For 24

Candlemaker Illuminates the Darkness


“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.

Changing the world looks different for each person. But everyone is capable of changing the world in some way. Meet Susie, a world changer who also happens to be a creative and small business owner. Susie decided to take her passion for candle making and use it to bring freedom and justice through giving to Freedom 4/24.

#20. Susie Lake


Occupation: Property Manager/Small business owner

Amount Fundraised: $500 

Susie, you turned a passion into a cause recently by selling your handmade candles and donating part of the proceeds to Freedom 4/24. Tell us more about what you did.

I love making candles, but I knew that I wanted to do more than just sell candles. I wanted my small business to be able to help people in some way. There are so many amazing organizations doing important work that have a lasting impact. My husband and I decided to take a portion of our profits from the candles we sell and donate it to different nonprofits to be a small part of what they are doing.  We love learning more about each nonprofit we donate towards and sharing about these organizations with our customers!

Why Freedom 4/24? How did you get connected to us?

I heard about Freedom 4/24 through social media. After reading a post about the organization, I knew I wanted to learn more about what they do. When I read the mission of Freedom 4/24, I knew I wanted to be involved in some way.  

What about Freedom 4/24’s mission speaks to you?

In our society, it is easy to not think about what countless women and children go through in relation to sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Many of us live our lives without any thought as to what others suffer through. We have so many things that can distract us from the pain and suffering that is happening around us. It is so important to be educated and made aware that human trafficking happens, because we can be a part of the change. I know this is a subject I didn’t think much about until I heard about Freedom 4/24. Now I want to be a part of ending human trafficking for good!  

How did you start making candles?

I actually started making candles to use for Christmas gifts one year with a good friend of mine. I loved it so much that I didn’t want to stop making them after Christmas. I’ve always loved having candles in my home, but I had no idea the chemicals I was putting in our air. As I continued to research candle making, I quickly decided that I wanted to make all natural, soy candles to prevent breathing in these toxic chemicals. I have participated in two craft shows and sold to friends and family. I am continuing to grow my small business through my website and the local community.  

Susie uses her passion for candle making for more than just business but to bring freedom and justice to trafficking victims worldwide.
Susie uses her passion for candle making for more than just business but to bring freedom and justice to trafficking victims worldwide.

What’s your favorite part of the process?

I love that candle making is a science. You have to be very careful to do each part of the process at the correct temperature and measure everything correctly. I have really enjoyed figuring that part of the process out. I also love working on how to package my candles. It took me awhile to find jars that I love and to perfect the tags I put on each candle, but I love letting my creative juices flow in this way.  

You are a great example of someone who took their time and talent and used it for a greater good. How would you encourage someone else considering doing a fundraiser?

There is nothing better than doing something to help others! Getting to do something I love and helping people at the same time is my dream! I’m so thankful that the Lord has provided me a way to use something I love to have a positive impact. If you’re considering doing something like this, do it! The Lord can use even a small amount to make a difference! I was worried that my small candle business would not allow for me to come close to break even let alone be able to donate to a nonprofit. It’s so exciting to see how God will work through me if I’m just willing to take a step in faith!

Now it is time to ask yourself some questions: What are you passionate about? How can you leverage your job or talent to make a difference in someone else’s life? How you can you use your one life to play a part in ending human trafficking in this generation? If you are ready to begin a fundraiser, email with your idea to get started.

Everyone's Got One: How Will You Use Yours?


“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.

Year in and year out, birthdays are inevitable. We receive gifts that we often quickly forget about or take back to the store because we didn’t really like them. What if you treated this year’s birthday differently? What if you used this simple passage of time to change someone else’s life? That’s exactly what Conaire Hallisy, a long-time friend of our President Tim Spaulding, did. Read on to discover why he decided to GIVE instead of get this year.

#19. Conaire Hallisy


Fundraiser Event: 35th Birthday

Amount Raised: $7,200

Recently, you “donated” your birthday to Freedom 4/24. How did you come up with the idea?

Every birthday I’ve ever had has been a bit selfish—I mean, don’t get me wrong, we’re allowed to be selfish on our birthdays, it’s literally our day, but I wanted to use my birthday to help out this year.

Here is a crazy idea!  What if everyone gave on their birthday instead of taking?! I bet, and this is wild, that your heart would be 10 times fuller from filling someone else’s cup than filling your own. It has taken me 35 years to figure out that simple truth.

How did you get connected to the mission of Freedom 4/24?

Tim Spaulding and I taught English together in Japan almost 15 years ago.  He was a great man and I knew he would do great things, so I wanted to support him and all the great work being done by Freedom 4/24.

Which aspects of fighting human trafficking resonate with you?

Wow, that is a tough question.  I originally attended law school because I wanted to prosecute those who facilitate the atrocities of human trafficking.  I ended up not following this path, but still have a deep unrest in my soul about those who perpetrate such heinous crimes.  At this moment in my life, providing financial assistance and awareness is the greatest way I can influence the situation, so I was happy to help out in the small instance of my birthday donation.

How did you go about asking for birthday donations?

Very simply, I created a short video about Freedom 4/24 and posted it on my Facebook page.  The team at Freedom 4/24 put together a site for my friends and family to donate.  It was simple, easy, and it created a truly amazing outpouring of generosity.

How much did you raise?

My friends and family contributed around $2,400, and I matched the $2,400, so around $4,800 total.  I’ll submit my donation to my company for matching funds, so altogether the small birthday fundraiser raised $7,200.


What would you say to someone who was thinking of donating their birthday?

I would say: Do it!! Freedom 4/24 is awesome and they are doing amazing things in the world.  I would say to get them to create a giving page for you, then create a short video about Freedom and your fundraiser.  Post it on social media and ask friends to share it.  I should have probably been a bit more aggressive, but the modest side of me got the best of me, and I only posted it a few times.  With that said, I am humbled by the grace of God and all my amazing friends and their generous hearts.

How did you celebrate your 35th birthday?

I went for a long run and had a dinner with some friends.  Pretty low key, but I wanted it that way.

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” – Acts 20:35. This year, use your birthday to change the lives of girls in your town and all across the globe that have been sold into sex slavery. To start a fundraiser, email and find out how YOU can change a life.

Putting the "Fun" in Fundraising


“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.

 Do you run? Play video games? Lift weights? Take photos? Whatever it is you love, you can use it to bring freedom to girls around the world who need it. YOU can be their hero by simply raising money around the activity you love the most. Want proof? Read on to learn what our founder and her friends did, then email to start your own fundraiser.

