Fighting for the freedom of others will inevitably cost you some of your own freedoms.
Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism is pleased to announce a one day anti-human trafficking advocacy and awareness event, “The Cost of Freedom” with human trafficking survivors including Shandra Woworuntu and anti-human trafficking activist Chris Heuertz.
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SEPTEMBER 25, 2015 | PAPILLION, NEBRASKA | LIFEGATE CHURCH (with Ima Matul)
OCTOBER 30, 2014 | GRAYSON, KENTUCKY | KENTUCKY CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY
“The Cost of Freedom” is part of Gravity’s Vōcaré Speaker Series: A Series of Conversations on the Crossroads of Spirituality and Social Engagement. Vōcaré, from the Latin for “to call,” is the root from which the English word “vocation” is derived. The Vōcaré Speakers Series sounds the call for freedom for all people and helps participants clarify their call to make the world a better place.
Originally from Indonesia, Shandra Woworuntu graduated from Perbanas School of Economics majoring in Finance and Banking. Her professional career began as the International Money Market Trader and Manager of the Treasury Department for the Korean Exchange Bank in Jakarta. In 2001 Shandra accepted a job in the United State’s hotel industry. Temporarily leaving her young daughter and husband in Indonesia, Shandra thought she’d be working in Chicago for 6 months with the possibility of full-time placement. However, when she arrived in New York Shandra discovered she had been trafficked into prostitution—illegally sold into the commercial sex industry. For several weeks her traffickers threatened her, abused Shandra, and constantly moved her throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, forcing her to work in hotels, clubs, and even private residences. Miraculously Shandra managed to escape only to find herself homeless on the streets of New York for another month. Finally she received legal assistance and helped the police prosecute her traffickers. Three years later she was reunited with her daughter. Today Shandra tirelessly serves as an advocate for survivors of human trafficking. She works with several organizations including Safe Horizon, Voices of Hope, and the National Survivors Network. Shandra is a frequent speaker at churches, universities, and helps lead a number of governmental initiatives in the fight against human trafficking. She recently published her first book in Indonesia. Shandra currently lives in Elmhurst, New York with her two children. For over 20 years Chris Heuertz has travelled, worked in, and lived in over 70 countries fighting for freedom and justice among some of the world’s poorest people. Chris’ fight against human trafficking began in 1994 when he helped create safe haven and jobs at a children’s home for women escaping India’s commercial sex industry. Since then, he has spent 20 year working alongside organizations in Bolivia, India, Moldova, Romania, and Thailand that establish small businesses and micro-enterprise initiatives as alternative means for women in prostitution. Chris has written extensively on the issue, his articles include projects for the ONE Campaign and have been featured in publications such as the Washington Post. Chris also contributed to the book “Sexually Exploited Children: Working to Protect and Heal” (MARC Publications 1998). In 2003 Chris was selected by the US State Department to participate in a global consultation, the international conference on “Pathbreaking Strategies in the Global Fight Against Sex Trafficking” convened by then Secretary of State Colin Powell. The event, mandated by Congress, worked to underscore the commitment of the US to fighting trafficking in human beings. Chris has also been a featured speaker at numerous anti-human trafficking events including the 2006 Urbana conference, the 2011 and 2012 Passion Conferences, Houghton College’s 2012 Faith and Justice Symposium on Human Trafficking, and InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s 2013 Price of Life Conference. In 2012 Chris co-founded Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism and now resides in Omaha, Nebraska. Chris and Shandra shared with our congregation a message that everyone needs to hear. The horrific statistics and testimonies about Human Trafficking that were shared “took people’s breath away.” The average person was numb and without knowledge about this issue prior to Chris and Shandra sharing. These two people shared the message is such a grace filled manner that every person listening came away with a new perspective on human freedom and trafficking. I must say that every church, organization, school, and university must hear their message. It will definitely change your view of human trafficking and you will want to get involved in some manner. Don’t wait, invite them to speak. —Pastor Connie Bissen, Executive/Outreach Pastor, Lifegate Church, Omaha, Nebraska