“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
These compelling words come from Proverbs 31:8-9, a verse that is very near and dear to the heart of Julie Shrader, President of Rejuvenating Women. Rejuvenating Women is a non-profit organization in Omaha, Nebraska, that is fully committed to supporting women who are hurting as a result of human trafficking. Before we dive into the mission of this organization, it is important that we understand what human trafficking is. Human trafficking is defined as, "the trade in humans, usually for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor, or commercial sexual exploitation." These victims are recruited, transported, harbored, or received by means of threat, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of vulnerability, or awarding payments to the person that is in control of the victim.
These events are devastating and terrifying, so it is often difficult for us to really think about the occurrence of trafficking in our own communities. Attention needs to be brought to the magnitude of this modern day slavery and the victims of these horrific crimes need to be rehabilitated and loved. This is where organizations such as Rejuvenating Women come into play. This organization provides holistic trauma care, weekly support groups with Bible application, free counseling, and a mentorship program. Shrader specifically does many speaking engagements for education and awareness. She shared with me that their goal is to “come alongside victims and survivors of trafficking and help them with life and making good choices while showing them how to change the way that they think.” These victims are those who are currently enslaved, but also those who have been rescued but are still living in “victim” mode. Rejuvenating Women helps these women to become financially stable and employable, so that they can get the structure in their lives that they so desperately need. These practical skills are of dire importance, but at the heart of rehabilitation is love. Schrader shared that Rejuvenating Women takes an approach that is “strictly based on love.” When asked how this rehabilitation can work Shrader stated:
“If we can love them where they are at without conditions, they will learn to trust us. Once they see compassion and love from us, their walls break down and we are able to work on the broken pieces in them and trust God to put them back together.”
These words really spoke to my heart and I pray that they speak to yours as well. The employees and volunteers at Rejuvenating Women are truly the hands and feet of Jesus, and a light amongst these dark circumstances.