Trafficking or Prostitution?

Trafficking or Prostitution?

An article by Jaclyn Gallucci  in recently looked at the issue of sex trafficking vs. prostitution.  Slavery is alive and well in the land of the free. With human trafficking now a multi-billion-dollar industry worldwide and cases increasing in the United States, activists are trying to squash the myth that most women who work as prostitutes do so because they want to.  “Prostitution isn’t people deferring entrance to Yale while they prostitute to raise money for tuition—that’s not the reality of what it looks like,” said Nicole Bell, who worked as a prostitute after being trafficked as a teen. “We’re looking at people in poverty, people of color, people coming out of the foster care system.”

“We look at prostitution and trafficking as two different things, but most people in prostitution have experienced trafficking in some form,” Bell said. “Most were brought into this before they were old enough to consent to have sex—never mind to being sold for sex.”

The Forbes article goes on to say, "Some of the biggest factors that lead vulnerable children to become vulnerable adults are poverty, homelessness, abuse at home, the foster system, and glamorization of the sex industry, what is essentially a “pipeline of vulnerability,” said Dr. Sharon Cooper, founder and CEO of Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics."

While prostitution is defined as the exchange of sex for money, drugs, or influence between two consenting adults—where consent can be given—human trafficking means there is third-party control.

“Whenever someone else is getting that money on the backs of those individuals—often children who are having to perform 10, 12, 15 sexual acts, and actually being sexually assaulted, at a time—that constitutes sex trafficking,” she said.

And these children often end up the adult prostitutes, who many assume are just making a job choice," said Bell.  (Read the full article here.)

Job choice?  Or vulnerable people being further exploited?   What do you think?

Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit



Florida House passes bill on teaching human trafficking

Reported by Fox 13 Children in Florida public schools would be taught about the dangers and warning signs of human trafficking under a bill passed by the state House.

The vote was 112-0 Thursday for the bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Patricia Williams of Fort Lauderdale and Republican Rep. Rene Plasencia of Titusville. The measure would include human trafficking in the health classes currently taught in Florida public schools.  (Click here to learn more.)


Hope4Justice increases awareness
at WWU and WCC 


Hope4Justice spoke with two different WWU classeslast Wednesday, 4/24/19, presenting information about human trafficking to more than 75 students. Thank you to Dr. Yu for the invitation to share with your students!

On Thursday, 4/25/19,  Bob, Rose, Sue Ann, and Beth manned a table at Whatcom Community College as part of Sustainability Week.  Students and staff visiting the table were asked to guess how different companies score (on an A-F scale) according to  Fair trade chocolate was given out, Hope4Justice t-shirts were won, and interesting conversations abounded!


Survey: "How Many Slaves Work for You?"

Do you unsuspectingly help to perpetuate human trafficking?

Nita Belles, author of In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking In American and What We Can Do To Stop It, says, "We don't mean to and most of us have no idea we're doing it."  Nevertheless, many, if not most of us are contributing to modern slavery.  She explains, "Those of us who understand the prevalence of trafficking in our Western society abhor the idea that we are unintentionally contributing to modern slavery.  But understanding that  we are part of the problem can prompt us to be part of the solution."  

She goes on to say, "Each of us must be willing to utilize the tools we have available to answer the question, 'What is my part in this atrocity and how much am I contributing?' "

Ms. Belles then recommends that we visit the Slavery Footprint website and take the survey, "How Many Slaves Work for You?"  I took this survey several years ago and decided to do it again to refresh my memory.  Oh boy.  My score seemed pretty high.  Embarassingly high.  Higher than I'm comfortable with. 

Ms. Belles reiterates the fact that just being part of Western culture makes us a part of supporting slavery.  So what do we do?  Nita says, "The solution isn't to hibernate and live off the land in the woods.  There are practical things we can do while living in the real world."

