I am so excited to introduce you to my cousin Jet Bargiel. On October 15, she will join the Walk for Freedom, raising money and awareness for the A21 Campaign, an organization committed to abolishing modern day slavery. I hope today’s post will not only inform and enlighten, but also compel us to action and prayer, because everyone deserves freedom.
CHRISTINE: Jet! I’m so glad you could be here to share about the A21 Campaign and their Walk for Freedom.
JET: Thanks so much for having me! I’m so glad to be here.
Can you explain a little about the A21 Campaign and what they do for readers who are not familiar with their mission?
Absolutely. The A21 Campaign is a non-profit organization specifically devoted to ending human trafficking and modern-day slavery in this century. For the sake of clarity, human trafficking is defined as the illegal trade of people for the purpose of forced labor and/or sex trafficking.
Human trafficking is pure evil for so many obvious reasons, but it also fuels the growth of organized crime, and undermines the health, safety, security, and basic needs of humanity. THIS link from the A21 Campaign website specifically outlines the solutions they believe will help them accomplish this goal.
There’s no question this is a cause to rally behind. Why do you support the A21 Campaign in their efforts to end human trafficking over other organizations committed to the same?
It speaks volumes to me that the A21 Campaign is covering all angles of this fight: prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships. In 2015 they assisted 434 survivors through their aftercare program and convicted 10 traffickers. Additional wins are celebrated in their Freedom Report HERE.
I think that while many people have a working knowledge of what human trafficking is, they may be unaware of how prevalent it is. Can you help bridge that gap for us?
Sure. Here are a few quick stats pulled directly from the A21 Campaign website:
- Every 30 seconds, someone becomes a victim of modern-day slavery.
- There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history (27 million people).
- Only 1-2% of victims are ever rescued.
- The average age of a trafficking victim is 12 years old.
This is horrifying – absolutely horrifying – for anyone who is a victim of human trafficking, but for children? My momma’s heart is completely breaking.
Twelve is only the average age. It’s not uncommon for victims to be 4-5 years old or younger. Imagine having to endure this type of life for YEARS – from 4 years old to 14 years old. It’s not uncommon. I just can’t even fathom how horrible that would be.
And this is not just a problem overseas in some “other” country. This happens in the United States as well, am I right?
Yes! It has surprised me to discover how human trafficking has infiltrated the homes of seemingly everyday people. I’ve heard multiple stories now from women who were sold by their mother, brother, boyfriend, or whoever, to friends, relatives, or strangers in their own homes and neighborhoods for money to feed drug addictions!
This is happening in OUR neighborhoods! Not just in third world countries or at football stadiums. It’s right here, right now in our own backyards. We have to wake up and stop ignoring it, hoping it will one day end itself.
What are some of the challenges an organization like the A21 Campaign faces when they attempt to rescue a victim of human trafficking?
Most victims who are rescued are terrified to speak against their traffickers because they fear what would happen if their captors ever got hold of them again. It’s very difficult to get victims to work with authorities to secure convictions for their captors, not to mention having to relive the nightmare they’ve been through as they testify in court. Many of the victims need to go through a detox program as they are drugged by their traffickers, and many experience PTSD. Everything about it is a challenge – but nothing is too hard that we can’t collectively help and do something about it.
Why are you walking on October 15?
The more I’ve become aware of how widespread the issue of human trafficking is, the more I can no longer just sit back and write a check. I can easily do more to help raise awareness and help increase donations to fight this injustice!
Even more than that, I am moved by the stories of victims who have been rescued and are given freedom. It brings me to tears every time – tears of joy and sorrow. Sorrow to think about how much they have had to endure at such a young age, and joy as I rejoice with them in their freedom! I am blown away by how these individuals can receive such amazing healing in all areas of their lives – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am walking for women like Grace, a US survivor, and many others who have yet to be rescued.
Jet, thank you so much for sharing your passion for this organization, for walking this coming week, and for raising awareness among the readers here. How can we get involved?
There are three really easy ways to get involved I’ve outlined a little further down in this post. If you happen to live near Dixon, IL, are able to walk and would like to join my team, you can do so under my team name Walk for Freedom (Jet).
I’m also including a list of resources I’ve found really insightful in understanding this crisis and what I can do personally to get involved in the solution. I hope your readers will find it helpful.
Yes I am sure they will. Thank you so much Jet. You’re awesome. Love you so much!
Love you too! We’ll talk soon!
Here’s how YOU can get involved
 Register to Walk for Freedom in your area.
There are walks happening in over 250 locations around the world. Check out THIS link to see if there is a walk happening near you.
 Sponsor a walker.
Jet has set an audacious goal to raise $1,000. I know she (and the folks at the A21 Campaign) would love you support. You can take a look at her fundraising page by clicking HERE.
 Donate directly to the A21 Campaign.
The A21 Campaign makes it pretty easy to get involved with the lifesaving efforts of their mission. You can get more information about making a one time donation, purchasing merchandise, or becoming a monthly supporter by clicking HERE.
Jet’s Resource List
As told from Jet’s perspective.
NPO dedicated to helping young women break free from life-controlling issues including but not limited to sex trafficking victims.
*Denotes an affiliate link. Questions? Visit my disclosure page.