#14, #15, #16, #17, #18. Laura, Eric, Michael & Christine Gelatt, Colleen Alber

The team raised $5,750 for Freedom 4/24.
The team raised $5,750 for Freedom 4/24.

Fundraiser Event: May 7, 2016 / Indianapolis Mini Marathon

Amount raised: $5,760

Christine, as the founder of Freedom 4/24, our mission is obviously dear to your heart. How did this translate to the idea of running a half marathon with friends to raise money?

Michael [my husband] and I love the Run 4 Their Lives component of Freedom 4/24. It provides a great way for people to rally together to take a stand against human trafficking and exploitation. Since we moved to Indianapolis in 2014, we had been thinking about the possibility of starting a race here. However, we never felt like we were in a place to take on the full responsibility of leading a race with excellence. Last December, we thought of using this idea of running a pre-established race (half marathon or more) and fundraising for Freedom 4/24. I contacted the folks who put on the Indy Mini, and they were happy to let us use their race as the platform for our fundraiser.

How did you get the team together?

We asked some of our close friends and family members if they would be interested in spearheading this with us. Our goal for this year was to navigate this method of fundraising to see if it can be effective. We worked with Joy [Marinelli, Freedom 4/24 National Race Director] to create an incentive structure for reaching various fundraising milestones, we set up a unique donating platform via a website for each team member to be able to track their individual fundraising goals, and we navigated various methods of reaching those goals.

In the future, we’d like to focus more on building our team. We’d love to see this grow not just in Indianapolis, but in half marathons and marathons all over the country! We see incredible potential with this method.

Tell us about fundraising. What was your approach as a team?

Our main approach was simply to put the issue in front of people. We encouraged team members to post statistics, stories, videos, etc., of the reality of human trafficking on their social media platforms. Some team members sent emails to close friends and family members asking for their support.

Michael had one of the more unique ideas of selling individual pounds of his famous Applewood smoked bacon for a suggested donation of $10/lb. He ended up raising almost $750 as a direct result of that. It didn’t hurt that many people donated $50+ for their pound of bacon!

Michael and I decided to write the names of all of the individuals who had donated toward our goals on the backs of our race shirts. We wanted to make sure they were there with us as we ran!

Michael and Christine wrote the names of every donor on their race shirts.
Michael and Christine wrote the names of every donor on their race shirts.

Was this your first half marathon? Were all the members of your team runners before?

This was my third half marathon, but it was the first that had a bigger purpose in mind. Two other members on our team, Colleen and Laura, are much more consistent and serious runners. We felt more legitimate having them on our team.

Tell us about the race itself. What was the experience like for you?

The race is an absolute blast. The Indi Mini is one of the largest half marathons in the United States, so the sheer amount of people made it a really fun environment. It is a really neat experience to run for 13.1 miles and literally have the course packed with people the entire route.  Half way through the course you actually run a lap on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Runners are encouraged to kiss the starting line bricks as they pass it!

As Freedom 4/24's founder, why do you continue to invest and believe in the mission?

Simply put, there is more work to do.  I’ve seen a lot of positive change since 2008 in the arena of awareness, but I’m still passionate about mobilizing everyday individuals to do their part in bringing freedom and justice to one more victim at a time. I’m passionate about the work that Freedom 4/24 continues to do, and Michael and I are thankful to be a part of it.

The mission of Freedom 4/24 is to bring freedom and justice to victims and survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation by 1) raising awareness, and (2) to financially partner with organizations around the world that are dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to victims. Any time we can do something that filters that mission by accomplishing both of those things is a win. Through our fundraising we informed hundreds if not thousands of new people not just about the issue of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, but also about the work Freedom 4/24 is doing to confront it.

In addition, we raised thousands of dollars to help support that work. Sometimes doing your part isn’t about reinventing the wheel, it’s about doing what you are already passionate about (or simply doing what you think is fun) and making it have an eternal purpose.

Pattaya & Praying Impossible Prayers


“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.

It has been an incredibly busy two months. Three-quarters of our staff spent 10 days co-hosting a camp for teenage trafficking survivors in India, then returned to hold two successful Run 4 Their Lives races in Virginia. We are grateful for the many wins YOU helped us accomplish during this time. While we catch our breath and collect our thoughts, we want to take you back to December 2015 to give you an update on what is happening with our Freedom 4/24 partner in Bangkok, Thailand, Home of New Beginnings. Here is a look at the exciting expansion on the horizon for them, and the heartbreaking reality of WHY this expansion is needed, through the eyes of Freedom 4/24's team trip leader, Megan MacDougall.

#13. Megan MacDougall, Thailand Trip Leader

Team Pattaya Safe House

“God delights in our impossible prayers.” –Bob Goff, author of the New York Times best-seller “Love Does”

Pattaya, Thailand: A scene that brought a fresh perspective to what Jesus knew to be true, “the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

At first glance, it masquerades as a breath of fresh air, both literally and figuratively, from the streets of Bangkok, where we had just spent a week in its red light districts. Instead of hot smog with putrid stench and not much in the way of a view, Pattaya greets you with palm trees swaying in a cool breeze, beaches as far as the eye can see, and sunsets that cast bold colors of orange and pink across an expansive ocean. It is initially inviting, as though this is a place you can let your guard down and relax. But our team knew not to trust its invitation. As Bonita, the founder of Home of New Beginnings (HONB), cautioned us, “Pattaya makes Bangkok look like Sunday school.” Her warning proved all too accurate.

Walking Street Wide

After a 2.5-hour van ride, we pulled up to the newest location of HONB, a safe house in Pattaya. As we walked through the house, I found myself picturing the many broken souls that will come through its doors and the healing and transformation these walls will see. As we made our way into downtown Pattaya later that evening, we witnessed streets lined with bar after bar busting at the seams with girls for sale. In Pattaya customers here can “buy” whatever they seek —any age, race, or gender. The streets we walked were filled with men, women, and children whose identities were reduced to a price tag.

As we drove through several red light districts, we learned staggering statistics about Pattaya, including that it is home to approximately 1,843 bars, some 30,000 “above ground” prostitutes (there are many more underground) during what they call “dry season,” and during peak season that number rises to approximately 50,000. After walking through what is known as “Walking Street,” the infamous “unrivaled epicenter of Pattaya’s bustling nightlife” as one article referred to it, these statistics felt undeniably possible. It also felt impossible that any of it could change. That’s when I decided to start praying impossible prayers.

