“Be the change you want to see.” As cheesy as it may sound, I believe that taking a stand for something shouldn’t be passive. 2015 was the year that I started to research more about the human trafficking trade — an issue that God was gripping my heart about. Random searches on Google led me to one woman that gave me a glimpse of what standing for freedom really looks like. To this day, Christine Caine continues to inspire me with her heart and her hands in the slavery trade.
In 2007, Christine came across multiple posters of missing young women in the Greek airport. She was shocked at how many there were and soon realised that these young women were human trafficking victims. She felt compelled to do something about the situation, and thus, A21 was birthed.
With the aim of abolishing modern-day slavery in the 21st Century, Christine and her husband Nick are determined to bring change to the current reality of the slave trade by raising awareness of and preventing human trafficking, taking legal action against perpetrators, and providing shelter and rehabilitation for rescued survivors. Its operational strategy aims to reach, rescue, and restore every victim that comes its way. With 14 offices in 12 countries today, this dynamic duo has played a major role in changing the slavery game.
What is not so well-known about Christine is that while she is now an advocate of freedom, she was once trapped as a victim too. Adopted and raised in New South Wales, Australia, she was unfortunately sexually abused by several men. Her best attempts to tell someone that could have intervened were in vain, leading her to bury her traumatic experience and walk in shame. In addition, the realisation that she was abandoned by her biological parents added to her shame. As someone well-acquainted with exploitation and abuse, Christine’s decision to confront her past and help others do the same is all the more inspiring as she fights for each victim to walk in freedom.
In 2017, a friend and I participated in a worldwide A21 campaign called “Walk for Freedom”. Along with 50 other Singaporeans, we walked from Stadium to the Esplanade, giving out yers with information on human trafficking to curious passers-by and encouraging conversation about the issue. That was the first time that my conviction about a social cause drove me to action, and strengthened my conviction that each of us have a part to play in the body of Christ — no contribution is too small or in vain!
I’M LIVING PROOF THAT YOU CAN START BAD AND FINISH GOOD. YOU CAN HAVE A LIFE BEYOND YOUR PAST.
If, like Christine, your heart is convicted about a particular cause, I do urge you not to silence or dismiss it. If you feel that you have nothing to give or your past is not something you are proud of, I would like to encourage you with Christine’s journey of hope and restoration.
In fact, she recounts, “My birth certificate doesn’t have a name on it. I’m an unwanted kid, second-generation migrant, marginalised. I think I’m living proof that you can start bad and finish good. You can have a life beyond your past. Now He’s using me to help rescue others.”
And she is living that out, one girl at a time through A21. You can too.