She says the first step involves simply becoming aware.  Take the survey to see how you score!  Then ask your spouse, partner, friend, co-worker, or someone else to take it.  Compare your scores then take another step to learn more and take action against trafficking.  As you learn, pray for God to reveal additional action steps you can take in your daily life to fight trafficking.  (FYI - You can get Nita Belles' book, "In Our Backyard" on Amazon.  It's less than $6.00, including shipping, for a used copy.)  

Let us know what steps you take.  We'd love to hear how you are fighting back against this evil.

Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit 

Engedi Celebrates six years

Our mission: To fight the oppression of human trafficking, we partner with others to increase awareness and engage people to action.  Will you join us?

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Engedi Gala Celebrates Six Years of Successful Ministry

"Healing the past, Redeeming the present, Changing the future"

Hundreds of Whatcom County residents gathered at the Four Points by Sheraton last night to support Engedi Refuge Ministries and celebrate their six years of ministry.  

If you aren't familiar with Engedi Refuge Ministries, they are a local Christian ministry providing help for sex-trafficking victims.  "Their mission is " offer restoration and hope for women who have survived sexual exploitation and trafficking.  They utilize both safe housing and a comprehensive, three phase program to promote healing and personal empowerment."

Last night's audience was treated to a celebratory gala, complete with  fantastic food (did I mention the to-die-for flourless chocolate torte?),  a beautiful dance performance, and guest speaker Luanne Van Werven.  And then we heard from former Engedi client Staysha  -- her story of redemption and how the unconditional love at Engedi helped her change her course and her future.  

I had met Staysha before.  She's a smart, fiesty, highly-capable young woman.  After the gala ended, I was able to hug Staysha and tell her how good it was to see her and hear her story.  She truly is a light shining in the darkness of the world of trafficking.

Last night once again reminded me of God's faithfulness and how he works through people to accomplish his purposes.  Aaron and Lea and the Engedi staff and volunteers are the hands and feet of Jesus.  Day in and day out, they show His love to the residents and that love bears fruit -- resulting in one of the highest success rates in the USA for organizations helping women heal from and avoid future sex trafficking.

It isn't always easy. In fact, there are many challenges.  But again, God is faithful to provide, to sustain, and to encourage.  Last night, the hundreds in attendance showed their support and encouragement through both their presence and their financial support.

Engedi is truly making a difference.  Please continue to pray for the staff, the ladies who have been clients, those who currently are clients and those who will be clients.

Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit


Trafficking during March Madness

The USA Today headline on April 10, 2019 was: "Sex trafficking sting operation at NCAA tournament Final Four nets 58 arrests"  Click here to learn more.

The. Best. Volunteers.

Three Cheers for Hope4Justice Volunteers

They're simply the best!

Several Hope4Justice volunteers faithfully work behind the scenes on various tasks.  They do it without fanfare and without seeking recognition.  They are an integral part to our ongoing efforts to increase awareness about trafficking and working with our partners.

Alysa has been posting Hope4Justice tweets since last fall.  Anne-Mariecoordinates with us to put together and send out  the weekly prayer letter for Engedi Refuge Ministries.  Jasmine helps with various website tasks and Jennifer has been regularly posting on our Facebook page. 

In this electronic age, volunteers don't have to live close by to be involved with Hope4Justice efforts.  All of the tasks listed above could be done from anywhere in the world and some actually are!   Volunteers work for whatever period of time fits them -- sometimes it's a month or two but more often it's much longer.

We thank God for each of these people.  Their hearts have been touched by the issue of human trafficking and they have taken action. 

What action are you taking?  Have you made changes in how you shop?  Are you having conversations with others about trafficking?  Have you read books and articles or otherwise become more informed about this issue?  Do you donate to an anti-trafficking group?  

If everyone does something to fight human trafficking,  we can push back the darkness of this evil.   If He is nudging you to get involved with Hope4Justice, send us an email and we'll communicate with you about how you might get involved!


Want to learn more about the face of modern-day slavery? Visit