Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. You can view past posts from the series here.
This following article is a guest post from Susan Allen Panzica.
It started with a dream – a nightmare really. A vivid dream that my daughter (who was living in Australia at the time) was abducted by human traffickers. I grabbed my phone and immediately texted my daughter. Finally the ping of her text reply. “I’m fine Mom. What’s up?”
The flood of relief as I sank into the pillows and prayed “Thank God it wasn’t my daughter” was immediately replaced by the awareness that it was somebody’s daughter.
Somebody’s daughter was abducted and sold into slavery that night. Somebody’s daughter ran away and was sucked into the web of human trafficking. Somebody’s daughter was brainwashed to think there was no hope, no way out. Somebody’s daughter was being used for profit and the salacious enjoyment of men in a dark and evil underworld. Somebody’s daughter was silently crying out for justice.
That night, across the world and in my own state of New Jersey, people of all ages, colors, and genders were being held against their will, their passports held by unscrupulous “employers,” working as nannies, maids, bonded laborers with no hope or chance for freedom.
It’s a tragic fact that there is more slavery in the world today than at any time in history. There’s an estimated 29.8 million people caught in human trafficking – modern day slavery – whether it is forced labor or the sex trade or underage prostitution. It’s the fastest growing and second largest criminal activity in the world.
Shortly after my nightmare, I saw a post on a friend’s Facebook page about human trafficking and left a comment. Then another Facebook friend left a comment to mine saying, “If you do something, let me know.”
I stared at her comment thinking, “Will this be one more time where I say I want to do something, yet actually do nothing. Or this time will I actually DO something?”
So I reached out to Tanya who created the original post. Over her kitchen table, we shared our thoughts and information. We were just two suburban moms, outraged over the colossal issue of human trafficking, attempting to answer the question, “How can we make a difference from here?” In the days that followed, I casually mentioned my new endeavor to selected friends and family. In less than two months, our group grew from two to twenty-two!
And we accidentally became abolitionists.
We formed Justice Network to raise awareness of the issue and support for organizations locally and globally that are already on the front lines fighting this heinous evil. Justice Network exists to educate, equip, and empower friends and neighbors to become abolitionists providing education about the facts and ways to fight the issue and directing support to those organizations rescuing victims.
We are part of the NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking, participating in and contributing to their activities. And each month Justice Network hosts its own events, including a movie showing, fair trade market, jewelry party, appeals to Congressmen, high school outreach, etc.
Through both secular and religious organizations, change is taking place. Traffickers are going to jail. Victims are rescued and redeemed. People are changing the world. I’m a “real housewife of NJ” out to change my corner of it and to do what I can to impact the lives of those in peril.
Susan is a wife and mom who manages her chiropractor husband’s office by day and writes by night. She writes a personal blog, Eternity Café, that shares stories of everyday life that reflect the eternal truths of God and is the co-founder of Justice Network, which raises awareness of human trafficking and support for organizations locally and globally that are already on the front lines fighting this heinous evil.