This may be a strange topic for a nomad. Given the traveling lifestyle we have adopted, the fact that freedom is something I truly cherish should be of no surprise. There are so many things that can enslave us: dictators, debt, false beliefs or even marriage. I have spent years cutting one chain at a time and I am free, spiritually, physically, and financially.
I count those blessings every day. Maybe this is why I feel so strongly about fighting human trafficking and especially sex slavery. For years this issue has been close to my heart.
Before leaving the USA over one year ago I heard about a foundation here in Ecuador that helps girls who are rescued from human trafficking. Many of these girls were sold by their own family members, often by their own fathers, into sex slavery.
It is hard to even fathom the betrayal or the trauma that these girls have experienced.
For the past year I have been anticipating this stop in Quito, Ecuador. I wanted to be involved, even if I had little to offer. Even if the most I could do was make a few people aware. I wanted to see the work being done here.
After a few days in Quito we met up with Boris, the director of the Dunamis Foundation. Contrary to his Russian-sounding name, he is Latin American. His life at age 30 is already worthy of a book. We give a glimpse of it as he recounts his life threatening experience with a guerrilla group in Colombia and then later his life on the streets in Ecuador. The rest we will leave for his book
Boris showed us around the current Dunamis Foundation building where they conduct classes, such as jewelry making, and facilitate activities for the girls. He also showed us their new facility, still under construction, which will allow them to have a greater impact to these girls’ lives.
We found a few ways that we could help. The current building needed some wall repairs, while the new building could use some help with cleaning construction dust and the fabrication of a driveway entrance gate.
There was a huge hole in the wall in the current building that needed to be fixed. It was opened up due to a water pipe leak. We called Chuck, the best mason I know, from Oswego New York for a bit of advice before starting, then got to work.
We spent the first week and a half helping with renovations of the current Dunamis workshop where some of these rescued girls learn new skills, build new relationships and begin learning of their worth.
On the first day that I met the girls, they wanted me to participate in a dance with them. Now, my dancing skills are… well let’s just say that if Elaine from the Seinfeld show were to dance with me, she would look like a ballerina. My insecurity was screaming inside to say no and just sit on the sideline to watch.
But I looked at the girls and realized that it didn’t matter what I looked like in my attempt to move to music. What mattered was telling them with my actions that I cared about them and wanted to be a part of their life. I danced, if you can call it that, and we performed the number before lunch. I only want them to know they have worth.
We then moved to the new facility located high up in the mountains. We spent a bit of time here in this beautiful location getting it just a little closer to being ready for the girls to move in.
The new home will provide them a safe place to stay away from the pimps and the predators. It is also a place for them to recover while learning new life skills and enable them to avail of professional opportunities. The goal is to give them a new start, a second chance.
Five ways you could help
- The Dunamis Foundation still needs to build a wall around the property for the safety of the girls both from their predators and from themselves. You could put together a team and come visit beautiful Ecuador to build a section of the wall. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org directly if you have a team.
- Buy some jewelry for yourself or a friend. Managers, this is a great Christmas gift idea for your employees.
- Donate directly to Dunamis.
- Share this post with others whom you feel would want to help.
- Purchase items from product links on this blog. All net proceeds from commissions are donated to the Dunamis Foundation.
Freedom isn’t free,
what a cherished gift it is.
More information is available at:
Footnotes: 1. https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-human-trafficking 2. Skinner, E. Benjamin. A Crime So Monstrous: Face-to-Face with Modern-Day Slavery. New York, NY: Free Press, 2008. Other Resources: https://www.factretriever.com/human-trafficking-facts