attendant retrieved the note that read "I need help", she acted at once. Police were waiting when the flight landed. The girl was taken to a safe location and the man transporting her was taken into custody. 

This is a perfect example of the tremendous work our partners in the anti-trafficking realm are doing every day: training people to spot the signs, know how to act, and be a force for positive change. We are privileged to work along side these organizations to provide restorative and holistic care those those escaping trafficking.

Shelia, thanks for showing us that one person can truly make a difference!

Image from NBC News. 

Image from NBC News. 

But I'm just one person...

Lindsey Malcolm

How many times have you looked at a problem so big that you actually felt helpless against it? When we look at human trafficking - 45.8 million people being bought and sold in the world today -- it seems insurmountable. It seems too big for just one person...

"I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything, but I can do something. The something I ought to do, I can do. And by the grace of God, I will."
-Edward Everett Hale

You are one person, and so am I. Your favorite barista, the UPS guy, the person who cuts your hair - they're each one person, too. But together, we have better odds! Suddenly, we've gone from one person to five people. Five people can raise $1,000. Five people can reach hundreds, maybe thousands on Facebook. Five people can fundamentally transform the lives of human trafficking survivors.

What if we were a team of 10? 50? 200??
Imagine the impact we could have!

Individuals are powerful beings. We all have stories. We are motivated by different things. We have different friends, different communities, different lives. And that is what makes the individual amazing: an enormous power contained in a single heart waiting to be ignited by a common cause. 

What's your story? How did you get involved in the fight against human trafficking? Do you give freedom through raising awareness, financial support, buying jewelry

Harness your power and build your team. Who are the 5 people you will share your story with? Take your story and share it with your friends on social media or via email - tell them why you care, and ask them to join your team. Set a goal and rally your team to achieve it!

Help us build a community dedicated to empowerment, freedom, and change. Together, we'll move mountains. Together, we can put an end to human trafficking.