Have you noticed lately?


Wednesday May 1, 2019


Inspirational Living By: Rachelle Casillas

Have you noticed that stories of human trafficking have been increasing in the Orange County and Los Angeles regions lately? Well, I have!

This has been a huge problem in the regions and there are numerous incredible people and organizations that are taking a stand for righteousness. Recently at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California, the Freedom Ride Project had an event held on March 2, called Ensure Justice Conference 2019.

The event had numerous guest speakers including the United States Ambassador- At-Large and Combat Trafficking Head of Department, John Cotton Richmond. There were also informational booths with educational material about the trafficking industry such as the Salvation Army Booth that had multiple resources and pamphlets.

One major part of this event was a Bike Ride at the end with Valley High School students who are in the Freedom Ambassador Program. This program helps create awareness about trafficking, they are trained to know how to help other students who may be silent victims or are prey to trafficking. The Bike Ride is a very meaningful component of this organization’s programs beginning with the story of its founder, Elisabeth Gegner.

Elisabeth had volunteered in the early 1990s at an orphanage in Thailand and for the first time heard about trafficking. She met children whose parents sold them to the sex traffickers at as the early age of 4 years old. In 2015, Elisabeth decided to ride her bike in Laguna Beach, California to Bend, Oregon to raise awareness about trafficking and to fund a safehouse in Thailand.

While on the bike ride, she discovered that human trafficking was happening in numerous places in the United States. The Freedom Project was birthed in 2016 to move people into action and bring awareness about trafficking in communities.

It is such an inspirational story that Elisabeth has, don’t you agree? Let us be aware of our communities’ needs and concerns and stand up for those who feel they do not have a voice.

Whatever your heart may be telling you to do right now, whether it is big or Small, just do it! It could be making care packages for the homeless, or even selling cookies to help benefit programs for abused children. Do not be afraid to step out in faith and do it, because it will change lives and make a difference in your community.



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