The Journey to Love for Victims of Sex Trafficking

Rescued

“Beloved.” Chang Chang’s eyes and heart are drawn to the word engraved in stainless steel. “Beloved” is more than just a word. It’s who she is. As she runs the delicate chain through her fingers, memories of her old life run through her mind. She remembers working in the “shops” of her hometown in northern Asia where vulnerable women often fall prey to sex trafficking.

Everything changed for Chang Chang the day the artisan outreach group visited her. They invited her to make the 28-hour journey to their shelter where she was embraced by her new artisan family. In turn, she embraced every opportunity to bond with them – cooking, singing, crafting jewelry, and constantly learning. Chang Chang remembers the warmth and comfort she felt,

“I loved living in the shelter. It was so much fun. There was always something happening—cooking, games, talking, singing, watching movies. I loved having family style meals with the other women.”

Invested

Overwhelmed by low self-worth and shame, many new artisans struggle with accepting the love their community offers when they arrive at the shelter. The artisan community strategically invests countless resources into these young women who have been exploited through sex trafficking. Seen as real people with real hearts and minds, artisans are offered counseling to help them overcome the trauma of their pasts, as well as education and training to help them create possibilities for their futures. Many artisans, like Chang Chang, feel valued for the first time in their lives.

“So many staff members have poured into me and have helped me develop professionally and personally. I remember one time I was crying at the shelter, and multiple coworkers came and comforted me. I like the fact that people care about my heart.”

Encouraged

Chang Chang cherishes every investment Trades of Hope makes into her professional and personal growth. For two years, she lived at the artisan shelter – learning, crafting, and healing. Her artisan community constantly encouraged her to pursue every opportunity for personal growth. Once computer illiterate, Chang Chang became a Certified Microsoft Expert. Her new skills quickly earned her a promotion into management.

Encouraged to pursue and invest in her own passions and dreams, Chang Chang began saving part of her income, hoping to one day own her own business. Her heart and mind are no longer trapped in the pain of her past but are now focused on her hopes for her future. The personal and professional skills she has gained as an artisan will continue to help her grow throughout her journey as an independent entrepreneur.

Beloved

Through her artisan community, Chang Chang has discovered many encouraging truths about herself. She has discovered that she is now safe and secure. She has discovered that she is intelligent and capable. But surprisingly, her greatest discovery on her journey to becoming a skilled artisan and accomplished businesswoman is that she is loved.

“I have so many happy memories. I loved going on a business trip to help source materials with Jenny and our Production Director. We were busy meeting suppliers and purchasing materials, but they still took the time to celebrate my birthday and make me feel so special. There was so much food that we were not even able to finish all the dishes!”

The love her artisan community has engraved on her heart is engraved in everything Chang Chang has crafted as an artisan. From sorrow and shame to hope and dignity, Chang Chang’s journey has been more than a journey to freedom from sex slavery and sustainable income. It has been a journey to love.

Every My Beloved Charm purchase helps a woman rescued out of Sex Trafficking.

“You are not just buying jewelry but giving women real opportunities to grow. Learn the stories of the people who are making the products you purchase. You will see lives are being changed because you buy our jewelry.” 

– Chang Chang

Kathy
About Kathy Thomas
Kathy Thomas is an inspirational writer with a passion for helping women discover and celebrate their unique gifts and abilities. Kathy is part of the Communication Team at Trades of Hope focusing on Artisan Development.

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