Reader feedback: Is your church involved in the fight against human trafficking?
Now online, “A mission of hands and feet,” a report from my recent trip to Nepal with four members of the Highland Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas. Two of them work for Eternal Threads, an Abilene-based nonprofit that sells fair-trade items crafted by women in a dozen countries.
In Nepal, Eternal Threads partners with a Nepali-operated nonprofit, Kingdom Investments Nepal, that fights the scourge of human trafficking — young girls lured from their villages, taken across the border into India, and sold into lives of slavery in brothels.
You’ll also find a gallery with photos not included in our print edition.
Though I’ve traveled internationally for The Christian Chronicle for a decade, the journey to Nepal was unique.
I’m used to covering gospel campaigns, medical mission trips and dedication ceremonies for new schools and clinics. I’ve shot photos in a mountain village in Ecuador, a crowded home Bible study in India and a thatch-roof church building in Sudan.
But this was my first beauty salon.
Our team took photos and videos of young women — rescued from human traffickers — as they practiced waxing each other’s arms. We also partook of the salon’s services. Linda Egle, Eternal Threads’ founder, got a henna tattoo while Jennifer Patterson, an Eternal Threads staffer, received an eyebrow plucking through a method called “threading.” It did not look fun. (The things women subject themselves to … amazing.)
Jonathan Storment, the Highland church’s minister, boldly stepped forward to receive a pedicure. I made sure to get pictures. (A few weeks ago I posted on Facebook: “I’m processing close-up photos of Jonathan Storment’s feet … and wondering how my life came to this.”)
The girls asked if there was anything they could do for me. I actually had forgotten to get a haircut before I left the U.S., so they obliged, and did a great job.
If you’re interested in joining the fight against human trafficking, Eternal Threads is looking for volunteers to host “Gatherings” — retreats and get-togethers where people can share the nonprofit’s story and provide a marketplace for its products. Follow this link for more information on hosting a Gathering.
Is your congregation, ministry or school involved in the global fight against human trafficking? Please share the details.
Here’s a trailer for a film about Kingdom Investments Nepal, the Nepali nonprofit that partners with Eternal Threads. It will give you a feel for how workers with the nonprofit intercept potential human traffickers.
And here’s a video produced by Matt Pinson about Eternal Threads’ work in Nepal.