About ten years ago, Abby Mortenson read a book by Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission, and became aware of the issue of modern day slavery and human trafficking. She was shocked and brokenhearted by what she learned and decided to get involved. Abby has spent the last ten years dedicating herself to the important work of anti-trafficking organizations. She eventually received an opportunity from Free The Girls, where she now works as the Creative Director.
Abby’s deepest passion is to see people healed and flourishing in their lives. In addition to being a Creative Director, Abby teaches yoga and provides a foster home to kids in need. Abby and her husband decided to foster after a long journey of trying to adopt. They both wanted to provide refuge and care for kids who needed a safe place. Abby added, “We both feel strongly that God calls us to give ourselves on behalf of those who need it most.” They dove into the challenge, taking on four boys over a period of nine months and most recently, a sibling group of three children. While being foster parents has been challenging for the couple, it has taught them both a lot about love, patience, trust, and grace. Working for Free The Girls, teaching yoga, and fostering children have all helped Abby to fulfill her desire and purpose of helping people find healing and hope.
We asked Abby to tell us more about her experience working with Free The Girls.
"I love that Free The Girls is able to inspire and give opportunities for anyone to make a difference in the lives of human trafficking survivors. Gaining freedom from trafficking is just the beginning. Free The Girls brings to light that freedom needs to be more than just freedom from a trafficker.
Once a person is able to get out of an exploitative situation, their journey is just beginning. Unfortunately, the trauma and stress of living under oppression and trafficking takes a toll. It can be hard to find healing and a new way to survive. Making a living in many of these countries can be a challenge, especially with their difficult life experiences.”
Through their programs, Free The Girls provides trafficking survivors an opportunity to create a safe and sustainable income - one that can bring stability and hope for a future.
“As a woman living in a place where I can be free to dream and create and live, I feel so inspired to make sure others get to experience the beauty of that type of freedom.”
Currently, Somebody’s Mama is partnering with Free The Girls to support eight women through their “Inheritance Project," which provides grants to women in the program who have raised $500 themselves through their bra selling businesses. Once a woman raises her portion, Free The Girls grants a double match of $1,000.
With this money, the woman can choose to buy land, build a house, or begin a university education. Abby explained:
“Many of the women who’ve been through our program were never able to dream before. When they were living in exploitation and oppressive situations, their main goal was survival. They couldn't think about what they’d love to do as a career or how they’d love to see their children thrive. After going through the Free the Girls program and experiencing success with their own businesses, they can start to dream again.”
Thank you, Abby, and the team at Free the Girls for the amazing work you do!