A life-changing trip

Some people want to be rich, some want power, some want to be doctors or lawyers, but me: I want to save the world from human trafficking.

My name is Jordan Baker, a 26 year old woman from Perth, Western Australia.

Helping people has always been a passion of mine. Whether it's friends or strangers, I feel good helping others. 

I was 16, sitting in church when I saw a video from a previous mission trip from Cambodia. I saw children from poor rural areas who were struggling and instantly felt the tug on my heart strings to go.

I saved my part time wages and just before I turned 19 I went to Cambodia on a 13 day mission trip. It was an incredible and heart breaking experience. It was a big change from my first overseas trip to New Zealand earlier that year. 

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Together our team traveled to different locations in Cambodia. We went and spoke at different organizations, helped build a house in a slum area and even went to a Cambodian prison to do a hand out of food and hygiene products. To say it was a great trip is an understatement; this trip changed my life! I thought I knew of struggle and poverty, but I had no idea just what some people had to go through.

I saw people fishing through garbage to find plastic and metal to sell for income. I saw so many malnourished people begging for money for food. I saw quite a few amputees struggling down the road. All these things broke my heart, but the thing that broke my heart the most was two words that I would have never put together 'child prostitution'. Even those two words together now give me the chills.

Child prostitution is one of Cambodia's darkest secrets. At the time I was in Cambodia in 2010, children were being rescued from prostitution from as young as 5 years old. Can you believe that? It's absolutely insane! These days, more and more children, as young as 3 are being found in child prostitution. They are sold from people known as traffickers throughout the country and even to different countries. Knowing these facts are hard enough to process, but then I met some of the children who had been in these situations themselves.

To look at a small child and to find out the horrors they endured absolutely destroyed me. I couldn't understand how this was a common problem not just in Cambodia but also around the world.

I came home with a sore heart, but determination to make a change. I couldn't come back to Australia after seeing these atrocities and do nothing. I had to take a stand, I had to make a difference.

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I've spent a lot of time in Cambodia since that first trip. I volunteered teaching English in a HIV/AIDS hospice and orphanage for 6 months. I spent two months organizing programs in a Rescue Centre for highly-vulnerable children and those rescued from child prostitution. I have travelled around Cambodia, looking at the needs of the country and organized food hand-outs to those less fortunate.

In December 2017, I decided I wanted to join with an established organization. I wanted to make a commitment to help an organization that had a plan in place. Whilst researching on google I came across The Freedom Project website. The Freedom Project was exactly the kind of place that I was looking for. Strong in values, a great goal and they were already doing amazing work in the Philippines, India and Myanmar. After some back and forth communication and skype interview I started volunteering with The Freedom Project in January 2018 as an advocate or ambassador. I am excited to work with an established organization who has the same values as me and whose aim is a common goal: to abolish modern day slavery. 

No one should have to live in these conditions. We all deserve to have true Freedom!

Jordan is volunteering with The Freedom Project in Perth. She is doing some fundraising and spreading the word about modern slavery and the work we do by speaking to local schools, churches and other community groups.

If you are interested in being an ambassador for The Freedom Project in your local area, please contact us: info@thefreedomproject.org    

Marissa Smithson