When international celebrities like Bono and world leaders like President Barack Obama use their fame and forum to encourage us to help end human trafficking, their messages reach many.
When a young mom and wife from Aiken, SC, making ends meet with food stamps asks anyone who will listen to join her to save 27,000,000 slaves—the message resonates deeply.
Typically, a mother who needs help to feed her child is not the most likely candidate to lead a humanitarian charge on behalf of other kids. Yet in the case of Erin Giles, disregarding the fact that so many were being so brutalized with no chance of escape wasn’t in her.
What was in her, after seeing the documentary Nefarious, was a broken heart. She concluded that the only treatment to heal it was to “change the world that broke it.” She longed for $10,000,000 to donate to “end human trafficking forever.”
Instead, she declared an “End Sex Trafficking Day” in the fall of 2012. The cause is critical, she proclaimed. And “we do not have time to waste.” So she applied her “laptop, vision, and voice” to raise $3,000 for leading anti-human trafficking non-profit Not For Sale’s intervention and aftercare work.
This year, she’s “back at it in a bigger and more impactful way.” She intends to diversify impact by supporting multiple non-profits that raise awareness about human trafficking, prevent sex trafficking, rescue human trafficking victims, and restore human trafficking survivors.
She increased her list of beneficiaries from one to five, two of them headquartered in the Bay Area: Not for Sale in Half Moon Bay and The SOLD Project in Pleasanton. The others are Courtney’s House, New Friends New Life, and Nefarious documentary producer Exodus Cry.
Giles’ vision is different for End Sex Trafficking Day 2013 (October 25). She’s inviting others to be keys to freedom and join her in “the movement.” Those doing so will contribute and spread her 5-week campaign to raise $5,000 for each of her 5 selected non-profits.
$25,000 will unlock the chains of slavery through awareness, prevention, rescue, and restoration.
Yet Giles reminds us that her mission isn’t just about giving money because she began her justice journey when she had none to give. Instead, she’s asking for people to stand up for slaves by sharing the campaign.
What the campaign is really about, she explains, is “spreading awareness so it’s not just a dirty little secret we continue to ignore.”
Ignoring Giles’ invitation from the hopeful and broken-hearted may prove harder than ignoring speeches from the rich and famous.