You Made It To Week Three, FIRESTARTER!

-Where freedom is the new black-

Hello Firestarter! We are proud of you as you keep going wearing your black through this month to bring freedom to others. We think you are pretty cool and we really hope that you are changing through this experience as you change the world. 

If nothing else, we hope that every day as you put on your black, you are pausing a minute to remember those who are enslaved to bring them freedom. You are rising up for these, giving a voice to the voiceless and oppressed. Thank you.

This week we are looking at it means to "minimize". We ask you to:

  • Reread your "why" from week one to keep your eyes on the goal 
  • Spend some time looking through this page, reading the stories and doing the exercises
  • Challenge yourself to choose one area where you can minimize the demand for modern slaves from your life


Keep burning strong and fighting the fight, 

 - The LBD.Project Team (you can also find us on Facebook and Instagram )

Reducing demand

You're on week three of this timeline:

WEEK 1

WEEK 2

WEEK 3

WEEK 4

POST-MARCH

MOBILIZE

This week is dedicated to starting, including helping you discover your "why," setting up fundraising pages, and guiding you on how to create awareness.

MAXIMIZE

Week two of the LBD.Project focuses on using our circles of influence and reach to help bring freedom to modern slaves. 

MINIMIZE

This week takes a closer look at ourselves and how we can be part of bringing freedom to modern slaves by reducing demand and looking at our lifestyles.

MISSIONIZE

During our last week of the project we focus on wrapping up our efforts, concluding fundraising well, and working through how we can continue being advocates for freedom moving on.

MESMERIZE

After March and through April we will celebrate this year's LBD.Project with our final fundraising count, wins, and stories from this year's challenge. We are better together! 

WEEK THREE: MINIMIZE

So you've decided you really dislike human trafficking. Now it is time to see how you can be part of reducing through your everyday life. 

1.) The Demand and Your Part 

2.) Stories For the Week

3.) Minimizing Your Bad Wildfires

1.) The Demand and Your Part

If you've been reading the 31 Human Trafficking Facts, you know how large and overwhelming the issue of modern slavery is. One of the best parts of the LBD.Project is that it helps normal, everyday people like us do something about something as intimidating as human trafficking.

Part of this begins with us. It might be surprising, but the truth is that modern slavery exists because of the normal people who fuel it. True, oppression does exist when everyday people don't stand against injustice. But also, it is us, everyday, average people who are creating the demand for modern slaves.

We'll make an educated guess that you probably don't own a domestic servant or regularly hit the streets for sex. However, you might unknowingly be adding to demand in other ways, or are friends with others who do. 


As we advocate against human trafficking, we don't want to be hypocrites. This is why this week we challenge you to look at your own life to see if you can be part of minimizing the demand for modern slaves.


Your Slavery Footprint: Goods

What do labor trafficking victims do all day? When we think about the answer to this question, we realize that they probably do things that would bring their oppressors profit, or maybe bring ease to their owner's lives. So, if there are tens of millions of modern slaves making money for their oppressors, and we live in a globalized world with a high economy, it shouldn't be hard for us to put two and two together. Yep. You got it: the oppressors make their money off of us

We know it is hard to consider how much you add to the demand for modern slaves, but we must be honest with ourselves. If you do anything this week, take this unique, interactive survey to help you see your slavery footprint here

How many modern slaves do you use?

Buying Sex is Normal

Sex trafficking only exists because of the buyers--as long as there is a demand, oppressors will keep fulfilling it with bodies for their own profit. 

We might consider the purchase of sex as taboo, but in reality it isn't. True, it is still frowned on for those in service or power, like politicians, ministers, or firemen, and policemen to buy sex. Even so, there is increasing evidence that these people still buy sex; they just do it in secret. 

Most buyers of sex in the U.S. are people we might look at as everyday people--white, middle age, church-going males. Hiring a stripper for a bachelor party or going to a strip club on a work trip isn't considered abnormal, yet often those working in the sex industry are at high risk of being sex trafficked, if they aren't being trafficked already. A large portion of our media and music also glamorizes the sex industry, deceiving those on the outside, like the johns and other purchasers, that they are involved in harmless activities. 

In addition, studies show that in the United States, porn is used by about one third of women and anywhere from 60% to 99% of men. Pornography acts like a drug, and needs continual hits to bring its users to satisfaction, usually resulting in the purchase of sex that is abusive in nature. The average age for pornography use to begin is between ages 8-12. We don't need to imagine how much of that "drug" an early addict would need by adulthood to get a fix to realize these stats are unveiling a serious problem.

What does this have to do with human trafficking?

