#Day 20 – Counteract Exploitation

I have had the privilege of working with Azalea Luton a Christian charity which works with women in prostitution and sexual exploitation – on and off for almost eleven years.

Initially I joined the Azalea team as a volunteer, working face to face with the women, through their nightly outreach and drop-in programs, roughly twice a week. Once I had our children, and their night-time needs meant that I couldn’t continue with the face to face work, I was periodically asked to use my acting skills to share testimonies of these women, their hard stories of pain, how they had found hope and joy through Jesus, and the part Azalea had played along the way. I would do this for fundraisers and also at events where Azalea had a presence.
All this happens in a normal town here in the UK, just as it does in many others.

The message of Jesus, sung so loudly at this time of year, is that he came to be a light in the darkness, to bring freedom for the captive and healing for the broken.
We must take that light to the darkness & shine it in his name

Cassie @ Create, Perform & Mother

The message of Jesus, is that he came to be a light in the darkness, to bring freedom for the captive and healing for the broken – we are given his authority, and power in his name to continue being that light in the darkness, and we have a collective responsibility to work for the safety, freedom and justice for all who are oppressed.

There are many ways to do this, from giving money and resources to praying strategically to getting involved and volunteering.

There are also, thankfully, many like Azalea who work with these women, and men and children, loving them and helping them to find freedom, healing and ultimately exit this dangerous life and work.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, they and many other organisations worked hard to assist the women with safe housing and support.

If you would like to know more and consider helping in some way, please visit Azalea.org.uk/Christmas to hear what they do and about their christmas appeal.
Below is the short film I made with a brilliant film editor- Mark Thornton, sharing ‘Ellie’s’ story of how this support made a difference to her, which you can also find on their site.

This Christmas, we recognise that we are all lost and broken and, but for the grace of God, we could find ourselves in similar situations. We are connected to our human family and can bring the hope – offered to us by the baby in the manger, the one who understands us and offers us freedom in his name – to all who we connect with.

Thank you for your kindness,

Cassie x

#AdventConnectionChallenge #polaroidprompt20