Manumit Coffee Roasters

Several months ago the Red Community trustees met and discussed various ways that we could offer practical help to survivors of slavery in Wales as they seek to rebuild their lives. One of the dreams we had was to see a coffee roasting company set up that could provide training and employment to those who have suffered horrendous exploitation at the hands of traffickers and modern slave traders. The coffee would be ethically sourced, profits could be donated to various anti-slavery projects and the coffee itself could be used as a means of raising awareness about the issue of slavery.

Long story short...the dream came true!

Manumit Coffee Roasters was established separately from Red Community as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee in January 2017. The team have obtained an industrial unit in Cardiff and established a great working partnership with wonderful local roasters - the Plug. The Roastery is now very almost finished and so, incredibly, the first employees will soon be roasting great coffee that's all about freedom and hope. 

If you'd like to follow the adventure Manumit already has Twitter and Instagram accounts set up and a website will soon be available with information about the coffee and details about how it can be purchased. Facebook will also be coming online soon.

Please pray for Manumit and, if you like coffee, support the initiative by buying some when it is available.

#FreedomThroughCoffee
#doyoumanumit

Befrienders: All set to serve!

On Saturday our first draft of befrienders gathered together at Rhiwbina Baptist Church to receive training and orientation for befriending trafficking survivors here in Cardiff. Our Embrace coordinator, Lauren, reflects on a fantastic milestone moment for Red Community:


Exciting times with the Embrace Project! Last Saturday, 7 individuals from 5 different churches around Cardiff gathered together over lots of coffees, cakes, and biscuits to be trained as Embrace Befrienders. Everyone had been briefed beforehand regarding the background history of human trafficking, leaving us the day to dive into information pertinent to the project.

We were joined by two professionals in the field to help guide conversation, answer questions, and provide wisdom that comes from life experience in their roles.  

First, we watched videos with stories of people that have survived after having been trafficked and discussed the ramifications that their pasts would have on a Befriending relationship. These videos were harrowing and reminded all of us why we were volunteering to befriend: to show the love of Jesus to people who have been treated as invaluable and worthless by others. Many tears were shed throughout the videos as we were re-exposed to the reality of human trafficking. 

Second, Nici Evans (of Cardiff Partnerships and Citizen Focus)  led us in a discussion regarding effective communication. We learned how to actively listen and respond appropriately when disclosures are made. 

Third, Dai Hankey reminded us of how our faith in Jesus Christ fits into this project. We aren't Befriending with a hidden spiritual agenda, but we are Befriending to be Jesus's hands and feet to a broken world. It is an honour to be Befrienders. 

Lastly, I was able to lead us through the Volunteer Handbook and review Safeguarding, Lone Working, and Boundaries. Basically, all the "practical stuff" related to the Befriending Project. 

It was a very full day. But we now have volunteers that have been DBS checked, trained, and prepared to effectively love survivors of human trafficking.

Stay tuned for more news and please continue praying that God uses this project to touch lives in Cardiff.  

Embrace: Befriending

Our Embrace project coordinator, Lauren, has written a series of posts explaining Embrace in more detail. In this second post, Lauren shares about the Befriending Project...


Have you ever felt alone? No one to talk to, cry to, laugh with, or just be in the presence of? No one to have coffee, or go on a walk, or have dinner with. No one to sing you Happy Birthday or wish you Merry Christmas. No one to celebrate successes or sympathize with defeats. Alone. 

Survivors of human trafficking are often truly lonely. They have been carted to a country or a town that is not their own. And while they have been rescued from the world of their traffickers, they have been rescued into a place that they don’t know. Their friends, family, and neighbours are gone. They may have support workers that are helping them with practical needs, but to have a friend may seem to them a distant dream. 

But Embrace wants to make the dream of a friend, a reality. 

The next piece of Embrace that we are introducing is the Befriending Project. We want to link Christians in the Cardiff area that have a passion for the broken and vulnerable, to survivors of human trafficking. We hope that this friendship will begin to restore value and dignity to people that have experienced the worst aspects of human beings. We want to reintroduce them to friendship. To people that love them and don’t want to hurt, manipulate, or endanger them. To people that will take them for coffee, for dinner, to a show, or for a walk. Simple pleasures that show the Father’s heart. 

We are looking for people with the following characteristics: 

  • Passionate about loving people. 
  • Committed to and actively involved in a local church. 
  • Previous experience working with vulnerable people. 
  • Good listener. Compassionate. Reliable. Non-judgmental. Reliable.  Takes initiative. Calm. 

And the commitment level would include: 

  • Meeting up 1-2 times per week with a survivor of human trafficking.
  • Attending a Training Day on 4th of March, 2017.
  • Minimum 12 Month friendship with your Befriendee .
  • Feedback Phone Calls with Embrace Coordinator.
  • Quarterly Volunteer Training Days.

If this is something you would like to consider being involved in, please contact: Lauren@redcommunity.co.uk.

 

Embrace: Sponsorship

Our Embrace project coordinator, Lauren, has written a series of posts explaining Embrace in more detail. In this first post, Lauren shares about the Sponsorship Programme...


The first aspect of the Embrace Project that we have currently launched is a Sponsorship Programme. 

Imagine for one minute that you have been smuggled into a country that is not your own by an abusive pimp. You have been forced to work against your will. You may have been drugged, beaten, and treated as property. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You have been rescued. You have been recognized as a trafficking survivor and received government support for a period of 45-60 days (this is called the National Referral Mechanism). 