Pattaya bars 1

Walking Street is so busy, so claustrophobically full of people buying other people like they are pieces of meat. Rubbing shoulders with those who shamelessly purchase other human beings out in the open feels like a form of hell on Earth. Watching adults forcing little girls to dance in the street before the ogling eyes of men is enough to turn even the toughest stomach. Many bars there have bouncers standing outside of their doors, not to protect the women and girls inside, but instead to ensure their merchandise is paid for and brought back. We learned these bars are owned by the Russian mafia and the girls within them are mostly trafficked.

On Walking Street alone, there are women and girls from all over the world. The one thing connecting us all—the girl from Asia and the girl from Africa, the girls being sold, and the women whose hearts broke at the sight of them being purchased—is a God whose undeniable love for us is real, who desperately wants us to know Him. I believe God brought us to Pattaya to see the 5-year-old girl heavily made up and barely dressed, dancing and seductively winking at her admirers. Where did she learn that? I cried inside. My attention was also drawn to a girl with bruises running down her leg, dancing in the window above a bar. How did she learn to smile through pain? I wondered.

At one point, a man grabbed one of my teammates’ arms and attempt to purchase her. Perhaps that was God revealing to us that this COULD be us. We could be the ones barely dressed, feigning happiness and enthusiasm to go with the next paying customer, not knowing what the following hours would bring but understanding fully that our worth had literally been quantified.

While in Pattaya, God allowed us to see the wounded and the maimed, the lost and the absolutely hopeless, the ones who have never known love and certainly don’t know the One who created it.  But He did not just bring us here to see them but also to immerse us into their world, to hug them without reservation, to let our hearts break over them, to hold their hands, to place a bracelet on their wrist and tell them of their worth, to smile at them and to ceaselessly intercede for them.  He brought us there to bring us back home changed.  To return with stories in our mind and faces in our hearts.  To share with those ready to hear about the travesties happening outside of our safe neighborhoods. And to comprehend fully why each one of us has the story we do—so we can better love others, speak out when they are unable, and recognize our Savior in another’s hurting eyes.

This is why He created you, me, the church—to be advocates that enter into the mess so we can be a part of the reconciliation. It is easy to believe that in Pattaya, in Bangkok, in any red light district or brothel in the world that it isn’t working. It’s easy to think, What’s the point? With thousands of bars and tens of thousands of people for sale, is it worth it? I am just one person.

Pattaya Skyline

But transformation is happening. I know this because I have seen the first-hand healing of the girls who live at New Beginnings. They have told me of their journeys and their hopes and dreams because they now have Christ. So, I continue in my impossible prayers. For the girls of Pattaya and Bangkok, and all over the world who are being sold every day. I pray that they not only be rescued but restored. The girls at New Beginnings know it is possible. Who am I to say otherwise?

As for me, I choose to use my one life and one voice to help make the impossible possible.

The question is: Will you join me?

 Freedom 4/24 exists to raise awareness and support for our partner organizations like Home of New Beginnings, who do the difficult work on the ground of rescuing and restoring girls who have been sexually exploited or trafficked. Beginnings offers safe shelter, counseling, food, medical care, and an education through college for the girls who call it home. YOU help make this possible. Please consider partnering with us today. Click here to become a recurring giver so we can continue this important mission.


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 


Bare 4 Freedom: A Make-Up Free Challenge


“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.

#11. Go Bare 4 Freedom with Makaila Redden

Age: 20         Hometown: Belfast, Maine

What is Bare 4 Freedom? How and why did it get started?

Bare 4 Freedom (B4F) is a social media movement to raise awareness about the human trafficking industry and raise funds to rescue the women and children enslaved by it. The idea is to go without makeup for a day, a week, or an entire month! It started when I was considering going lighter on my makeup during the first month of the new year to remind me that I am the daughter of the King and that I don't need makeup to feel confident or comfortable. I had been praying about Freedom 4/24's cause and had the idea that I could go without any makeup at all and raise awareness and funds at the same time!

What is your goal?

My financial goal is $300 in January, but I'm less concerned with that. The true goal behind B4F is two-fold: first, my prayer is that women and children trapped by this crime could be freed from the chains they are in (literally and figuratively) by the simple act of denying myself something as silly as makeup, and that they would come to know freedom in Christ. Second, I truly hope that more ladies will join in this vision, and that they will be more confident in the person God created them to be without having to hide behind a mask of makeup. Beauty comes from having Christ inside, it shouldn't be based upon how much mascara we're wearing!

How did you learn about Freedom 4/24?

My friend Abigail Lord oversaw the Run 4 Their Lives 5K in Bangor, Maine, last year and my husband and I ran it. We've been following the organization ever since! 

Bangor Race Vidya
Bangor Race Vidya

What about Freedom 4/24's mission resonates with you?

I think it's exciting that there is an organization out there providing resources beyond money to these human beings being exploited! It's more than just rescuing them, it's rehabilitating them and teaching them about a different life of freedom they can have. It's more than just raising money for the organization—it's about teaching people how to act against this.

What's your long-term vision for Bare 4 Freedom?

Let's take a stance together! I want this to be something women participate in every year to teach their community that sex trafficking happens everywhere, not just in rural countries. I believe we can really make a huge dent in the sex industry if we are educated and take a stand. I would love to see other ladies join with me in that.

Whether you want to commit to one day or the entire month, or even longer, we're excited to support you in what can be scary for some women to do! Tag Instagram, Twitter or Facebook photos with #bareforfreedom and check out our Instagram profile @bareforfreedom! When your friends and family ask where to donate, either create your own charity GoFundMe page for Freedom 4/24 or send them to!

Two Babies & Their Teenage Mothers Saved


“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.


Griffy came to Christine’s House in July, 16 and pregnant. As a Freedom 4/24 rescue home for exploited girls in Gulu, Uganda, the staff at Christine’s House is used to taking in victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking who are pregnant as a result of their abuse. But Griffy is one of their youngest pregnant girls ever to arrive. She wasn't alone either. At the same time Griffy moved in, another pregnant teen from her village named Filder also arrived. When Griffy and Filder were first identified in their village by Aloysius Kyazze, founding director of Christine's House, both babies were in danger of being aborted.

He knew he had to get them to Christine’s House.

Christine's House in Gulu, Uganda.
Christine's House in Gulu, Uganda.

Now, Griffy and Filder are safe in a loving community environment. At Christine's House, they are learning a trade and receiving trauma counseling and medical services. Both girls have also been introduced to Jesus Christ and His healing love and hope.


