Consider the statistics: 27 million people are enslaved in the world today. Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world, generating $32 billion a year. One million children are used in the sex industry every day.
These heinous crimes are committed throughout the world, even in the United States, where there are currently 200,000 to 300,000 young women and children in slavery.
Many will shrug and say they don’t have the power to do anything to help abolish this modern-day slavery. Jordan Beshore, however, is not one of those people.
The 17-year-old Maryville High School junior has created an organization, The Global Heart, dedicated to raising awareness of human trafficking and to raise funds to help survivors regain their lives. Jordan explained, “The Global Heart is a nonprofit organization, and I partner with Free the Girls, an organization that takes gently used bras and sends them to third-world countries, such as Africa, to help women who are getting out of trafficking, kind of like an in-between job. It’s not their permanent job, it’s a way to get them in a better spot and get them on their feet so they aren’t at risk to go back into trafficking.”
Free the Girls is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides job opportunities for survivors of sex trafficking. Gently used bras are collected and then donated to the women as starting inventory for their own business selling the bras.
Jordan said, “In third-world countries, bras are luxury items, so they make a lot of money. When the women have an opportunity to sell bras, it’s stable, so they won’t run back into trafficking. That’s really common once they get out. They don’t know anything else so they go back.”
Jordan has initiated a unique way to spread the word and raise funds. She shops for sweaters, sweatshirts and T-shirts at thrift stores, appliques a big heart on each of them, then sells the upcycled merchandise.
She said, “I’ve always liked big sweaters and stuff like that, and it was toward Valentine’s Day when I started. I was like, ‘It would be cool if I put a heart on a shirt,’ then I thought of the idea that I could sell these. Human trafficking has always on my heart, so I thought this was a perfect way to raise awareness and raise money.” She finds other fabrics to use for the hearts, such as a T-shirt she didn’t like to wear. “I liked the fabric, so I cut it up to make hearts,” she said. She also searches for remnants at craft stores.
Jordan hand-stitches the hearts on the sweaters and T-shirts, using a blanket stitch. For men, she makes bow-tie T-shirts. For babies, she appliques hearts or bow ties on onesies. Jordan will also do custom orders, if desired.
“I also make button earrings, and I make journals, as well,” she said. She purchases the journals from discount stores and then decoupages scrapbooking paper onto them. She also plans to start doing Bibles soon.
T-shirts sell for $10, sweatshirts are $15, sweaters are $20, onesies are $15, earrings are $5 and journals are $15.
Since February 2013, when she started her ministry, Jordan has raised more than $2,000 for Free the Girls through donations and sale of the products.
Jordan will have her products for sale during Roost Home’s Valentine Open House on Feb. 12.
Owner Paula Osborn said, “While still unpacking boxes and anticipating the opening of Roost, I received a sweet email from Jordan inquiring about a part-time job, stating that she would like to earn money to promote her nonprofit, The Global Heart. She provided a link to her site, and I was instantly impressed that a teenager in our community cares so much about others that she gives her time and talents selflessly for a cause she so strongly believes in.
“I am proud to help Jordan raise money for The Global Heart by giving her a platform to show the community her outstanding work. I hope Maryville will strongly support such a fantastic young person. Jordan will be offering her adorable handmade shirts. The small, humble hearts that she stitches on each shirt are precious.”
As an added bonus to Jordan’s cause, 10 percent of all Roost’s sales from the open house will be donated to The Global Heart. Osborn said, “I think the event is sure to promote the spirit of Valentine’s Day and inspire us all to share love with others.”
Jordan will accept donations of gently used sweaters, T-shirts and sweatshirts, fabrics and funds. She said, “All of the money I raise goes toward Free the Girls. I don’t keep any for my own self. The money goes toward shipping the bras or whatever else they need.”