But the government support is gone now. How will you manage for money? You aren't yet receiving benefits. You haven't been able to acquire a job. How will you pay for food? For shelter? For transportation? For daily necessities? And how will you do all this with very limited English? 

This is the place that trafficked survivors find themselves every day. And we, as the church, as the Father's hands to a broken world, want to help. We want to stand in the gap where government money has stopped and provide finances to support trafficked survivors as they tirelessly work to get their lives back. 

Embrace wants to help. And this is how we intend to do so: 

Generous contributions have been made from churches to go into a pot of money that can be used to support victims. Government agencies that have been supporting the victim are able to apply to Embrace for either a one-time gift or an on-going sponsorship that will go directly to the victim to provide for life necessities, training courses, legal fees, etc. 

We want to help. And we think that this is one way that we can. Do you want to be a part of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked? We would love you to stand with us and do a small part in loving people the way Jesus did. 

 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.  “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Raw Tears & Holy Fury: Confronting the reality of human trafficking

I wrote this article for The Good Book Company and thought I should repost it here:

Human Trafficking. I knew about it, or at least I thought I did. Certainly I knew that all over the world evil people do all kinds of vile things for profit and perverted pleasure. But in truth I had no real idea as to the true scale of it’s horror, or indeed its proximity. That was until I heard about Eva (not her real name).

Eva lived in Lithuania with her husband and children. They were happy, but they were poor. Desperate for money Eva responded to an advertisement offering work as a maid in a London hotel. To her joy she got the job. As she boarded the plane she was sad that she was going to be parted from her family, but she focussed on the money that she would soon be sending home to them.

Only that’s not how it worked out.

Upon landing in London Eva was met by a man who took her to a private location where her passport was taken from her and she was raped. In the week that followed she was sold as a prostitute and raped by over 40 men. The following weekend Eva was taken along with a group of other women to a house where a sex party was taking place. She pleaded with the other women to help her escape, but they seemed resigned to their plight. So trembling and terrified Eva climbed out of a bathroom window and fled through the streets. Mercifully she was discovered by the local police who took care of her, placed her in a safe house and ultimately got her home to her family.

There is much that shocked me about this story, but perhaps the most shocking part is where she was rescued from. The house where she was being held captive was Blackwood—a small town in the valleys of South Wales. In the space of a week Eva had been trafficked from Lithuania to the South Wales Valleys. She had been exploited, humiliated and suffered horrific abuse.

This real-life story (relayed to me by the detective who handled her case) literally wrecked me! Indeed it propelled me onto a gut-wrenching, faith-stretching journey of discovery. It is a journey that, as I have been confronted by the brutal realities of human trafficking, has been marked by raw tears and holy fury.

  • How can we not be moved when we discover that more than 45 MILLION people live as slaves today? (The number rises each year!)
  • How can it not blow our minds that human trafficking is a criminal industry that now generates upwards of $150 BILLION annually?
  • How could our hearts not be crushed when we learn that it in some countries it is cheaper to buy sex with a child than it is to purchase a bottle of beer?

Essentially human trafficking is the exploitation of the vulnerable by the powerful for financial gain, and while sexual exploitation is often what springs to mind when we think of human trafficking, it is by no means the full picture. Other forms of trafficking include forced labour, criminal exploitation, domestic servitude and even organ harvesting. Victims include women, children and men from every nation in the world. Human trafficking is truly shocking in both its nature and its scale and, while ignorance is blissful, once our eyes have been opened inaction is NOT an option for the follower of Jesus. I like how the great British abolitionist, William Wilberforce, put it:

“You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

 

And if Mr Wilberforce can’t stir us into action, perhaps the Holy Bible can:

“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?”

(Micah 6 v 8)

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?”

(Isaiah 58 v 6)

The mission of Jesus was unquestionably one of rescuing slaves from the tyranny of sin. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! (Psalm 107 v 2). He was sold to the cross for 30 pieces of silver in order to set the captives free. Let that sink in! So as the liberated people of Jesus, what can we do hold out hope and freedom for the trafficked? Here’s a few suggestions:

  1. Get on your knees - Human trafficking is WAY too big an issue for us to do anything about alone. Prayer humbly acknowledges our weakness and inability to do anything without God. However, prayer also demonstrates faith that God can give us the power to both rescue the oppressed and rage against the oppressor. Psalm 10 is a great place to start praying from!
  2. Raise your voice - tweet, blog, rant and tell others about trafficking and by doing so, shine light into the darkness.
  3. Give your cash - there are some AMAZING ministries that are on the frontline of the fight against human trafficking. IJMExodus CryEnd It Movement and AIM to name a few. However, there may well be churches and ministries in your own community that you could support.
  4. Mobilise your church - Cherish women, nurture children, protect the vulnerable and train men to live holy, upright lives. Bang the drum for justice. Pray that God would help you to be a community that offers grace, healing and hope for the oppressed, whilst also maintaining that the gospel is only power and hope for the oppressor.

Lord Jesus, grant us the grace, wisdom and courage that we need to rage against the injustice of human trafficking. May the oppressed be set free and may the oppressor be brought to justice and brought to repentance. For your glory. Amen.

Dai Hankey is a pastor, author of A Man’s Greatest Challenge and leader of Red Community—a gospel-centred charity that is passionately, prayerfully, creatively combating human trafficking in Wales, UK. Learn more about Eva’s story in this video, which is part of their Red Alertawareness raising resource.