Unchained Fashion Show: Fighting Modern-day Slavery With What’s in our Hands

It’s best to fight with what fits in our hands.  A sling. Stones. For me it’s a pen. A camera. A computer. A voice.

The giants have cast long shadows, over 27 million modern day slaves live in fear, wake up in fear, see fear advancing right into their futures.  Two million women and girls are trafficked into the sex trade yearly and how can I sit by silent while my sisters are imprisoned by the money  and power drunk?

The life expectancy for one of the fragile trafficked? 7 years.  No person lovingly crafted by our Creator are disposable. It’s time to fight.

I am awake and when I sleep, I hear their cries. My eyes no longer close in a comfortable sleepy haze.

So often I have shrunk back when facing giants of injustice and glance around for some other giant killer, a “little s” savior.   I cheer others on but don’t pick up my own stones.  The truth is that we have already been endowed with God-given weapons.

The ultimate giant killer is already in our midst: the God of Angel armies, He just needs someone to trust that the battle is His and start picking up stones.

My sister (more of her story here), Stephanie Catani, and our friend, Felicia Kalan have picked up the stones that were already in their hands: Advocacy and Fashion.  Together, they have formed Unchained Fashion Show, part anti-human trafficking advocacy,  part performance art, part glamorous fashion show.  One after another the dresses tell the story from Innocence to Violation to Rescue and Redemption, describing in generalities the life of a woman that has been trafficked.  We, the viewers, journey with the enslaved women through the script, the models walk in their shoes interceding, and together in one show we witness the power of resurrection.

The 23 dress show was inspired by Stephanie but designed by Korto Momolu of Project Runway Season 5 originally to give hope to Liberian women who had been left destitute by 13 years of a bloody Civil War. No one had been left untouched. Many were raped and then trafficked by men taking advantage of the widows and orphans left in the wake of violence.  The show told the story, one dress at a time, opening a door to healing. Together, Korto and Stephanie put on the show in Liberia. Now, Korto has graciously given the collection to continue to be a source of healing for women.

Thursday night, Unchained and Bethany Woodcock of NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) came together to produce a show in Harrisburg where anti-human trafficking legislation will be coming before the PA state government. I had the privilege of lending my voice, narrating, telling their story, helping to write the script with Andy Kalan. Here’s a short piece of the script uploaded to youtube: Intro to Resurrection.

As my words tangled with their story, love followed.  I find that is often the case. Sometimes when we take steps of obedience, God swells our hearts for those we are called to fight for.

Yesterday I sat in church and glanced around me at the beautiful, free women, the baby girls slung care-free over shoulders and heard His mission once again:

From Isaiah 61: The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God.

It’s time for a bit of vengeance, my friends, for picking up stones and letting them fly in the face of our enemies.  God will guide every effort that’s given to Him.

It’s time to release the image-bearing daughters all over the world using what’s in our hands.

 

It is Stephanie and Felicia from Unchained and Bethany from NIMBY and International Justice Mission that have awakened me…and it is this fashion show that clearly sounds the alarm. You friend, is there a town or church or campus (imagine a whole church or campus of the awake!) that needs this beautiful event?

All photos by Andrea Hoppel

Make-up provided by Maria Teresa Hair and Make-up Artist

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Linking with the lovely Laura Boggess here , Jennifer Ferguson, and counting thanks with Ann Voskamp.

1. The privilege to speak for the silenced

2. A patchwork of color standing watch around the soccer field

3. New friends and the rooting of community

4. Lying beside Xavier after his nightmare, holding his small hand in mine

5. The stories of the models and their redemption

6. God’s gifts of beauty, new dresses, one in orange stripes!

7. Worshipping surrounded by art in Church of the Ascension’s cavernous nave

8. Holding his hand

 

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12 Comments

    1. Kelly, it was beautiful and devastating and fire creating. A spark…check out nimby.me
      It’s located right in your area.

  1. It’s such a big issue, I have no idea where to start. I’m thankful you posted on this, a fashion show is a wonderful way to gain support against female sex slavery. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much for coming by Sis! You are right. The issue is overwhelming and we need all the help we can get to raise up abolitionists.

  2. I think I’m a little bit overcome — my heart just breaks for how this world works, especially when it comes to objectification and sex. But I cling to the hope that we are fighting and we have a very big God on our side.

    1. Jen, your heart for healing and whole was touches me and isn’t this just a physical manifestation of the darkness lurking everywhere? Satan has it out for innocense.

  3. Can we add my name to the credits too?!!! Please?!! 😉
    Make Up by: MariaTeresa- Hair & Make Up Artist
    Thank you. <3

  4. Hi there!
    Can we add my name on the credits please? Under “All photos by Andrea Hoppel”
    Make Up by MariaTeresa- Hair & MakeUp Artist
    Thank you!!!
    Love always!

  5. So inspiring! Tears in my eyes. Thank you for finding and using your “stone,” your voice/your writing, to launch at this dark injustice. Someday I hope to meet your sister who has also found her stones to launch. May God, the Healer, continue to do the healing work! And may we partner with the Healer as we are led!

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