A Simple Gift: A Story of Bracelets, Beauty, and Bangkok

web_for24 “For 24,” is a year-long campaign telling the story of Freedom 4/24—from the survivors, world-changers, and volunteers to fundraisers, and behind-the-sceners. Our goal is to inform, inspire, and enrich your understanding of Freedom 4/24 and the work we do together.

 Getting involved with us in the fight against human trafficking needn't be complicated. In fact, it often begins with creatively using the resources right in front of you. That's the story of Joy Johnson. Her heart was compelled by the stories she saw and heard from our team in Bangkok, Thailand, and knew she can to do something. So she used the thing she knows best--her business and jewelry--to help convey love and honor to girls halfway around the world. 

Joy Johnson

#12. Joy Johnson & the One-for-One Campaign

Occupation: Director & Stylist for Stella & Dot        Location: Forest, VA

Joy, you decided to utilize your role with Stella & Dot to impact girls in the red light districts and at Beginnings, our partner in Bangkok. Tell us what you did.

In 2014, I partnered with Johanna [Calfee, Freedom 4/24’s Communications Director] to raise funds for her trip to Thailand. I donated 100% of my commissions from a Trunk Show she hosted towards her missions trip. At that show I felt led to do more. I wanted to go beyond funding her trip. That is when we came up with the idea of a “one for one” campaign. With this campaign, I personally offered to send a matched bracelet to Thailand for each one purchased. My mission was not only to send these bracelets to impact the girls with a message of love and hope, but also to raise awareness here. I asked the buyer to wear their bracelet as a reminder of their matched girls’ need for freedom.

We had an overwhelming response and were able to send 100 bracelets that first year. This past December, we decided to do this again but with a goal of 200. We have had such an amazing response and met our goal!

December 2015: Team member, Erin Caswell, places a bracelet on a girl's wrist in a red light district in Bangkok, Thailand.

What inspired you to send bracelets to these women?

Just thinking of these girls makes my eyes fill with tears. They are girls, not women! They are forced to do things that we can’t even bear to imagine. Their innocence, their heartache, their strength, their need to be needed by someone who truly loves them, motivates me. I pray and hope each year that when they receive the bracelets and message of someone wishing for their freedom, moves them to know they do have value. They are loved. They are made with a purpose and made for more.

Images from the One for One campaign Joy used to fundraise for the bracelets.

What reactions have you seen from other people when they find out about these bracelets, and realize they have an opportunity to touch these lives in Bangkok?

I have had such an amazing response. Most people don’t realize what Freedom 4/24 is and what they’re doing at Home of New Beginnings [Freedom 4/24’s partner in Bangkok, Thailand]. When I am able to let them know about the ministry and what the bracelets will represent to these girls, they are deeply moved. I have had the privilege of sharing this campaign with several women at Stella & Dot Home Office. They have been inspired to spread the information about Freedom 4/24. With that, I hope to spread awareness and acquire more monthly sponsors!

What is it about Freedom 4/24, and the girls and women of Bangkok, that connects to your heart?

I have always had a heart for the emotional lost and burdened. I have my Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Psychology because I wanted to work with children of divorce. I personally know the emotional trauma of a broken home, and the need to feel wanted loved and needed. I can’t even imagine the magnitude of these emotions the girls in sex trafficking experience. If this bracelet can give them one small ounce of love and acceptance, then my mission is accomplished. I know that through so many prayers going up for them through this, many of them will find the ultimate love in our Savior. Without His love and acceptance, I am nothing. With that, I am connected to these girls.

The girls at the Home of New Beginnings proudly wear their bracelets given to them on the 2015 trip.

Our teams on the ground in Thailand both years sent back pictures and stories of the big impact this simple gift had on the girls there. What was your reaction to seeing this?

I was astonished! I had no idea what to expect. Johanna’s team said giving out those bracelets to the girls they connected with in the red light districts was one of the most moving parts of the trip. Their reactions to this simple act of receiving these bracelets brought many of these girls to tears. Truly, it is such an amazing gift to say I played a small role in bringing a smile to their faces.

I plan on doing this every year going forward. My heart is telling me that I need to be a part of hand delivering them next year!

Inspired by Joy's story? Want to join the fight? Start today by giving a gift or creating a fundraiser by visiting Freedom424.org.