With your BROKEN, unused, or unwanted jewelry, YOU can help prevent human trafficking in the Dominican Republic. Top Buttons is working with an organization called FIGHT Ministries (Freeing Individuals from the Grasp of Human Trafficking) based in Jarabacoa, which is in the center of the D.R.
Their purpose is to restore hope, healing, security and safety to the children of the Dominican Republic who live in an oppressed society where human slavery is rampant. As they move towards gaining the means to rescue and rehabilitate young women, they are currently working diligently on prevention.
TRAFFICKING IN THE D.R.
In a 2009 report from the U.S. State Dept for Trafficking in Persons, the D.R. is ranked 4th in the world as a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor. Also noted was the fact that parents often push their children into prostitution to help support the family. You can read more about the difficulties in assessing the actual number of Haitian and Dominican children being trafficked by going to this link at the UNICEF website.
Naomi Ostberg, one of the FIGHT Ministry's Team Members, described the people of the Dominican by saying, "They are loving, generous, and don't seem to meet a stranger. Unfortunately, they have a very strict history of religion which doesn't include a relationship with Jesus. Church is seen as a place one goes weekly to hear a set of rules, not a place for worship and personal growth. Religion can't save or fill the void within us all, only Christ can. We see young women reaching out for attention seeking to fill that void. Along with the challenges of Human Trafficking, sex is accepted here for even the very young. Sexiness with clothing and in attitude is commonly a dictator of who is considered beautiful and is encouraged in order to attract a possible rich spouse. Teaching young women to understand the importance of dressing with proper fitting clothes in order to protect themselves from traffickers, is a part of the FIGHT Ministries prevention plan along with teaching other life skills. These girls are lovely. We want them to know who they are on the inside is what makes them beautiful." She continued by saying, "We are working to show young girls the love of one man, Jesus, is more than enough. He is our Savior. He is our hope. Helping young girls understand this principle will be a stepping stone to encourage change and will help them overcome the challenges they face."
NEW CREATIONS JEWELRY
"New Creations" was started as a part of their fight against human traffickers in this country. As they teach young girls in the community how to make and sell jewelry, they are less likely to believe the lies of the traffickers who try to lure them into slavery with promises of financial security.
FIGHT ministries has partnered with a local church in Jarabacoa. It is through this church that they have found some solid women in the community who their organization has taught the skill of making jewelry. Soon these women will be teaching this trade to their daughters and other children (mostly female) in their neighborhoods.
They want to "re-make" old and broken jewelry into "new creations". Just like Christ has done with us. Of course making money to feed one's family is a must! But the benefits of starting this project are so much bigger than simply putting change in their pockets. They want to equip these women to fight off their intruders with knowledge, a solid community, with an activity that will keep kids off the streets, and see God's provision at work in their lives as they strive to honor Him!
Did you ever imagine that your UNWANTED jewelry whether old or new could be upcycled to prevent Human Trafficking?! We all debate what to do with our tarnished, broken, or unworn jewelry pieces. Please don't throw them away! They have requested:
*buttons, gems, or beads
*broken, new, unwanted, or unworn jewelry
*jewelry making supplies (like clasps)
*any other small items that could be used for jewelry making
We will be collecting jewelry pieces during July and August! Please send items to our office
256 North Kentucky Ave, Lakeland, Florida, 33801, Suite #105
Soon Top Buttons will take a few team members to the Dominican and deliver all the jewelry pieces we have collected. If you have any questions or would like to read more about FIGHT ministries. Please check out their website at fightministries.org.
The images are of Naomi Ostberg and some children of Jarabacoa. Naomi is one of the 5 team members who founded FIGHT Ministries. She was an ESE teacher in central Florida before she and her husband (who had his own construction business) felt called to leave it all one year ago and move to the Dominican Republic to help fight against human trafficking.