Beacons of Hope: Economic Justice through Freedom Business

In our series this month “Exploring BAM as Justice: Choosing Hope in the Face of Challenge” we’re taking a deep dive into the intersection of faith, business, and complex global realities. We’ll be looking at business as mission’s impact on poverty and justice issues across the globe.  In our third post in the series, Karen Schmidt introduces us to economic justice through Freedom Business.

By Karen Schmidt

Human trafficking remains a pervasive global issue. According to the most recent statistics from the International Labor Organization (ILO), an estimated 49.6 million people are living in modern slavery. This number underscores the magnitude of the problem and the urgent need for comprehensive solutions.

Individuals often enter the cycle of exploitation due to economic vulnerabilities. Poverty, lack of educational opportunities, and limited job prospects make them susceptible to traffickers’ promises of a better life.

In the pursuit to combat human trafficking, the synergy between economic justice and Freedom Business emerges as a beacon of hope.

Committed to the creation of a healing-centered workplace, fair pay, good working conditions, and transparency & accountability, members of the Freedom Business Alliance (FBA) provide jobs that break the cycle of vulnerability. Through access to financial resources, job training, and sustainable employment, survivors are able to meet their basic needs, support themselves and their families, and reduce the risk factors that make them vulnerable to exploitation.


Through the years I have seen: When you empower a woman, she invests in her family, prioritizing education and the health of her children. When you empower multiple women from the same community, they invest not only in their families but in the community where they live. Transformation happens in their homes and also in their neighborhood. The community where most of our employees live is transforming. It looks different than it did seven years ago, with gardens and colourful walls. And it feels different. Our employees are leading the way in creating a community where hope lives.” – FBA Member


Economic empowerment also plays a vital role in the social reintegration of survivors. Many survivors face significant stigma and barriers to community acceptance upon exiting trafficking situations.

But employment in a Freedom Business fosters acceptance, inclusion, and restores dignity.


I am liberated from the trade, so I want all women trapped in the brothels to be liberated as well. I used to be afraid of people but now I am afraid of no one. All women should have the opportunity to do fine work, to live with dignity and respect, and be able to realize their own value.” – FBA Member Employee


By equipping survivors with skills and economic opportunities, we enable them to demonstrate their potential, challenge stereotypes, and contribute positively to their communities.

Freedom Business creates hope that together we can build a world where every human has the opportunity to live in freedom.


Find out more at the Freedom Business Alliance – working to end human trafficking by addressing its economic roots

Karen Schmidt is the Executive Director of the Freedom Business Alliance, where she uses the experience she has gained over her career in nonprofit leadership, communications and economic justice to lead the Freedom Business movement. 




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Photo by Evgeni Tcherkasski on Unsplash