This time of year allows each of us to pause and reflect on what we are grateful for in life and the past 11 months. As individuals and a company this year we feel blessed, and not because 2020 has been easy. This year has been hard and deeply trying, but has also deepened our appreciation for family, friends, safety, health, a job and more.
Even more so, we are grateful for our freedom as an individual with the ability to self determine and choose the course for our lives. Several of us at Stone Creek have taken the year to dive deeper into social and humanitarian injustices. As a result, we would like to share some of what we have learned and two of the organizations we are supporting.
The modern world we live in is home to more slaves than human history has ever seen. Over 40 million people are enslaved in a global $150 billion industry. Of this massive number of enslaved people, it is estimated that 1 in 4 slavery victims are children (IJM). Those in slavery work in a variety of industries performing hard labor, providing domestic house work, forced into the commercial sex trade, and even working supply chains that provide us with common consumer goods.
This pervasive issue is perpetuated by poverty, greed, and those who would steal another’s life for the sake of economic gain. As we learned more about the injustices faced by millions, we sought to support local and global organizations seeking to thwart the slavery industry.
International Justice Mission is a global organization that seeks to “restore and rescue victims, bring criminals to justice and strengthen the justice systems” (IJM). This methodology seeks to help the individual who has been harmed by slavery while also changing the systems that allow the slave industry to persist. IJM continually updates donors and followers about their rescue operations across the globe as a constant reminder of the work they are doing (Follow to see their rescues). They accept one time and monthly gifts to help fund these rescues.
While it can be easy to consider slavery a global problem, “an estimated 79,000 minors and young adults are victims of sex trafficking in Texas”. Local to San Antonio, we have begun following and supporting Ransomed Life which serves as “a healing community for sexually exploited youth” (Ransomed Life).
Most of the population does not recognize subtle signs of sex trafficking despite witnessing it firsthand in their own communities. One of their core missions is to educate individuals like you and me to be able to spot and stop instances of potential or ongoing trafficking (Follow here for local education opportunities and more). This method of prevention can be invaluable to protect people from the hardships of exploitation.
Ransomed Life also serves youth who have endured exploitation by offering counseling to help heal trauma, supportive mentorship and community support in the healing process. This organization also accepts donations, is part of Amazon Smile, and offers many ways for locals to volunteer and get involved on an ongoing basis.
Join us in reflecting on the gifts of freedom and how we can support those who fight for it.