Change Your SHELF. Change Our CULTURE.
Change Your HOLIDAY. Change Your HEART.
These events, among others, made up the week-long Unshackled festival of music and eye-opening speakers. (May 13-17) Speakers and musicians came from all over Melbourne and joined us from Canberra, Sydney, and even the US/Thailand. Organizations such as UrbanLight, International Justice Mission, and World Vision Australia spoke up to inform and encourage change in the lives of Australians. Truthfully, learning about human trafficking can immobilize some. It is evil, and that’s frightening. I’m so grateful for the way the crowd responded each night. Many people made and are making the effort to change their lives so they might, as the Unshackled team says, “bend so others don’t break.”
Since my arrival in Australia five months ago, I’ve been a part of the Unshackled festival’s planning committee. This signaled a partnership between HOPE61 and Unshackled that began with a HOPE61 display at the Unshackled festival and continued with some other “Unshacklers” attending a HOPE61 showing of “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls.”
Unshackled is an organization that grew from a local church. It was started in 2006 when several young Australians first learned about human trafficking. Unshackled exists to instigate change, and has had an effect in local and federal political scenes. They also raise funds for groups fighting human trafficking, and have effectively shown their fellow Australians the reality of slavery “Down Under.” Unshackled continues building an impressive relationship of trust with a growing number of musicians and organizations, all dedicated to truth, justice, and freedom.
Even though this year’s festival has passed, I’ve been privileged to manage Unshackled’s social media accounts and to write or assist in a few articles for local sources. Even more exciting is future partnership between HOPE61 and Unshackled, coming this November.
On November 15 the two groups will host a night of creative expression to raise funds and awareness. Local artists and writers are invited to submit their work to the show, titled “What’s in a Name?: Glimpsing the Identities of Today’s Slaves.” As artists allow, pieces will be sold in a silent auction. After covering event costs, the proceeds will be split between Unshackled and HOPE61 to continue our work in Australia and further.
Please pray that the Unshackled-HOPE61 partnership will result in more Australians preventing human trafficking, both overseas and in Australia. Through sharing Jesus Christ, HOPE61 has enormous potential to prevent slavery from growing – but we cannot do it alone. I’m so grateful for Unshackled, and the opportunity to invite more of the Australian Church to be a part of HOPE61’s vision.