Sex trafficking is fueled by the demand for sex for sale, and therefore the sex industry creates an enviornment where the trafficking of bodies thrives. There is a lot of gray area when it comes to sex trafficking; however, the more work anti-trafficking advocates do to unveil this issue, the more it is becoming clear that the sex industry is often a disguise for modern slavery. 

Learn more about the demand for sex and its connection to sex trafficking from these resources: 

How can we help reduce the demand?

Don't Buy Sex

  • Get help with porn or buying sex here and here.
  • Encourage your friends who are into porn or buying sex to see the negative consequences (like sex trafficking!) and refer them to help.
  • Become a Defender or write a letter to johns here.
  • When you see/hear media that glorifies sexual abuse or buying sex, say something to help others realize not everyone thinks this is cool. 

Avoid Buying Goods Made By Slaves 

  • Buy used and recycle and reuse, so you aren't adding to the demand for new products made. 
  • Buy from ethically sourced and Social Good Stores.
  • To avoid being overwelmed and quiting before you start, choose just one area to begin buying differently in.
  • Minimizing the demand for modern slaves though the goods you buy is an extensive topic, so here is a smattering of things to help you on your way:  
Human Trafficking Awareness

What is Conscious Fashion and Why Your Choice Matters

Last year, ethicial fashion bloggers Sutton + Grove wrote to the LBD.Project participants about the tie between human trafficking and our clothing. We encourage you to check out their post and watch the short video there.

In addition, Sutton + Grove have a huge list of different social good companies you can start using for your basic clothing needs on their website, and are always continuing to review and find more. If you are interested in learning about buying clothing in a way that helps bring freedom to modern slaves, check out this post to start, and from there, follow the linked resources. 

Even if you want to bring freedom to modern slaves, it can be too overwhelming to change your whole lifestyle all at once. We suggest starting with one commitment to implement over a designated time period. Our founder, Elisa, gives an example from her own life. >>>

Here are some ideas of where to get ethically sourced clothing and goods from to start:

Favorites Average advocate Products

2.) Stories For the Week

BLOC  

"Another LBD.Project participant, Lisa and I volunteered for a couple years at Weightless Anchor, a day shelter for women through BLOC Ministries. One thing we noticed was that women would go into jail, get clean, be released, and then fall back into the exact same pattern of living (prostituting to support their heroin addiction). When we talking with one of these women, she told us that while they are in jail, no one helps them get lined up with something different for when they are released. So, once they are released, often without any notice late in the evening, or at 4am in the morning, with no one to call, nowhere particular to go, no financial resources . . . the cycle begins all over again.  

There is so much wrong with this picture; it was heartbreaking.  

Seeing the need, in February of 2017, BLOC decided to open Redeemed Home, a transitional living opportunity that provides holistic care for each resident, body, soul, and spirit. Now a second Redeemed Home is scheduled to open in the next few months!  

Another barrier that was identified was how to keep our connection with the ladies that we had developed relationships with at the Weightless Anchor locations while they were in jail. Visits were limited to 15 minutes, 3 times a week. Oftentimes when we would go, we ran the risk of taking a visit away from a family member. More often though, we would get down to the jail and find that they had already had a visit. Those who we were able to visit were very appreciative. One woman told me, “This is the first conversation that I have had with any of you where I haven’t been high and have been thinking clearly.”  

Seeing jail time as an opportunity to have conversations when our ladies were clean, sober, and undistracted, we discovered that if we became ordained, we could have pastoral visits, which gives much greater flexibility. Now two of us have gone through that process, so we can visit whenever, for as long as we want, and without interfering with visits from family and friends.  

Once when I was visiting one of my ladies she said, “You don’t know how much you do for us at Weightless Anchor.” I nodded my head thinking of the physical things, things like a safe place to be warm and dry, clean clothes, food, etc. . . She said again, “No, you really don’t know how much you do for us . . . I have never been judged by anyone there.”  

Ours is a fight against human trafficking and often the slave master, or “pimp,” is addiction. He is a ruthless, cruel master, stealing the lives and souls of both men and women, breaking relationships, destroying families, and driving them to do the unthinkable to satisfy his craving. He is relentless, and does not willingly give up his grip on those he has made his slaves."

You can learn more about our partner, BLOC, and fundraise or donate to them through the LBD.Project here


GRACE (Girls Rising Above Commercial Exploitation)

"What sets me on fire: we don’t have safe houses in San Diego for victims of child trafficking yet SD is one of the top cities for CSEC (commercial sexual exploitation of children). Instead, SD has homeless/runaway youth shelters where traffickers target the most vulnerable population. So that is why we are starting GRACE - to make a difference in the lives of children under 18 at risk of child exploitation and provide a safe retreat for them to heal." -Leah Watson, founder of GRACE.

