Fifteen years ago, the organization Courage Worldwide – originally called Courage to Be You – began its simple mission to equip, encourage and empower individuals to pursue and fulfill their God-given purpose on this earth. Then in 2007, I heard that I lived in a world where children are sold for sex and my heart broke in a way it had never been broken for any social justice issue in my lifetime. Because of that heartbreak and the absolute injustice and human rights abuse I had just learned of, I joined in the anti-human trafficking movement. I wasn’t a victim of this crime. I had not been abused or tortured in any way. I had no experience or understanding with regard to the level of trauma and pain these victims experienced. However, none of these things stopped me from using my voice to shout from every platform I had been given - whether personal or professional – that it is wrong for a child to be sold for sex. But I didn’t stop there. I also passionately challenged anyone who would listen: “Now that you know, what are you going to do?” I told everyone I came in contact with that it was wrong and unacceptable to do nothing. Not being a perpetrator was not enough.
(Left) Incredible musicians & choir who gave their talents from Courage Concerts, (Right) Courage Event Volunteers
It is wrong for a child to be sold for sex. The Bible tells us that “When people speaking the same language come together as one, then nothing they plan will be impossible for them” (Genesis 11:5). This verse became our mantra at Courage Worldwide. I love this verse because I love participating with God to do the impossible. I also love this verse because in it, God gives us a clue to accomplishing the impossible - unity; a common language.
When we first started working in the space of human trafficking, specifically child sex trafficking, people looked at the children we served as prostitutes, juvenile delinquents, bad girls and drug addicts until we, and other organizations like us, educated them – until we told their stories. Laws changed and so did hearts. Now communities all over the world have built homes and provide services while calling them victims of a horrendous crime. They see them differently. They listened. They changed their opinion. They see them as daughters – as family. This movement continues and is made up of good people who see an injustice and come together as one using their voices, their actions and their money to demonstrate it is wrong for children to be sold for sex. And they are changing the world – one individual at a time. Just ask the girls who call Courage House home.
Thank you! Without you we could not do what we believe God has called us to. This work can be heartbreaking, exhausting and messy. However, seeing a young girl come home to Courage House after experiencing horrific abuse and trauma makes it all worth it.
Her healing isn’t quick. It takes a great deal of time, counseling and new experiences to undo the trauma of being sold for sex; of being told you have no value. There is no quick overnight solution. When a vulnerable, abused and exploited young woman or girl comes to Courage House, she is often very angry along with being scared and hurt. That anger often gets transferred over to our staff and the other girls. We don’t discipline or reprimanded her for her anger. In our world it is normal (though we do offer safe ways to express that anger). We don’t comfort her by saying “we aren’t perpetrators so don’t be mad at us.” We don’t offer her explanations and solutions to the global human trafficking problem. We don’t give her a menu of all we have done to fight sex trafficking and ask her to be grateful.
We sit with her in her pain. She wants to feel safe. She wants to be seen and heard. She wants to be told it's not her fault. We listen to her story if she wants to share. We acknowledge the wrong that has been done to her. We share our tears with her and we offer to walk beside her into a new reality and a new future. We try to lighten her load by offering to carry her burdens. We pause with her in her pain. We feel it. And eventually healing begins to happen. We then take those very personal experiences and we go into communities and we “fight trafficking.” We train communities, businesses, churches and governments in how to recognize, prevent and fight trafficking. Believing together we can change the world one individual at a time.
With your partnership, we will continue the enormous mission and vision God has given us to rescue and restore victims of sex trafficking. We will continue to build homes and offer services to victims of this evil no matter their skin color or ethnic background, believing together we can change the world one individual at a time.
If you are not already, could you consider a financial gift this month or become a recurring monthly partner? During the pandemic we have additional costs with upcoming college fees, a new baby, 3 new girls, along with a young child rescued just last week. We continue to say yes, even when we don’t have the funds in the bank, believing this is what we are called to do. We need your financial support as well as your prayers. Thank you so much for your faithfulness.
Sincerely, Jenny Williamson, Founder/CEO