Griffy and Filder are flourishing at Christine’s House. Griffy is learning the trade of baking and hopes to become a teacher one day. And she now has her first pupil! Her daughter Patience was born on September 20, a healthy 6.3-pound bundle of beauty. As baby Patience grows, the house now patiently awaits the arrival of Filder’s little one, who is due any day now.


Without Christine’s House, both Griffy and Filder would still be in exploitative situations and their babies may not be alive today. Christine’s House is fully funded each year through YOUR support of Freedom 4/24. A donation of any amount helps to provide a bright future to these girls who have survived so much.

Gift, at the far left, celebrates with the girls at Christine's House shortly after her arrival in July.
Gift, at the far left, celebrates with the girls at Christine's House shortly after her arrival in July.

For $116 a month, Christine’s House provides the following to the 42 girls who currently receive its services:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Medical care
  • Trauma counseling
  • Vocational training,
  • Social interaction
  • Faith and life skills training

Will you help to invest in the future of girls like Filder, Griffy, and babies like Patience? Begin today by giving a one-time gift or sign up to become a recurring donor.

How Giving of Time Gives Freedom


“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.

How can the simple act of volunteering bring freedom and do justice to victims and survivors of sex trafficking? Read on as our Administrative Assistant, Emily Worsham, explains the crucial connection based on her first-hand experience of transitioning from a volunteer college student to full-time freedom fighter.

Freedom424_2015_19 (1)
Freedom424_2015_19 (1)


Administrative Assistant and Volunteer Coordinator, Freedom 4/24 

Emily, as our volunteer coordinator (among many other things), you are on the front lines of connecting people to the work we do to fight human trafficking. What would you like those who consider volunteering with Freedom 4/24 to know?

Volunteering with Freedom 4/24 is such a great opportunity not only to get a behind-the-scenes look at a nonprofit organization, but also to fight for the freedom and justice of victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. Freedom 4/24 volunteers need to be flexible with their hours as well as the tasks they help with. You may be a graphic design volunteer, but we would love to have you at some of our events or helping with administrative tasks in the office.

You actually started as a "volunteer" of sorts when you interned in college before being offered a role on staff. How did the internship open your eyes to the work of Freedom 4/24?

I remember meeting with the former volunteer coordinator and being told that Freedom 4/24 does not work directly with victims of human trafficking. I love to “get my hands dirty” and have always desired to work on the front lines, so this initially discouraged me. However, I really needed an internship, so I figured I would give Freedom 4/24 a try. It wasn’t long before I truly fell in love with the work that this organization is doing.

I was able to see the way that ordinary people—stay at home moms, businessmen and women, even school children—could have a deep and lasting effect in the lives of trafficking survivors. These individuals gave up their time, money, and resources to fight alongside us for the cause of bringing freedom and doing justice for women and girls around the world. It was an experience I will never forget, and I am so thankful that the Lord chose me to have this experience.

Megan MacDougall (left) and Libby Bundrick volunteer at Frocks 4 Freedom.
Megan MacDougall (left) and Libby Bundrick volunteer at Frocks 4 Freedom.

What are our current greatest volunteer needs?

Freedom 4/24 really needs volunteers who are able to come into our office during normal business hours to help with administrative tasks. A few hours every week or every other week would be awesome. We also have needs that require specific technical knowledge such as web design and development, and graphic design. For those looking to give more than just a few hours here and there, we have needs in areas such as event administration and marketing/communications.

What characteristics do you look for in volunteers?

One of the most important characteristics I look for is a desire to work. You don’t have to be skilled (although that is a plus), but you should be willing to learn and try things that maybe aren’t as exciting as helping with a big event. I also look for individuals who are passionate about the cause and who stand behind us as an organization.

How do you believe our volunteers help to bring freedom and do justice to girls around the world who are victims or survivors of sexual exploitation?

I can say this with all certainty: Freedom 4/24 would not survive without our volunteers. When I correspond with potential volunteers, I work to be up-front and honest with them regarding the work that they will be expected to do. Things like data entry, sending emails, making phone calls, keeping the office clean and organized don’t seem like they are really making a difference in the fight for freedom. However, had it not have been for our hard-working and passionate volunteers, we would not have been able to help provide freedom for more than 347 women and children last year. Some of the smallest and most tedious tasks are the most important ones. Just because you are not on the front lines conducting raids and counseling victims does not mean that your work is unimportant.

Committed volunteer Tobey Thurston (right) slices up bananas to offer to Run 4 Their Lives Lynchburg participants.
Committed volunteer Tobey Thurston (right) slices up bananas to offer to Run 4 Their Lives Lynchburg participants.

Describe a positive volunteer experience.

Last year was a stressful year for me as I was finishing up my bachelor’s and starting a brand new job. There were many times when I wasn’t really sure what I had gotten myself into. Just when I needed her most, the Lord provided me with a passionate volunteer that I could always count on. There were many times when I would text or email her at the last minute and she almost always came through. She always has a positive attitude no matter what she is doing, and she has really encouraged me on some of my hardest days. She is one of my hardest working volunteers, even while she was working part-time and taking a full college class load. We are really going to miss her when she graduates!

How can someone become a volunteer?

To become a Freedom 4/24 volunteer, simply fill out the volunteer application to answer some basic questions about your interest and skills. After reviewing your application, I will be in touch regarding available positions.

Making a Difference at Any Age

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.

 “Teaming up with Freedom 4/24 allowed us to support a local organization, learn more about this local and global epidemic, and become inspired by one young woman’s dream to make a difference.”



Director of Global Studies; Chair of the World Language Department at Virginia Episcopal School (VES), Lynchburg, VA

This spring, Jenny and the student body at VES held a Global Symposium focused on human trafficking and supporting the work of Freedom 4/24. Watch the video below for a quick look at how Freedom 4/24 played a leading role, then read on as Jenny explains in her own words how it inspired students and faculty alike to make a difference at any age.


Jenny, the student body at VES recently raised $1,000 for Freedom 4/24. How did you become connected to us?

This entire endeavor was only possible through student interest. VES Junior, Emma Smiley is passionate about the issue of human trafficking. She came to me asking if there was something we could do to bring about awareness to the VES community. I wanted to choose a local grassroots organization that has high impact and is sustainable. Freedom 4/24 was the logical choice as I had heard about its far-reaching influence, the Run 4 Their Lives events, and the fact that it was borne from a student and her compassion and drive to make a difference.


How did you lead and inspire your students to give back?

On April 11, the VES community held its first Global Symposium with the focus on Modern Day Slavery [see video above]. Our goal was to shed light on the estimated 27 million slaves in the world today and to help students become aware of the horrors of human trafficking while understanding that there are ways that they can help to alleviate it.