GRACE is hoping to open its doors in May of 2018. However, bringing to life the vision of a home (starting as a transitional home) for sex trafficked minors requires alignment in everything from logistics, funding, laws and volunteers (to name a few). 

Just because there is an incredible need for something, and a vision to bring wholeness and restoration to a broken area in society, doesn't mean that vision will just come to pass. Vision is always only birthed though trials and a painstaking process. This vision, to bring freedom to sex trafficked minors, will only be fulfilled when brave firestarters take the first step to help bring it to life. 

Donate to or join our fundraising team for GRACE here.

Sex Trafficking Minors Safe House
LBD.Project Hat Sex Trafficking San Diego
LBD.Project and Grace sex trafficking minors San Diego

A LBD.Project Participant Who Maximized" Last Week

Jen Pool is rather quiet, but after having people ask her about human trafficking multiple times, she decided to just answer those questions on Facebook Live for a handful of friends this past week. To her surprise, this video she made about human trafficking (with her heart pounding the whole time) has now been shared over 2000 times! Apparently, it met a need! (It is worth watching--check it out here >>>) 

What we ask you to do to maximize this project is simply look at what is in your hands, what is in your circle of influence, and use it. Kudos to Jen who bravely used what was in her hands! 


Stay tuned for next week to hear more stories from our featured and partner organizations and participants! 

NEED HELP MOBILIZING WITH LOGISTICS?

NEED HELP MAXIMIZING YOUR INFLUENCE?

Go to WEEK ONE: MOBILIZE for help getting your fundraising and sharing set up (it is not too late!). 

Go to WEEK TWO: MAXIMIZE for work through how to live your LBD.Project story, use your influence and be inspire by stories. 

Maximize LBD.Project Circle of Influence Human Trafficking

3.) MINIMIZING YOUR BAD WILDFIRES

How Can You Start Good Fires?

What steps can you take to practice starting fires that don't destroy influence, friendships, or your heart? Check out the "How To Start Good Fires" section of this post to give you some tips:

Good Anger or Bitterness?

It is easy to let our hatred of the different types of modern slavery to spill into our heart and become bitterness. This anger only hurts us, though, and doesn't help the cause. (Read more.

Holy Discontent 

During the LBD.Project, we are all are likely experiencing what is known as righteous anger, or holy discontent. It is a "this shouldn't be so and I can't not do something about this specific problem anymore." What do we do with it? Listen to our director talk about her own experiece with this here:

Average aDvocate starting good fires
Righteous Anger average Advocate
Righteous Anger Average Advocate

Exercise: Making Good Fires

  • Write out a time when you felt unhappy, mad, or gross because of how someone advocated.
  • Ask youself why you didn't like it and how it made you feel or what it made you think.
  • Consider how you can talk about human trafficking differently, and avoid making people feel bad, the way you had.
  • Write out an outline for a script or a few phrases that you think might be better recieved to talk about human trafficking, making you sound approachable and less judgemental.
  • Ask a friend to let you practice these scripted phrases/points with them (ideally someone who doesn't know much or anything about human trafficking).
  •  Ask for their feedback on how you could be better recieved (one good thing and one area where you can grow).

How can you be part of reducing demand as to help bring freedom to modern slaves?

Maybe you realized from the above that one area you do have influence in is finishing off this checklist! This is if you want to go all in to do the LBD.Project with intentionality:

LBD.Project's Firestarter Checklist

  • You have your black item of clothing
  • You follow us on Instagram
  • You've joined our Facebook group
  • You've changed your Facebook profile image 
  • You've added a "frame" to your image (search "LBD.Project" under profile image options)
  • You've changed your Facebook cover photo
  • You've ordered your pin
  • You've got some swag
  • You have your copy of 31 Days of Human Trafficking Facts and images
  • Days later, you still wearing your black
  • You've even washed your black at least once this week!
  • You've processed and know your "why"
  • You've chosen your org here or here
  • You've made a fundraising page
  • You've saved the link
  • You added the link to your social media profiles
  • You've made a copy & paste blurb
  • You've sent an email to your friends and family about why you are doing this, inviting them to join
  • You know where the media kit and the LBD.Project downloads are
  • You've begun sharing online everyday
  • You've watched this week's Facebook Live video if you thought it would help
  • You realize you can chill out (and then do so) because even firestarters need to rest sometimes!