I Will Bring Change. Will You? PLUS: A Giveaway

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By Lacey Forward | Twitter: @willbringchange

F_Lacey

It was a regular night in 2009 when God answered my prayer.

I had asked God to speak to me in a dream about something that mattered to Him. So God did. I awoke to a pillow drenched with tears, puffy eyes, and shaking limbs, images continuing to play in my mind’s eye:

I found myself atop a warehouse somewhere in Asia, accompanied by a man dressed like an army commander. I couldn’t see, so I walked to the edge, peering down to the street below. I saw women and children who displayed clear signs of abuse: beaten and bruised, with tattered clothes. An alarm sounded and I hurried down a ladder, into the warehouse. A group of us hurriedly loaded SUVs with as many of the women and children as we could save, along with countless rubber storage containers full of supplies. Hastily, we drove the vehicles away …

It was during this dream that I heard the words “human trafficking” for the first time. Back in 2009, this was a little talked-about issue, and certainly not one I was familiar with. With the images of these broken and battered faces seared into my memory, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something significant had just been revealed to me. So I began to search for answers to my question, “What is human trafficking?”

What I found horrified me: human trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring, or receipt of human slaves. Modern slave masters exploit people through abduction, debt bondage, coercion, fraud, and deception in order to profit from them through labour or sexual servitude.

I learned that every day people are bought and sold for as little as pocket change. Women and children are labour-exploited and sexually-exploited in Africa, Europe, and Asia.

It made me wonder: how could Canada possibly be exempt from this industry of buying and selling people for exploitation? As much as I didn’t want to believe that my fellow Canadians could be capable of such atrocities, the trends in the information I found, showed an obvious, sickening demand.

But where was the proof? Where was the evidence that Canada was, indeed, home to a thriving black market of people being sold as commodities? Where were the stories of rescue and redemption?

Eventually, I discovered the RCMP estimated in 2010 that most people trafficked into Canada are brought here for sexual purposes. At least 1,500 to 2,200 people are trafficked through Canada to the United States annually. And the average age of those being coerced into prostitution in North America is just 12 years old. These children should be playing tag on the playground and worrying about spelling tests, not sexual predators.

Immediately, I began to research Canadian organizations that were doing something about this. I needed to do something, to give my time to an organization in my city. But to my shock, I found nothing.

What had originally crippled me emotionally, began to motivate me. I had to stop looking at this seemingly insurmountable problem and approach it with more simplicity. So I asked, “Lord, what can I do? What is my small part?”

My heart and spirit had been awakened to the plight of the millions in the world just waiting for rescue. I didn’t want to forget the dream and I wanted to continue to stay alert to what the Lord was saying, even though God seemed silent at times. I wanted to stay focused and create something that would keep my thoughts and prayers about human slavery at the forefront of my mind. The fact that a human being could be paid for with “pocket change”—something many of us think of as disposable—was deplorable to me.

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So what began as a personal token of remembrance—a simple bracelet with a coin attached—evolved into a movement, a calling, and a plan.

That’s how, and why, I WILL Bring Change was born. Through the gathering of friends who make these bracelets by hand during “sweatshop nights,” I WILL Bring Change creates community and action among people who have asked, “What can I do? What’s my small part?”

Through the production and sale of these handmade bracelets, I WILL Bring Change delivers the hope of freedom to those in bondage today. The proceeds from the bracelet sales go directly toward the prevention of human trafficking and supporting the rescue, restoration and reintegration of survivors. We partner with reputable organizations to fulfill our mission of mending broken hearts and setting captives free.

It started as a dream, and has become bigger than I could ever have asked or imagined. Beyond the bracelets, we have also launched a full beauty line, Face of Dignity, the profits of which go toward our mission as well. From the high quality of our products to their positive and uplifting names, Face of Dignity reflects and advocates for the true value of a woman.

I can’t begin to explain how this process has changed me over the past six years since I first had that dream. I imagine it is similar to becoming a mother for the first time. The conception was truly a seed planted by the Lord, and it grew until I could no longer contain it. Just this year, the births of I WILL Bring Change and Face of Dignity have launched our team into the whirlwind of new parenthood.

But above all, looking back, it amazes me to see how far we’ve come, even though it would appear we just began. We have so much work to do in educating and empowering people about modern slavery, and now that our products are out and the support is coming in, our dreams can grow yet again.

Would you pray with us, that God would continue to use our platform to reach those in need, who are lost and enslaved and abused? That people who have skills to offer, whose hearts are broken by these stories, would join us in doing their small part?

Tackling the problem of human trafficking will take sacrifice. Rather, I view it as an opportunity. We get to be the hands and feet of Christ. This is something I don’t want to miss out on. The simple acts of buying an I WILL Bring Change bracelet, or purchasing your next eyeshadow or foundation from Face of Dignity could be your opportunity to do your small part for survivors of human trafficking.

I will bring change. Will you?

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IWBC

GIVEAWAY

We’re so thrilled to partner with I WILL BRING CHANGE for a giveaway of TWO of their signature CHANGE bracelets—one on Instagram and one on Facebook. This piece was created to remind us of the story of too many women around our world, and for us to never stop telling it. The CHANGE bracelet is adorned with Swarovski crystals and has a custom-designed coin charm and maple leaf. The large lobster claw closure and extended chain allow for easy and secure fastening.

 HOW TO ENTER:

FOR A CHANCE TO WIN ON INSTAGRAM:

1. Follow @shelovesmag on Instagram

2. Head over to @iwillbringchange + follow them. 

3. Tag 3 friends

FOR A CHANCE TO WIN ON FACEBOOK:

1. LIKE our SheLovesmagazine FB page 

2. Head over to I Will Bring Change + LIKE their page

3. Tag 3 friends

The contest will close on Friday, Nov. 27 at 8pm (PST) and we’ll announce the winners on our FB and Instagram pages.

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PARTNERING FOR GOOD: SheLoves has entered into an Affiliate Partnership with I Will Bring Change. When you click through from SheLoves and purchase any I Will Bring Change bracelets or Face of Dignity products, SheLoves will benefit from your purchase in order to support this site.

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lacey (10 of 11)About Lacey:

Lacey Forward is the founder and chief visionary of I WILL BRING CHANGE. Her responsibilities include the creation and implementation of projects and partnerships that will generate sustainable revenue to prevent human trafficking and support the rescue, restoration and reintegration of survivors. 

Lacey brings her keen eye for business and her passion for people to all she does. She is not only a real estate agent, but also the co-owner and founder of Westridge Realty Co., a successful real estate brokerage in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Lacey’s natural gift for innovative entrepreneurship was evident since childhood; her limitless creativity and fearless approach, partnered with her instinctive leadership skills are what set Lacey apart. 

Lacey lives on her farm in Langley with her husband, Tim, and their daughter. 

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Image credit: I WILL Bring Change

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