Students spent time throughout the week learning about the injustice that millions endure as they face forced labor, sexual exploitation, violence, and oppression. The curriculum that we put into place effectively engaged students in these difficult topics and asked them to systematically learn, then act, then reflect in very intentional ways. The content of these units explored many sensitive topics, such as prostitution, gender-based violence, child soldiers, and slavery. Although the topics weighed heavy on our hearts, we believe that it is important to expand the four walls of our classrooms, empathize, and begin to understand the difficult reality of many people all around the world, including many right here in Virginia.

How did the student body go about raising money for Freedom 4/24?

We had a t-shirt drive and a day where students could buy eggs and water balloons to aim at the administration. Needless to say, the students had a lot of fun while knowing that their money was going to a great cause.

Student 1

What about Freedom 4/24 and the work to fight human trafficking resonates with you? 

The work to fight human trafficking resonates with me because it is an astonishing fact that there exists in the world today more slaves than at any other point in our history. If we are even a bit appalled by our country’s association with slavery of the past, then it is impossible to ignore the immense injustice that continues today.

The work of Freedom 4/24 most resonates with me because it is 1) a local organization; 2) very little overhead; and 3) Freedom 4/24 was started by a young woman who wanted to make a difference.  She is an inspiration to all of our students to know that, at any age, they can do something to help alleviate injustice.

What was the outcome of the Symposium on your students? 

Our final exercise of the afternoon was to sit together and reflect upon what we learned and why we should care. It was emotional to see the number of hands go in the air, the voices that spoke up, and the students that were changed as a result. We were able to visibly see how VES students were able to learn, become aware, envision solutions, and put their voices to action in a very thoughtful and intentional manner.

It was even more powerful because this awareness campaign originated from one of our own students, again demonstrating how the power and passion of one can have a ripple effect on others. One voice can make a difference, but to encourage an entire group of youth to become aware and learn how to make a difference was even more powerful. Most importantly, in the end, my students inspired me.


The Arbor: A Healing Refuge for U.S. Trafficking Victims


“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.

Joanna Jennings
Joanna Jennings


Executive Director at The Arbor, Charlottesville, VA

Did you know that Freedom 4/24 has a dozen domestic partnerships in the U.S.? In May of this year, our Run 4 Their Lives event teamed with one of those partners, The Arbor in Charlottesville, VA, to raise funds and awareness to fight trafficking right here in our backyard.

We recently met with Joanna Jennings, the executive director of The Arbor to talk about the life-changing, restorative work being done there. The Arbor is a newly-opened safe house for adult women who are victims of human trafficking.  Joanna is passionate about providing a place for victims of human trafficking in Central Virginia. Not only is she driven to end human trafficking, she’s also driven to provide a holistic recovery process for victims. Here, in her own words, she explains the vital work being done at The Arbor. 


Joanna, tell us about how you became connected to the issue of human trafficking and how it led to the opening of The Arbor? 

While I was in NYC working on a master’s degree in social work and working directly with victims of sex trafficking, I became involved with a group of Christians in Charlottesville who wanted to start a similar safe house. After moving to Charlottesville in 2012 I joined the group, which eventually became the board of The Arbor. I was hired on as the Executive Director in June 2014.

What is the mission of The Arbor?

The Arbor provides safe housing and holistic aftercare to victims of human trafficking in Virginia, so they may experience wholeness, freedom, and life. Since opening in January 2015, The Arbor has housed five residents. Capacity is seven. Women typically stay between 1.5 and 2 years.

The Arbor heads women into a direction of recovery with help from case managers, attorneys, trauma-focused counselors, and medical professionals. The women in the Arbor are required to meet with people regularly to heal from trauma and start a life for themselves. Partnerships with local businesses in the area are developing to provide internships and jobs for the women as they prepare to leave the safe house and live on their own.

How do women coming out of trafficking scenarios get connected to The Arbor?

Referrals happen a number of ways—through law enforcement, social services agencies (domestic violence shelters, homeless shelters, community service boards), and through victim self identification. Legally, these women have to come to The Arbor on their own terms. They are required to go through an application and screening process for the program.


What does aftercare looks like?

In addition to free room and board, each resident receives comprehensive case management so that she may be connected to existing resources in the community for various components of our aftercare program. This includes medical and dental needs, counseling, legal assistance, and education and job skills training.

How does The Arbor work to transition them back into the outside world?

Each resident is provided with opportunities to receive education and job skills training so that she will leave The Arbor’s program with employment. Each woman is different and forges her own different path toward healing, and we work to honor that each person’s path may look different.

What was the impact of Run 4 Their Lives for The Arbor?

This year’s race was the first race since our safe house officially opened, and the addition of more runners from the previous years also helped maximize impact in terms of awareness. The Point Church also did an amazing job hosting the race, and we’re hopeful that partnership will continue.

Give an example of life-change and healing from a woman who lives at The Arbor.

"I know I have inside me the strength to succeed. But every time I tried to make a new start, I had to live with people who were bad influences and I ended up going back to the life. But this place is so peaceful and homey and when I'm here I really feel like I could make a new life." –An Arbor safe house resident

A Baby at 14, but Gloria has Hope

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.



Last month on social media, we introduced you to 14-year-old Gloria. At the time, she was awaiting the birth of her child and finding hope and restoration at Christine's House. Recently, three advocates for Freedom 4/24 and Sports Outreach Institute traveled to Uganda to develop small business opportunities for the girls of Christine's House. There, they spent time with Gloria and her new baby. Read below as one of the advocates on the trip, Adrian Parker, gives fresh insight into Gloria's heartbreaking and remarkable journey.

"Gloria's soft strength and stillness is no indication of her story. She had her son a week ago by Cesarean section because she is only 14. The baby's father is a child rapist who abducted Gloria and assaulted her while she was walking home. He has yet to be found. He stole her childhood but she is God's child and He holds her future. Gloria and her family welcome the baby boy, nicknamed Aloysius after the respected, Godly leader there.


Gloria is determined to finish school and make a future for herself. She lives at Christine's House, a Freedom 4/24 built and supported program that rescues and restores the abused girls of Uganda. There are almost 30 of them there now, with three more added in just the last week alone. They are strong beyond belief, with bright smiles a faith that surpasses their age. I love these girls. Gloria wants to share her story and thank everyone for their support."

