The Heart of Justice
Here at The Freedom Project, we are all about upholding justice for some of the world’s most oppressed: modern-day slaves and trafficked persons. There are many ways to explain, politicise, describe and uphold justice… However in the midst of these discussions, policies, plans and projects, the real question needs to be what is justice and why does it matter?
I recently had a thought-provoking discussion with a friend around the strengths and weaknesses of our modern Western “justice system”. We wrestled with the issues of innocence, guilt, evidence (or lack thereof), and prosecution. I am by no means a legal expert, but I am thankful to be educated well enough to understand the basic of our justice system. At the core is the basic rights of each individual not only in their everyday lives, but also in a situation of criminal or civil allegations.
It got me thinking - what is justice? What is freedom? What are we fighting for? To what plumb line are we measuring?
For me personally, and for us organisationally, it is not enough to just wish for some vague sense of justice for all. We need to understand what justice actually looks like in practice and why it is important to uphold.
How do we define justice?
The dictionary defines justice as what is morally fair or right. It is living in a way that is fair to others (ie. not oppressing or taking advantage of others) and that is right for that person (ie. they are not being oppressed or being taken advantage of).
For The Freedom Project this means that we want to use our resources, time, connections and expertise to serve those who are at risk of suffering injustice, or are already victims of injustice. It means we want to work hard to prevent instances of trafficking and slavery by working together with the community, government and business to address issues of exploitation. It also means, where possible, we want to rescue victims in that situation and providing appropriate after-care to help them heal from their trauma. We want to see justice upheld and justice restored to all those communities we have the opportunity to work with.
What does justice look like?
Justice means that people are living with their rights in place and their needs met.
In India, the young boys that we work with in our Sports & Mentoring program are denied the freedoms to pursue their dreams of education and safe work. Partly its due to poverty, lack of education and the high incidence of child labour and exploitation in their context. For justice to be upheld, these boys should have loving families, be able to graduate high school, play safely, pursue jobs that are safe and secure. So that is what we are working to achieve. Through our program and commitment to investing in the students, we are helping to empower them to make wise choices for their future. We are opening up possibilities to them that may not otherwise be possible. We are helping them seek the justice they deserve for a life of freedom and the right to education, work and a flourishing life. It may not be an easy journey for many of them, but it is worth the investment.
Similarly, the trafficking victims we look after in our safe house have experienced a huge miscarriage of justice. They have literally have their freedom stripped away from them and have been exploited through a series of unfortunate events. After having been rescued and finally having the opportunity to find freedom, these women remain vulnerable and distressed. By investing in their holistic care and making a way for them to heal, we are able to help them find justice and freedom. Even if we can’t always prosecute their perpetrators we can still walk alongside them in the journey. We can empower them to make wise choices and fight for their rights in the future. For them, finding justice is about recreating a life of independence, safety and freedom.
Join us in the pursuit of justice
But how do we achieve this? It is only possible through your support so that we can continue our work. Our projects are reaching hundreds of people every day and we need to continue funding and growing our work. One of the most practical things you can do to help us continuing doing justice is to support us financially. By giving one-off or monthly you will be helping us keep us this life-changing work.
“Do not deprive the foreigner or the fatherless of justice, or take the cloak of the widow as a pledge.” Deuteronomy 24:17