Do you love coffee?
Do you love gathering your friends together for a good cause?
We need your help!
In order to raise awareness about human trafficking and sexual exploitation, we are sending our team out to speak at these "Coffee for a Cause" nights. You can host one at your church, in your living room, or even in your backyard.
Here's how it works. It's as easy as 1-2-3...
1. Contact us to schedule a date for your event.
2. Invite all of your friends.
3. Brew up a pot of coffee, ask friends to bring some desserts, and we'll handle the rest!
We'll provide a complete presentation about human trafficking, what it looks like in the United States, how you can recognize the signs, and ways you can get involved in the fight. We'll also share about ways our organization is working locally with high-risk women and children and those who have already been victimized.
Contact us today to schedule your Coffee for a Cause event.
We can't wait to partner with you to raise awareness about this important issue in our community!
Last night, I found myself driving the familiar route to the strip club. As I pulled up to the side door and toted in snacks and gifts, the dressing room was quiet - only about 1/4 of the usual number of girls was working. I silently said a prayer of thanks and then greeted everyone with hugs and a smile.
We ate and chatted about everything and nothing as the girls rotated in and out of the dressing room on their breaks. At one point, I emptied out a locker and my soul danced at the thought that my newest daughter would never again have to step foot into this world. Like a fiercely protective momma bear, I carefully bagged up each item and vowed to do whatever it takes to keep you from ever reaching this level of desperation again.
As I finished emptying the locker, I heard conversation drifting from across the room about the new movie coming out for Valentines Day, "50 Shades Darker". The girls chattered about how eager they were to see this latest installment of the Christian Grey saga.
Long after I gave good-bye hugs and made the drive home, I was still thinking about that conversation. Then when I got home and did a quick Facebook scroll, I saw lots of my own friends were posting similar thoughts on their excitement for this movie. I knew it was time to have this conversation with you, my precious daughters.
You see, the "50 Shades" craze isn't all that surprising to me. Like a billion other controversial books or movies, it's spawning everyone to shout their opinions. Love it or hate it, this is just part of our society. But that's why we need to talk about it. As your mom, I want you to look beyond the lure of the newest trend and see this Grey fascination for what it really is.
I'm not one to jump on the judgmental train - in fact, I tell you all the time that you can tell me anything and I'll still love you completely. So please know this isn't coming from a place of judgement... it's coming from a place of love.
Daughters, please don't go see these movies. Don't read those books. I stuck my toes in the water to test them out a few years ago, sampling the books to see what all the fuss was about. It's a dark ocean with a strong current. It will pull you under before you have a chance to catch your breath.
Sure, the storyline is compelling. The erotica is deliciously inviting. The enemy knows this, darling. Here's the thing - the 50 shades series starts out with Anastasia's innocence and then takes her through a journey where she discovers a new world of desire and pleasure all bundled up in abuse, torture, and bondage. Hollywood sells this as sexy and romantic, but at the end of the day, it's just one more way the world is telling you that you're not worthy of a safe relationship.
As Anastasia slowly learns to "let go" and "lose control" by surrendering her body and emotions to Christian Grey, she isn't entering a beautiful new relationship. She is allowing herself to become a victim. The truth is that there is a safe place where you can "let go" emotionally and sexually. But that place is not in bondage or in the presence of a man who treats you as an object to be conquered or controlled.
Daughters, you are worth more than this.
This whole 50 Shades craze is just a symptom of something much darker happening in our society. Innocent girls are bought and sold, convinced that they have no choice but to take off their clothes for money, to sell their bodies to the highest bidder. The world will teach you that your body, your beauty, your appearance is the most powerful asset you have, but this isn't true.
The enemy is crafty, sweetheart. He wants you to think an abusive, controlling man is glamorous and enticing. He wants to paint torture as erotic, portray control as the pinnacle of sexual satisfaction. If he can convince you that pleasure and pain are intertwined, he can make you an easy target to abusers who have much darker plans than the fictitious Christian Grey.
When I see women in my own circle raving about 50 Shades on social media, I want to scream. Don't you know what my daughters have been through? They have been tied up, raped, and tortured. They have been priced, sold, and traded. But they are so much more!
You, my daughters, have such value! These things you have endured were not your fault. You were created for a purpose and our great God has a plan for your life. His plans for you are ALWAYS for good, not for evil. He treasures you, cherishes you, and He fights for you. He longs for you to find love that is safe, a picture of His own love for us. True love is giving, sacrificial, laying down its own life for the other. It's never about control, abuse, or bondage. It's about freedom.
So sweet daughters, when a friend invites you to go see the new 50 Shades movie, please say no. Tell her that you don't need to see it to know how the story goes.
Tell her you want more from your relationships than that brand of cheap erotica. Tell her that abuse isn't entertainment. Tell her that you refuse to pay a dime to support a culture that depicts women this way. And tell her that she too is worth more than this.
If you're looking for ways to really get involved in the fight against human trafficking, first let us say a heartfelt THANK YOU. There are far too few people who are willing to join the battle and fight for freedom in this dark place.
As you begin to think about ways you can get involved, here are some specific things you can do NOW to help My Refuge City care for real victims of exploitation, human trafficking, or other urgent crises in North Carolina.
1. Pack a "Go Bag".
Rescues happen 24/7 and we rarely have advance notice. Usually it's a phone call on the hotline that starts the process and our first responders pick up and go, whether it's 2:00 PM or 2:00 AM. Sometimes we arrive on scene and find the victim with literally nothing except the clothes on her back. That's why we try to keep "Go Bags" on hand at all times. Our first responders can grab one of these bags and know they have the essentials for the first 24 hours of care. To donate a "Go Bag", you should buy a duffle bag or backpack and fill it with the following items:
2. Provide Treat Bags for Our Strip Club Outreach
We have a team of ladies who make biweekly visits to North Carolina strip clubs. We typically spend around 30 minutes to an hour in the dressing room, talking to the girls and identifying any needs that we can meet for them. This is usually a time to just get to know them and let them know we are available if they ever need emergency help. While not all entertainers at strip clubs are involved in human trafficking, we have found that this is often an entryway and pimps target these clubs in an effort to recruit new girls. That's why we believe these visits are vital for both prevention and to help girls leave the industry to escape this risk.
During these visits, we try to take in treat bags of goodies for all of the dancers, house moms, managers, and bartenders. We need around 30 treat bags for each visit. Here are some suggested items that can be placed in treat bags:
3. Volunteer with My Refuge City.
We could not do the work we are involved in without a strong army of volunteers. We are currently looking for men and women to serve on our first responder team to help us during urgent rescues. We also have openings for women who wish to serve with our strip club outreach. All volunteers at My Refuge City must go through one of our quarterly training sessions and complete a full criminal background check. Email us to learn more about volunteering.
4. Help Us Make Local Connections.
We are trying to network with businesses, churches, and other nonprofits in North Carolina who could potentially offer services or meet physical needs for our victims. Currently, we are seeking hotels who would partner with us during rescues to offer safe lodging in a discrete, cost effective way.
5. Host a Fundraiser.
Would you be willing to head up a fundraiser for My Refuge City? We would love to provide you with more details about our organization and hear your ideas. Email us to start the conversation.
6. Raise Awareness.
One of the biggest challenges we face is helping the community see human trafficking as a real problem. Most wrongly assume that it doesn't happen in North Carolina, yet we see it every single day. We would love to come share with your church, business, or group of friends about what human trafficking looks like in NC and how you can make a difference. You can request trainings or a guest speaker by contacting us here.
7. Meet the BIG Needs.
If your heart is moved to do something really big to help victims in NC, we have a handful of big needs...