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

Gloria's fresh start at Christine's House is a result of your monthly support. Would you consider supporting Gloria and the other girls at the house with tragically similar stories by becoming a recurring giver? As little as $24/month helps feed, educate, provide restorative counseling and teach a trade to these remarkable young women. To give today, visit

Mira's Story: Sold at 2, Rescued at 14, Hopeful at 18



“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.




Mira is a trafficking survivor rescued by Freedom Firm out of Ganga Jamuna, Nagpur’s red light area.

Mira’s story is horrifically tragic. As best as she can recollect, Mira was sold by her family at 2 years old. Within a few years, she was being sold for sex and up until she was rescued in 2011 at the age of 14, it was the only life she’d ever known.

Meeting Mira, you’d never have a clue about her past. She is a vibrant young woman who is thriving. Right now she’s in high school and has high hopes for her future. When she fears that her traffickers might find her and take her back to the brothels, she said she prays and finds comfort in knowing that Jesus is with her and will protect her no matter what her circumstances.


For every “Mira” there are many girls who are not rescued and who do not have hope. This is why we continue to fight and ask you to join with us. Freedom isn't free. The work of Freedom 4/24 and the partners we support is made possible through your generosity. If you would like to give today or on a recurring basis, please visit


Land of the Not-So-Free: 1.5 Million Human Trafficking Victims Currently in U.S.


“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.

The answer is yes.

Human trafficking happens in the United States.

It may seem like an obvious statement but it’s one we often say when explaining the work of Freedom 4/24. And yes, we exist to fight human trafficking here in the States too. In light of the upcoming 4th of July celebration of our country's independence, we asked blogger and Freedom 4/24 supporter Holly Hrywnak of to give a snapshot of trafficking in the U.S.

So, who is Holly? Here’s a quick For 24 intro.  


#4: Meet Holly Hrywnak

Age: 31

Hometown: Corning, NY

Family snap shot: I've have three siblings and have the honor of being an aunt to seven of the cutest (and craziest) kiddos. My parents have been in pastoral ministry for about 35 years now. They have a deep love for God and a heart for people. I've seen the way they've extended kindness, grace and love to the hurting, broken and afflicted and it is their example of godliness that I aspire to.

How did you become aware of human trafficking for the first time?

I first learned of human trafficking when I was in Bible school about 10 years ago. I was involved in a prayer group that focused on the needs of people in North America and one of the topics that came up was human trafficking. It struck my heart deeply to learn of the atrocities being committed ... especially to children.

How did you get connected to the work of Freedom 4/24?

I got connected to Freedom 4/24 through a friend of mine, Tim Spaulding. I started reading different articles he would post on social media and a passion started to rekindle in my heart. I wasn't sure what I could do to help, but I knew I could speak and that was better than remaining silent.

Now that you have a glimpse of Holly and her heart, read her eye-opening piece on the issue of human trafficking in the United States.


Land of the Not-So-Free: 1.5 Million Human Trafficking Victims Currently in U.S.

“It could never happen here,” we try and convince ourselves.

The issue of human trafficking isn’t just another episode on Law and Order: SVU or a sad news story out of Nigeria sandwiched between tonight’s lottery numbers and the announcement of the name of a celebrity’s newborn. It’s happening now and it’s happening here, in my state and yours.

Let me assure you, there is human trafficking taking place in all—yes all—50 states, according to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC). The top three states that are recorded for potential human trafficking instances are California, Texas and Florida. This isn’t exactly the kind of Top 3 group that people are proud to be a part of, but it’s something we all need to understand.

Before I get ahead of myself, I think it’s important to define human trafficking. Human trafficking is any instance in which a victim is held against his or her will to perform sex acts or labor services either through force, fraud or coercion. Simply put, it is modern day slavery and it affects men, women and children alike. In 2014, the NHTRC received reports of 5,042 unique cases of human trafficking in the United States. Each instance could involve multiple victims.

That’s a lot of cases, if you ask me. More importantly it is a lot of people.

It is estimated that in the U.S. alone, there are 1.5 million victims currently in the human trafficking trade.

It’s easy to get lost in the statistics and the numbers, but each of those numbers represents a victim. Each number has a name, a story and a life before being trafficked.

What do human trafficking victims look like? They look a lot like you and me. They are young, old, male, female, U.S. citizens and foreign nationals and they come from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. It can happen to anyone at any time.

It’s hard for me to describe to you what a day in the life of a victim may look like because it is devastating, to say the least. Oftentimes, human trafficking victims are visibly malnourished. They have been denied the most basic of rights and their bodies bear the scars—both physically and mentally. Sex trafficking victims are forced to participate in sex acts with numerous partners a day, one after the other. Labor trafficking victims work under poor conditions for long hours. There are no breaks, no days off and certainly no vacations.

Now that we know that human trafficking is a huge problem in the United States and that there are cases of it happening in every state, you may be wondering where, specifically, it takes places. Is it based solely in underground markets? No, in fact many times it occurs in businesses, including restaurants, farms, factories and strip clubs. Personally, I find that difficult to wrap my head around because in the case of farming and manufacturing, I could be purchasing items that were harvested or made through labor trafficking and not even know it.

How could this happen in the U.S.? Why does it happen? It’s a pretty simple answer: money.

It’s all about the money. Human trafficking is making traffickers billions of dollars each year. That’s a lot of Benjamins. With the benefit of high profits and such a low risk of getting caught, the reality of trafficking is a growing industry that only looks to consume and shatter more lives for the sake of profit.

If we ever hope to see human trafficking end in the United States, we must all take part in the fight, at every level of government and citizenship. According to the NHTRC, there needs to be an increase of training for federal and local law enforcement agencies. There will need to be more services offered for victims who have been recovered. Awareness must also gain greater ground in our communities. While there seems to be no excuse for someone to claim ignorance with the amount of connectivity the internet and social media lends us, it is still my job and yours to open the eyes of those around us.

After 9/11, New York City started circulating the slogan, “If you see something, say something.” The slogan was meant to draw people’s attention to suspicious activity that could be happening around them and this same slogan can be applied human trafficking. When we are made aware of an injustice, even if it doesn’t directly relate to us, it is important to share that information with others. People need to know what is happening around us, in our own country. They need to be informed and we can’t expect someone else to do the talking for us. We’ve got to be willing to speak up when we learn of injustices. You may never know the impact it makes for someone.

We’ve also got to be willing to put our money where our mouth is by supporting organizations like Freedom 4/24 that are leading the way in this fight. Did you know that Freedom 4/24 financially supports and promotes the work of not just their international partners that are fighting the fight, but also 11 domestic organizations that all tackle human trafficking in America? Your financial support makes this directly possible.

