The American Dream... not

Action step against trafficking:  Encourage a WWU, WCC, or Whatcom County high school student to apply for the Hope4Justice STEP -- Student Trafficking Education Project -- scholarship.  (Details below.)

The American Dream
turns out to be trafficking

Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida and several prominent US men have recently been in the news.  A USA Today article on 2/24/19 reported, "It's not yet clear how many victims will be identified in the law enforcement sting of illicit massage parlors in Florida that are suspected of being part of an international human trafficking ring, but several high-profile names have been charged with soliciting, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, billionaire equity firm owner and prominent Republican donor John Childs and Johnny DelPrete, the longtime boyfriend of an LPGA star. They deny the charges." 

USA Today says, "A massage parlor may not be what people have in mind when they hear "modern-day slavery," but advocates hope this case is eye-opening to the human trafficking happening in communities large and small across the nation.

The article goes on to say, "Immigrant victims often are promised high-paying jobs in the U.S. but are forced into sex work once they arrive, experts say."  Sadly, their hope of a better life in America instead becomes a reality involving force, fraud, and coercion. 

“All the victims I serve, they all had a family, they all came here for a dream, the land of opportunity. This is what America is about: the land of opportunity, the freedom,” Chen says. “Their dream got distorted by people who manipulated the situation and are using them. The sad thing, I remember talking to the victims saying, ‘Did you know that you were going to do work such as this?’ And they say: ‘No, we don’t know. We don’t know anything.’"

These situations break my heart. 

Let's pray for traffickers and customers to be exposed, lies to be revealed, and victims to be freed and healed.

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


In 2018, we featured an article on Chris Lease, BPD officer and IJM volunteer.  Recently Whatcom Talk wrote about Chris and his overseas rescue work with International Justice Mission.  Read the article HERE.

We salute Officer Lease and his passion for justice in this dark world.


Restoring Hope Gala
Saturday, April 13, 2019

 Engedi Refuge says, "You can help bring safety, comfort, and hope to victims of sex trafficking by joining us at our 2019 Restoring Hope fundraising gala. This event is an amazing opportunity for community partners like you to share this mission with your friends and associates by inviting them to a night of celebration, inspiration, fun, and meaningful charity. You make all the difference in ensuring the message of hope continues to be carried to survivors of trafficking!!"

When: Saturday, April 13, 2019. Registration opens at 5:30, dinner served at 6:30
Where: Four Points by Sheraton, 714 Lakeway Drive, Bellingham WA 98229
Cost: Single ticket; $65; Table Sponsorship of 8 is $500.

Click HERE to register for the Gala


Student Trafficking Education Project
"STEP" scholarship
 There is still time for students to complete trafficking awareness activities and apply for the 2019 Hope4Justice STEP scholarship

Three $1000 scholarships are available - one each to a WCC student, a WWU student, and a Whatcom County high school student. 

DEADLINE for submission is April 15, 2019 

Students must satisfactorally complete at least 20 hours of trafficking awareness activity.  Click on the items below for details about the STEP scholarship.