Have you ever heard of social problems--like human trafficking--and wanted to take action, but you didn't know where to begin? If so, we hope you'll be inspired by our Q & A today with Angela Moran, who is one of the founders of Change Purse. Through Change Purse, Angela and her colleagues collect donated purses, sell them, and use the profits to benefit organizations that are working to support survivors of sex trafficking. We were inspired when we heard her story, and we invited her to share some reflections with our See the Triumph community. Her story is an amazing example of how everyone can take action to help provide support to survivors of abuse!
Q: What is Change Purse?
Angela Moran: Change Purse encourages hope through raising awareness and by investing into the lives of victims and survivors of sex-trafficking. We are a 501(c)(3) non profit organization that collects donated purses and resells them and uses the profits to fulfill our mission statement. We do not have any employees so 100% of the funds raised go towards the ministry of Change Purse.
Q: How did you first get the idea to create Change Purse?
Angela Moran: I heard about sex-trafficking in October of 2006 and knew I needed to do something about it. Being a stay at home mom, I had every excuse in the world to not do something but God was calling my heart to action. The only thing I could think that I had to offer was my love of Jesus and my love of purses so I prayed a wild and crazy prayer that went something like this "Jesus, I love you and I love purses and so if I could use my love of you and my love of purses to change the world, that would be awesome." The ideas just came flooding in after that. I called my best friend and told her I was thinking about selling my purses to fight sex-trafficking. We never expected this to take off like it did, but it has just been amazing! People want to help and Change Purse is just an easy way to do that.
Q: Why purses?
Angela Moran: I have always had a love of purses. I collected them for every occasion and always found myself looking for that "perfect" next purse. I realize now that it was God stirring this in me -- and when you surrender even your "weakness", He makes it perfect!
Q: Why should people care about sex trafficking?
Angela Moran: Because it's somebody's daughter... sister... what if it were your family member? It's so easy for us to think of Sex-Trafficking as a faceless crime, but people who are being sold for sex did not choose this. There are no young girls who want to grow up and sell themselves for sex. It's a crime against vulnerability and we have a responsibility to care for those involved. This includes the men. The saddest part for me is not that women are selling themselves for sex, but rather that people are buying sex. People are not for sale. Sex is not for sale. Sex was created by God to be an intimate union between a husband and wife. It has been distorted by our society and we have lost sight of it's original plan!
Q: How is sex trafficking related to intimate partner violence/domestic violence?
Angela Moran: Sex used to leverage power is the basis of sex-trafficking. The PIMPS sell the victims because they have convinced them that they are owned. The men or women (yes both do it) who purchase sex of the victims (both girls, boys, men and women - no one is excluded) do this to exert power over the victims. Victims of intimate partner / domestic violence are often forced to have sex with their abusive partner despite how they feel, or sex is used to be a "peace making" act in hopes that the victim will forget the abuse. Regardless, it's about power and control. Sex is not about power or control. Sex is a consensual loving act between a husband and wife who want to give themselves fully to the other person out of love and adoration, not fear, control or shame.
Q: How can people get involved in the work that Change Purse is doing?
Angela Moran: There are many ways. Set up a collection site at your church, local business or agency. Once the box is full, sort the purses for the new/like new ones and mail them to us! You can also request a Freedom Kit that will walk you through how you can host your own event. After collecting the purses, you set up a time/place for people to come shop (such as a Women's breakfast, a group of friends, or a monthly event at your social organization). Before the event, you clean out the purses, put price tags on them (which we provide!) and then sell the purses. Send us the money you raise! It's a simple, practical strategy anyone can do to help fight sex-trafficking.
Q: Your full-time job is being a stay-at-home mom. What unique insights does that role offer you in your work to address sex trafficking?
Angela Moran: My #1 job is to raise my boys to know 3 things. 1. They are a child of God and He has a great plan for their lives. 2. They are not for sale, from anyone. No one should offer them money, goods, or services with an expectation that they will do something for them. This is not ok. 3. Women, and their bodies, are to be held in high esteem, respected, loved and cherished. They are not for sale. I always hope that being a stay-at-home Mom doesn't make me less credible, but simply more personable. I'm in this fight with everyone else. I want my children to be safe and for everyone else in my sphere of influcence to be safe too. We encourage people to take a NIMBY stance... Not In My Back Yard. Tell everyone you come in contact with about sex-trafficking. Let them know they are valuable (because if you don't tell them, someone else will... and more than likely their motives are not pure). And tell them they are not for sale. Make sure NO ONE that you know is a victim or buyer of sex-trafficking. We outnumber the bad guys -- together we can make a difference!
Note: You can learn more about the work that Angela is doing through Change Purse in this news story: http://myfox8.com/2012/01/12/inspired-living-change-purse/.