Salvation Army kicks off Brave campaign

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Event educates churches and faith-based organizations on how to empower girls.

By Neil Munoz –

The Salvation Army held its official launch for Brave, a new human trafficking prevention initiative for girls in foster care, on March 3, at Newport Mesa Church.

In partnership with Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice, The Salvation Army invited community leaders, local church members and Vanguard students to spread awareness on how to join the fight against human trafficking.

Brave is a campaign designed to celebrate and empower girls in foster care and remind them of their strength, identity, and worth. According to Major Danielle Strickland, Territorial Social Justice Secretary, 70–80 percent of domestic human trafficking survivors come from the foster care system. Brave acts as a first step toward disrupting that. In other words, why can’t the church reach them before the traffickers?

The event kicked off with worship and a few words by foster care activist and spoken word artist Sade Daniels, which helped set the tone for the evening. “She was nine when he touched her unmentionables, and why did he do it?…hell could have waited another year…but I was only nine.”

Attendees were then asked to write a word on a post-it answering, “What comes to your head when you think of human trafficking?” Participants jotted down words such as “trapped,” “slavery,” “fear,” “broken,” “pain” and “overlooked.”

Captain Lisa Barnes, corps officer and author, shared a little about her experience in the foster care system. Barnes, who helped create the Brave journal, channelled a letter she wrote to her 12-year-old self. “You are not alone,” she said. “Be aware people care, people want to make a difference with you and you have the Creator of the Universe in your corner.”

Going forward, Strickland said she hopes to partner with 7th Street Church Co-pastor, Noemi Chavez Chavez, to create a Do-It-Yourself Manual to instruct other churches and faith-based organizations on how to host their own Brave events. Brave’s curriculum will be piloted locally, but could be scaled up depending on its reception.

The evening concluded with the question, “How do we now feel about combatting human trafficking?” Words such as “restoration,” “survivor,” “warrior,” “hope,” and “beauty” surfaced.

“Girls are exploited because they are alone,” Barnes said. “They can still make change and be loved.”

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