Whose Business Is It? The Why of Business as Mission [Video]

Business as mission is a response to some of the world’s most pressing issues. Humans are exploited and trafficked. Communities are suffering with dire poverty. People around the world have never heard about the love of Jesus. Whose business is this? Why should it be ours?

Business as mission is also a growing movement. It is accelerating around the world! At BAM Global we are passionate about connecting individuals and organizations to help drive this movement forward. The BAM Global Summit is a great time to do this because it’s BAM… on a global scale. Hundreds of people gather for the same purpose: to get more connected and equipped for their own BAM journey.

Want to get a taste of online BAM events?
Want to be inspired for business as mission?
Want to find your ‘Why’?

Watch Annie Dieselberg’s incredible testimony and amazing challenge to us all in her keynote address at the BAM Global Congress in 2021.

 

“Trafficking for human beings is now tied for second place in illegal global crime. It is a global crisis affecting millions in every sphere of society, every gender, every age, every nation, every status. The roots run deep beneath the surface of everyday business. Without realizing it we walk on surfaces paved by exploited laborers,we wear garments made from the sweat of the desperate, we eat from the hands of the bound, we are entertained by the violated and we profit daily in part because somewhere, someone by no will of their own is supplying our wants, needs, and desires.” – Annie Dieselberg

Respond to the challenge… Join us at the BAM Global Summit on Thursday 9th May!

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Long-term Justice: Business Solutions to Human Trafficking

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. Our final post for the series is ‘from the archives’, revisiting this post on what it takes to bring long-term justice and transformation.

By Mats Tunehag

In the 1700’s the slave trade was widely accepted and legal. It was, in fact, a backbone of the economy of the British Empire. It was a big, organized and transnational business.

William Wilberforce and the Clapham group decided to fight this evil trade. They chose to attack the systemic issue – the legality of slave trade and slavery. To that end they organized a decades long campaign focusing on justice, aiming at a root cause. They worked politically to change unjust and ungodly laws that permitted the dehumanizing trade.

They could have chosen an easier route of awareness campaigns and a boycott of sugar from plantations in Jamaica, but they knew such initiatives in themselves would not free the slaves or bring about lasting change. The feel good factor may have been higher, but the long-term outcomes would have been meager.

Charity and Justice

Today the slave trade and slavery are illegal, but not dead. Human trafficking is modern day slavery, and it is a lucrative and evil business. Just like Wilberforce and his colleagues, we need to ask what the systemic issue is today – and we need to go beyond charitable actions to fight for justice.

We visited St. Andrew Catholic Church in Clemson, South Carolina early 2016, and their vision statement struck us:

“Charity” is the generosity that alleviates needs that are immediate. “Justice” is the process by which generosity configures our ways of providing education, delivering health care, doing business, and creating laws that lessen the need for charity. There will always be immediate needs even in the most just of worlds.

Charity is the more attractive generosity. We see immediate results for the better and we enjoy – here and now – the gratification that comes from doing good. Justice is less attractive because it usually calls for personal and communal change, and we are creatures of habit.

We often respond to needs and global issues through non-profit charity models. But the danger is that some may have more of a PR function sprinkled with feel good factors, rather than dealing with systemic issues and root causes.

Wilberforce and the Clapham group were not popular; they worked against an institution – slavery – that was broadly accepted. Today, taking a position against human trafficking is among the easiest things you can do. The world will applaud you! But how can your stand free slaves and restore human dignity? Read more

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.

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The Power of Business to Bring Freedom to the Enslaved

This month we are exploring different motives a missional entrepreneur may have for pursuing business as mission as their strategy of choice. In this third post, we are exploring the power of business to bring economic solutions to human trafficking and freedom to the enslaved. Download the 2022 IMPACT Report from the Freedom Business Alliance below to learn much more.

by Freedom Business Alliance

Ghanaian diplomat and former Secretary-General of the UN Kofi Annan introduced the issue of human trafficking to the UN General Assembly in 2000 with this statement:

I believe the trafficking of persons, particularly women and children, for forced and exploitative labor, especially for sexual exploitation, is one of the most egregious violations of human rights which the United Nations now confronts.¹

