IJM Sex Trafficking legal internship in the Philippines
Organized by: David Ballard
The final update!
June 12, 2016
Hi folks, I am so glad you found my campaign.
I hope that video impacts you as much as it does me. If you stick around for a bit, I'll tell you what I'm up to and what this whole thing is about.
Who am I?
Good question - I'm Dave Ballard. Currently, I have my nose in a textbook as a first-year law student at Notre Dame. Before that I had my nose in a philosophical treatise (fancy word for book) while getting a degree in philosophy.
You won’t always find me in a library. I love adventuring, whether it's hiking in a nearby state park or working at a YMCA ranch in the Colorado Rockies or the braving the Tongariro Crossing (think Mt. Doom) in New Zealand. I am a sucker for soul-deep stories, a lover of good foods in good spaces, and an unapologetic seeker of redemption in its many forms.
Right now I am studying law at Notre Dame, which means many different things depending on your perception of the laws we have or of the leaders who made them. For me, laws are “the rules of the game,” which are as powerful as they are unknown to most people.
That’s why I am interested in human rights law – to understand what rights we have or should have and then to advocate for those deprived of those rights. And it just so happens that Notre Dame is jazzed about that mission too, as they are well known for their program in international human rights.
Why am I asking for your money?
I was just hired by IJM - that's short for International Justice Mission - to work as a legal intern this summer in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines. That’s a lot of information in one breath, so let me dig into what that all means.
First, IJM is a Christian Anti-Slavery legal organization that is best known for rescuing women out of sex trafficking and whole villages from slave labor - read this. IJM focuses on two major issues – bonded labor and sex trafficking.
I was initially impressed by their success (as of July 2015, they’ve rescued 23,000 people from oppressive circumstances) and that impression was confirmed by a visit to their headquarters in January. The organization believes in the power of prayer enough to spend a half hour of individual stillness/reflection and another half hour of corporate prayer every morning. It’s amazing if you consider the literal cost of that hour across 18 international field offices, but also the worth – that hour is a chance to rest, refocus, and celebrate God’s redemptive work.
Second, I will be working in the Manila office, which has been focused on ending a once-prolific sex trafficking industry in the Philippines since 2000 and more recently child exploitation in cybersex trafficking. As an intern, I will be doing research and writing legal documents for the cases that the Filipino legal team are pursuing against brothel owners and corrupt law enforcement. Also, I hope to play a role on the operations team, which works with local police to rescue women out of slavery.
This is an amazing opportunity, however it is also unpaid. I have applied for a $1,000 grant from Notre Dame, which will only partially cover the cost of a plane ticket. The rest of my financial needs for the summer (food, rent, medical) are up to me.
That's why you're here. Either you've been a part of my life for awhile now and we call each other "friend" or you just met me at the top of this page and you're curiosity has been piqued. Whoever you are, I am counting on you to mull over this opportunity and commit it to prayer.
And if that's where you end up, know that I am so grateful for your time and your care.
But if you read my spiel and get the go-ahead to contribute to my internship this summer, I am overjoyed. Let's talk about what's next.
More than money.
This section will be short in word count, but it is without a doubt the most important aspect of this venture - I need your prayers.
The process of raising money, finishing my semester well, and keeping my balance throughout will be a challenge. Please pray that God’s faithfulness shines through the busyness.
Then there’s the whole anti-sex-trafficking component. For good to triumph, the evil must be stamped out. If the exploited are rescued, the exploiters are in danger of losing their grip on a profitable industry. That poses a very real threat to the IJM staff.
Please pray for the safety of the IJM staff in Manila.
Please pray for my emotional well-being as I encounter the victims and their cases.
And please pray for the women who are currently enslaved, the children who are being exploited, and even for a change of heart in the exploiters.
What you get in return.
First, know that you are a part of something pretty sweet. I am so excited about working for an organization that is rescuing women out of sex slavery in southeast Asia, freeing children from brick kilns in India, and reclaiming stolen land for widows in Africa.
Second, I want to give you something because of your generous heart. I am a big fan of coffee and an even bigger fan of the connections it makes. I have been a barista for 4 years running and this past summer I started roasting coffee to drink myself and to share with friends.
In May, I will be traveling to Leogane, Haiti with a group of graduate students for a course called The Common Good Initiative. Although the media has long forgotten Haiti, the challenges of post-earthquake life remain. Our team will be doing a lot of question-asking, listening, and thinking while we connect with medical, educational, and entrepreneurial projects in the community of Leogane.
So, here's my thought - Haiti used to be a huge coffee exporter, but now, not so much. The industry is coming back, however, thanks to the innovations of coffee farm cooperatives and direct trade sourcing.
And my next thought – why not link Haiti and coffee and the Philippines?
So, I want to send you Haitian coffee. I will buy green coffee from a cooperative in Haiti, roast it myself, and toss a bag to everyone who donates $20 or more.
I can certainly ship the coffee to your door if you send me your address, but I would so much rather hand it to you in person. Even more than that, I would love to tell you about this summer while we drink some coffee.
Last thing. If you'd like to hear more, I want to tell you more – let’s grab a cup of coffee. Click the "Contact the Organizer" link on the right and shoot me some dates/times you are free.
Thank you for your time, friends. I am eager to see what God has in mind for this internship and I am trusting in his faithfulness to provide through my community!