By giving just $24/month (that’s $0.80 a day) to Freedom 4/24, you make a tremendous impact in feeding, sheltering, clothing, rehabilitating and restoring hope to hundreds of REAL girls and women each year. Not just abroad, but right here in the United States.

You too can make an impact. It needn’t be overwhelming or complicated. Give $24 a month. Get involved in a Run 4 Their Lives race. Share this story on Facebook. Donate your birthday to Freedom.  If we all do what we can, we will chip away at the fabric of human trafficking in the United States, and across the world. Together, we can end it, one voice raised and one life saved at a time.

To become a recurring giver, click here. To learn more about the American partners Freedom 4/24 supports, visit For more insight into human trafficking in the United States, including myths and misconceptions, visit the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at  



“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.  


#3: Meet Joy Marinelli

Family: Oldest of 8 children! Two sisters currently live with me in Lynchburg.

Occupation: National Run 4 Their Lives Race Director for Freedom 4/24

Hometown: Staunton, VA

We could not be more excited to introduce you to our newest team member—one who will have a direct impact on many of you through our nationwide Run 4 Their Lives race series. Meet Joy Marinelli, our National Race Director. She has a wealth of nonprofit knowledge and a heart for Jesus, and once you read our Q&A with her below, we believe you will understand why she is perfectly equipped to lead our Run 4 Their Lives races.

Welcome to the team, Joy! Tell us about who you are and what makes you tick.

I am the oldest of 8 children. I was born in Memphis but at three years old, my family moved to Vermont because my dad, a pastor, was hired by a church there. I was homeschooled until 9th grade and at that time, started attending a private, Christian school in Staunton, VA, where we moved when I was 12. After high school, I attended Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC, on a full academic scholarship, which was the most amazing blessing of my life!

I majored in photojournalism and had plans to go on the mission field as a photojournalist for some amazing magazine like National Geographic and I wanted to have a legitimate skill that would allow me into unreached countries. After spending a year post college as a newspaper photographer, I decided I might not work for National Geographic and went to Australia to do a Disciple Training School with Youth With a Mission (YWAM). Once I completed my six-month YWAM stint, I moved back to Staunton for a few years to work at a psychiatric hospital for children. Through all of these transitions, I was seeking an overall direction for my life, asking God where he wanted me.

In 2006, he led me to Boone, NC, where I got a job at Samaritan’s Purse. I stayed there for five years, during which time I pursued my master’s degree in Public Health. I then moved to Lynchburg, where I have since worked for two different nonprofits, both related to health and wellness. I can confidently say that though there were times when I had absolutely no idea why I was doing what I was doing, God was building (and still is) a puzzle with my life. Each piece, even the extremely painful and confusing parts, provided something that has been necessary for growth toward knowing Him and being able to trust Him with my life and its direction. I’m so excited about this next piece at Freedom 4/24 and cannot wait to see how He uses me here!

Joy with nieces

Describe your faith.

I accepted Jesus into my life when I was five years old. My parents are believers and raised us in the knowledge of Christ so it was natural to accept Him into my life. What was not natural was the actual surrendering part. As I grew older, I started to understand that being a Christian isn’t just about not going to hell but more about getting to know who Jesus is and what his sacrifice actually means for me, and then feeling that complete unworthiness and overwhelming love all at the same time.

I also began to understand that my life wasn’t my own and that my plans for an acting career in Hollywood weren’t the same plans that God had for me. When I was 12, I went on my first international mission trip to Mexico and during my time there heard a speaker talk about how natives in Papua New Guinea were begging for people to come teach them about Jesus. I can’t really describe it in detail but I knew it was God. During that talk, He spoke into my spirit and said to go, to tell people about Him. So since I was planning to be an actress, I fought against this for a few years before surrendering to the idea.

After that, everything I did was in the light of how I could be most useful in sharing Jesus. I sometimes still struggle with those surrender issues but I feel that the times when I am most fulfilled have been those when I am secure in knowing I am where He wants me, when I am being obedient to him. All this to say, coming to know Jesus has been and still is a process. Throughout my life, I have learned more about who He is in light of who I am and after seeing His goodness and mercy to me when I did nothing to gain that, the fire burns in me to share that with others. 

How did you first come into contact with the work of Freedom 4/24?

I first became aware of Freedom 4/24 shortly after I moved [to Lynchburg, VA] in 2012. I had friends who had connections with the organization and I learned about it through them. Also, you see the stickers everywhere on vehicles here in Lynchburg!

Share some your background in nonprofit work.

I’ve been working in the nonprofit world since 2006. From my five years at Samaritan’s Purse in the Operation Christmas Child project as well as work at a homeless shelter, a small grassroots organization, and a community service board, I have had the opportunity to work both domestically and internationally, addressing issues ranging from evangelism and discipleship to mental and physical health and wellness. Though it can be difficult work, I completely love being part of a company or organization where the main purpose is to affect change, increase quality of life, share resources, and provide healing.

Me and coffee

How do you believe your previous work with nonprofits has prepared you for your new role as National Race Director for Freedom 4/24?

My previous nonprofit work, along with my educational background in public health, has provided me with an understanding of working with remote teams, project and partnership development, community interaction, resource acquisition, and team building. Working with varying types of nonprofits has also given me experience with processes that work well, areas that require caution, and a very real look at the struggles and challenges of developing and maintaining sustainable funding and overall project goals.

What are you most excited about coming into this role?

I am ecstatic about being involved with an organization that is focused on affecting real change, both physically and spiritually! I feel that there are a lot of really great organizations in the world that may address one or the other but as followers of Christ, I fully believe these two things—the  physical and spiritual—go hand-in-hand. If we want to share who He is and what He did for us, it is imperative that we show Him in real, practical ways by meeting physical needs.

At the same time, if we initiate relationships through the process of addressing physical and mental needs, we can also use those opportunities to point to Christ. Without Christ, physical relief is a band-aid fix but without meeting people where they are and addressing their real physical needs, we cannot claim that we are living the life of justice we have been called to as those who have experienced His mercy and grace through salvation.

What do you see as your greatest challenge, initially or long-term?

I foresee my greatest challenge initially being that of indoctrinating myself into the present work. It will definitely be a hit-the-ground-running scenario, so I am excited to reach the point where I feel competent and knowledgeable about the inner workings of the project. I cannot wait to begin creating and expanding the Freedom 4/24 influence around the country and eventually, the world!

Joy with sisters

You obviously have a heart for human trafficking victims. How did that come about?