Over twenty years later, this egregious violation not only still exists, but has increased. The International Labour Organization estimates that at any given time, 50 million people, predominantly women and girls, are trapped in modern slavery, an increase in 10 million compared to 2016 estimates.²

The Business of Human Trafficking

While awareness of this global crisis has grown in recent years, many still do not recognize the economic aspects of the issue, leaving a complete solution just out of grasp, until now. Freedom Businesses have been launched to address this gap, arising as a groundswell response from entrepreneurs operating in the anti-trafficking ecosystem, all of whom are on mission to create life-giving jobs for survivors of human trafficking and labor exploitation.

Make no mistake: human trafficking is a business. It is estimated that the total profits obtained from the use of forced labour in the private economy worldwide amount to US$150 billion per year. 3 While there are still legal and law enforcement issues to be improved, a major root cause of trafficking is economic vulnerability. Places with high unemployment and under-employment are high-risk areas, where traffickers lure vulnerable people, most of them women and girls. People are making money from the sale of those most economically vulnerable among us. This is business in its most evil form.   Read more

Outland Denim: To God Be the Glory

by Larry Sharp

This month we are featuring stories from Larry Sharp. Larry’s new book ‘Mission Disrupted: From Professional Missionaries to Missionary Professionals’ tells 27 stories and is out now!

On October 18, 2018 Prince Harry and Meghan landed in the outback of Australia as the first stop in their royal visit to that country.  As is always the case, the media surveyed every aspect of the royal’s appearance including the black stove-pipe Hariett jeans the Duchess was wearing. Why those jeans?  Where were they fabricated? How much did they cost?  What was the brand?

As it turned out Meghan was making a statement in support of those fighting human slavery and trafficking.  Her jeans were manufactured by Outland Denim, a BAM company owned by a kingdom minded Australian couple with a factory in Kampong Cham, Cambodia.

As a new board member of the Freedom Business Alliance in 2017 I realized I had much to learn so planned a trip to visit seven freedom businesses in Cambodia.  Outland Denim was one of those businesses.  Later it was a delight to interview one of the founders in preparation for telling the story in the book Missions Disrupted:  From Professional Missionaries to Missional Professionals.

Human trafficking is a lucrative multi-national 150 billion dollar per year illegal industry of exploitation and enslavement; and two-thirds of that total comes from sexual slavery.  Estimates indicate that up to 40 million people are trapped in modern slavery and most are women and children – a crisis of epic proportions.  It is something demanding the involvement of anyone sensitive to the plight of hurting people.

I learned that there are three phases in the efforts to bring change to the lives of those who have been traumatized and now desire to be transformed into successful survivors:  1) rescue, 2) restore; 3) reintegrate.  Most activity for those giving aid is concentrated in the first two phases of rescuing victims and working to restore them.  It is the third phase which is largely ignored – reintegration into the workplace so they can be gainfully employed.  This is where the need is for freedom businesses which provide employment with managers that understand their journey and have a plan for helping them learn a skill and live a post-trauma life. Read more

The A to Z of BAM: F to J – from Freedom to Justice

by Mats Tunehag

F – Freedom

Winston Churchill said: “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.

Today tens of millions of people around the world are held as slaves, they are victims of human trafficking. A root cause to is unemployment. About 80 percent of those who are rescued from trafficking are re-trafficked unless they find a job with dignity at the other end. Thus, jobs with dignity and transformational businesses are essential for true freedom. Freedom businesses exist to fight human trafficking, providing jobs for prevention and restoration. [1]

There is no quick fix to human trafficking. There is no ‘jump to freedom’; we have a long journey ahead. As Nelson Mandela said: “There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere.” This is true for millions of slaves around the world, and also for the freedom business movement. [2]

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Let Freedom Ring! Fighting Slavery with Business Solutions

by Mats Tunehag

Young children sold to sexual slavery. Yes, it was a grim fact of life year after year in a remote village in the Himalayas. Poverty was rampant and there was a lack of jobs. This made families desperate and vulnerable, and traffickers exploited the situation.