This topic is definitely something I have spent hours reading about and researching and feel passionate about fighting. I think it may have begun as I started to see areas around the world where women were forgotten and I felt that, as a woman, who else but me should use my giftings and resources to reach out to other women in need?

I went to a conference once where the speaker was talking about how in Muslim cultures, Christian men would share Christ with Muslim men who would then accept Christ and then these Muslim converts would declare to their wives that they were now Christians. Muslim women, the protectors of the home and the family, were now forced into a life of what they perceived as treason and a violation of all they held dear. No one took the time to talk to them about Christ, to reach out to them.

After hearing about situations like this, I wanted to be that woman to them. I wanted to reach out to the forgotten women around the world. Thus began my journey in looking for the unseen. This led me to read up on human trafficking. I definitely recommend the book “A Crime So Monstrous” by E. Benjamin Skinner; it was one of the first and most eye-opening books I read around the issues of human trafficking.

You have traveled quite a bit. Tell of some experiences you've had that have prepared your heart and mind for the work ahead of you at Freedom 4/24.

I have had the opportunity through internships, work, and even some personal travel to visit more than 20 countries around the world. When you are able to expand your horizon beyond your own country and culture, it gives you both an appreciation for your home as well as an awareness that your way isn’t the only way.

Traveling has allowed me to learn from others around the world and understand different perspectives, different value systems, and different ways of thinking. These experiences will be so helpful both at the domestic and international level of Freedom 4/24 in working and communicating with people from all walks of life, denominations, and cultures.

Joy with bro and sis, in Haiti

As our new National Race Director, this is an important question: Are you a runner? 

Yes. My very first official run, The Bear, was in 2008 and was a five-mile jaunt with an elevation gain of more than 1,500 feet to the summit of Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina. I never want to do that again!

Since then, I have run many 5Ks, a mud run, a sprint triathlon, and a half marathon. The most I have run at one time has been around 18 miles when I was training so I haven’t yet conquered a full marathon. I’m still thinking about that.

Joy running

Lightning round! Favorite place: I love anything outdoors. I feel closest to God when I’m at the beach.

My family is … Huge and loud and Italian and crazy. I have 10 nieces and nephews with one more on the way.

Quirks or Vices: I’m obsessed with Mountain Dew (though for health purposes I don’t really drink it much anymore) and my favorite food is fried chicken. Seriously, on a bad day, forget the chocolate and bring on the chicken!

Joy with niece and nephew


For 24: Melanie Carroll


"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.  


#2: Meet Melanie Carroll

Much like completing a marathon, the fight to end human trafficking happens one step at a time. Melanie Carroll understands this well.

When she first became aware of the atrocities of sexual slavery and human trafficking, she determined to do something about it. So, she laced up her running sneakers began pounding the pavement to run a marathon while raising support for Freedom 4/24. It worked—Melanie raised more than $2,500!

If you’ve ever wondered what you can do to raise awareness and support for the fight for freedom, read Melanie’s story in her own words, and be INSPIRED to set your own creative goal!


Name: Melanie Carroll

Age: 31

Family: Married to Mark, and blessed with three gorgeous children, Trinitee (9), Braeden (4), and Colton (2)

Occupation: Stay-at-home mom, wife and (occasional) volleyball coach

Hometown: La Verne, California

What I did to raise money for Freedom 4/24: Ran my first marathon!

full marathon medal

Turning Awareness Into Action

My daughter, husband and I registered to run R4TL last spring, 2014, at my alumni, Azusa Pacific University. My daughter ran in the 1k and my husband and myself in the 5k.

Human sex trafficking stirs my soul. Since first hearing about it from a guest speaker at my church, Christ Church of the Valley, I was immediately deeply troubled. It has kept me up numerous nights, and my heart aches at the staggering numbers of women and children who are targeted and sold. ... I wanted to take action and do something, anything that I could to get awareness out there and join in the fight. We need to protect our children.

The Fundraising Begins

I came into contact with Ryan Barr (Freedom 4/24 former Executive Race Director) after emailing Freedom 4/24 for ways I could get involved and help. Ryan set up a Go Fund Me page and I was able to write a little about what I was partaking in and also include the horrifying statistics of human sex trafficking.

Then I made up and handed out flyers to local businesses, family members, friends, acquaintances, neighbors and strangers. I also took to my social media pages to get the message and my fundraiser out there. I accepted any and all donations. From $2 on, no donation was ever too small; I knew every dollar would make a difference! I had family members raising awareness with those they knew and sharing on their own social media pages. It was incredibly amazing to feel the support from others, I have the utmost gratitude. My total funds raised was $2,523!

I love that Freedom 4/24 is so supportive and encouraging. Ryan helped me every step of the way. During the entire run, especially in the moments I didn't think I was going to make it, I kept my focus on the victims. This was for them and all the people who had rallied together to support and join in the fight against this horrendous crime.


Signs on the Course

I have a special place in my heart for the number 22. It was the favorite number of my favorite cousin, Tiffany May Rivas, whom passed away in 2003. All throughout my training I would randomly see the number 22 somewhere, especially during some of the most difficult times! It wasn't necessarily anything new for me (to see the number amidst hard times), but it continued to present itself to me time and time again amidst my training runs.

While running the marathon, at three different points that happened to be the most difficult of the entire run—times I wanted to just give up—I would look up and see that number 22! First on a lifeguard tower, then a second life guard tower and then the 22-mile marker flag. The timing and the happenstance of me looking up at those moments are indescribable. I knew, this was not only to join the fight in saving the victims from human sex trafficking, but I was connected with my cousin as well. She gave me the strength to continue. To finish. To solidify that I was right where I was supposed to be, fulfilling a piece of God's will for my life.

Overcoming Obstacles

As well as being a mother of three and Law Enforcement officer's wife, amidst my training process, I was diagnosed as hypothyroid. I already suffer from arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis, hypoglycemia and digestion problems. A lot of old injuries began to flare up, and I had severe difficulty with fueling myself properly in diet (due to all my food intolerances). I even got sick with the flu and was taken to the hospital at one point. That is how I knew to keep going! I knew I was doing what God wanted. I know I physically shouldn't have been able to do it. My body wasn't naturally made for running. And that is exactly why God gave me the strength to finish this good work in me that He started. It is not me, but He.

After the Finish Line

I will not stop supporting this fight against this horrid epidemic. All I can pray and hope is that I've made a tiny dent in the battle and fight in raising awareness. It is constantly on my mind. Pray for the victims.