Some seasoned BAMers explored how they could change the situation. In communication and collaboration with the villagers they started an adventure tourism company with village home-stays. To make a long story short: this new economic opportunity transformed the village, and its families, for the good. Jobs with dignity were created and no more young children from this village have since been sold into slavery.

This is more than a sweet, and true, story from Nepal. This is an example of a growing number of companies that fight human trafficking through business. They are dealing with root causes to modern day slavery and they are tackling the systemic issues underpinning today’s evil – and highly profitable – slavery business.

Learning from History

In the 1700’s the slave trade was widely accepted and legal. It was, in fact, a backbone of the economy of the British Empire. It was a big, organised and transnational business.

William Wilberforce and the Clapham group decided to fight this evil trade. They chose to attack the systemic issue – the legality of the slave trade and slavery. To that end they organised a decades long campaign focusing on justice, aiming at a root cause. They worked politically to change unjust and ungodly laws that permitted that dehumanising trade.  Read more

Story: Giving a Choice to Trafficked Women through Business

By Guest Author

I am an accidental entrepreneur. I did not originally go about seeking to use business as the tool for transformation. My only goal or tentative hope was to find a way for women in India’s growing sex trade to a way to find freedom in whatever way possible.

I first entered one of the largest red light districts in India in 2002 and after making first contact with the girls and women in the red light area, I spent a lot of time listening, waiting, and waiting and WAITING. For far too long, I felt powerless to make any actual impact.

I began to care deeply about the women I met in red light area.

I met Rupa and Jiya and listened to their stories, saw through their hard eyes to broken hearts and broken dreams, saw that they were moms and sisters and daughters. I saw and I heard that there were no options for them once they had found themselves in the sex trade through trafficking and trickery. They had aged out of rescue and now they were culturally marginalized as spoiled women, social outcasts and often the primary breadwinners for multigenerational families.

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Business Solutions to Human Trafficking

By Mats Tunehag, with input from Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag

In the 1700’s the slave trade was widely accepted and legal. It was, in fact, a backbone of the economy of the British Empire. It was a big, organized and transnational business.

William Wilberforce and the Clapham group decided to fight this evil trade. They chose to attack the systemic issue – the legality of slave trade and slavery. To that end they organized a decades long campaign focusing on justice, aiming at a root cause. They worked politically to change unjust and ungodly laws that permitted the dehumanizing trade.

They could have chosen an easier route of awareness campaigns and a boycott of sugar from plantations in Jamaica, but they knew such initiatives in themselves would not free the slaves or bring about lasting change. The feel good factor may have been higher, but the long-term outcomes would have been meager.

Charity and justice

Today the slave trade and slavery are illegal, but not dead. Human trafficking is modern day slavery, and it is a lucrative and evil business. Just like Wilberforce and his colleagues, we need to ask what the systemic issue is today – and we need to go beyond charitable actions to fight for justice.

Read more

Freedom Through Business: Hold Fast to Your Dream

by Mats Tunehag

My wife and I spent a couple of weeks in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos in August. The focus was freedom! Freedom from slavery and injustice, and freedom to live in truth, enjoy beauty, create wealth and share goodness. This is the story of freedom business.

We know that jobs with dignity are a primary need for prevention of human trafficking. It is also a must to bring restoration of survivors of modern day slavery.

That’s why freedom businesses exist, and the Freedom Business Alliance exists to help freedom businesses succeed.

To that end the Freedom Business Forum was held in Chiang Mai, Thailand in late August. It was the first global gathering of its kind, and about 140 people from all continents participated. It was a great mix of people and talents, all committed to true freedom through business, with all their hearts and minds.

Freedom business is hard, but necessary. And some are called to it, and as Pope Francis says: “Business is a noble vocation, directed to producing wealth and improving the world.  It can be a fruitful source of prosperity for the area in which it operates, especially if it sees the creation of jobs as an essential part of its service to the common good.” 

The concluding keynote address at the Forum was held by one of my heroines, Annie Dieselberg. She runs a freedom business in Bangkok. Her calling is clear and her commitment exemplary. Her challenging freedom business journey is reflected in a most inspirational speech. Here’s Annie:

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