Alumni dedicated to fighting slavery

While reading the statistics associated with human trafficking, many people find themselves easily overwhelmed with the enormity of the issue. And with millions being affected around the world, it may even seem like too large a problem to solve.

But for some UMHB alumni, the tragedy is something they cannot ignore. Through different methods, organizations and circumstances, they have worked to educate, bring awareness and fight the injustice of modern day slavery in whatever ways they can.

After graduating in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in music, alumna Charlotte Bumbulis began a career in education. But within the fifth year in the field, she started to struggle with her vocational and spiritual identity.

“I enjoyed teaching, and I knew I was good at it, but I felt like there was a lot more to the world that I was missing out on,” she said.

In the midst of this soul searching, Bumbulis attended First Baptist Austin’s first global market event to support fair trade, which seeks to buy and sell goods within a system that honors those who produce them.

“I think it was very much a divine, active thing that was going on,” she said.

While there, Bumbulis specifically remembers being struck by a particular patchwork bag she came across.

“I remember thinking, ‘This is a beautiful picture of restoration. This is a bag that’s made out of what’s normally seen as scraps and trash and useless products, and now it’s woven together to be something beautiful and reused and restored,’” she said. “That was very powerful in my life.”

Bumbulis soon decided to leave her teaching job, while at the same time, the director of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission was looking for someone to begin a fair trade initiative targeting Baptist churches in Texas.

She said, “Those things were happening simultaneously. I feel like that was very much God moving in my life.”

From there, Bumbulis spent the next two years developing what is now the Good News Goods program, a ministry that seeks to promote ethical consumerism through fair trade opportunities.

She also did a lot of speaking and traveling with churches to educate others about the realities behind what they purchase due to human trafficking and forced labor.

“There’s a price tag,” Bumbulis said. “We see the price that we’re paying, but there’s a much deeper price that someone else is paying on our behalf.”

It was after a screening of a documentary on human trafficking that former UMHB alumna Kathlee Roscoe began to have a heart for the issue.

“I couldn’t wrap my mind around the fact that this horrible evil was happening all around the world and in our backyard,” she said.

Like Bumbulis, Roscoe soon left her job, but still wanted to use her education and background in mass communication to help fight the injustice.

“I was called out of corporate America, feeling like I wanted to use that skill set and my background in media for God. I just didn’t know what that looked like,” she said.

Roscoe did know, however, that sexual slavery was what she felt most compelled to be a part of ending.

“When somebody is raped repeatedly on a daily basis, there’s a damage that’s done that is irreparable without Jesus Christ,” Roscoe said. “For me, that’s where I felt specifically called. It’s the evilest of evil. I can’t wrap my mind around anything more evil than that.”

A month after graduating from a program for Christians in the media and entertainment industry, Roscoe found herself at a church service in Los Angeles where the topic of sex trafficking was being discussed.

She knew it was time for her to act on the call she’d been sensing, so along with two other friends, Roscoe traveled the world documenting what was going on.

“I wasn’t sure what God was doing, I was just taking that initial step of faith because He called me,” she said.

Upon arriving back in the U.S., Roscoe came to Belton to speak at the university and ended up crossing paths with founder of Hope for the Hungry Dan Kirkley.

In conjunction with Kirkley and his ministry, Roscoe created Hope for the Sex Trafficked, a non-profit organization seeking to raise awareness, educate the masses and eliminate the problem with the use of media.

“We basically have a heart to create awareness through every means possible,” she said. “Right now that looks like film. It looks like YouTube videos, Facebook and Twitter.”

Roscoe’s fellow UMHB graduate and Kirkley’s daughter Christan Hammonds has also become involved with educating and raising awareness about human trafficking.

While reading a book called Holy Discontent, Hammonds asked herself what the one thing was in the world that she just could not be OK with.

“Trafficking has just always been that thing for me,” she said.

It’s something she has become passionate about, in part, because of her relationship with Roscoe and her organization, and says that whenever she begins to let it slip from the forefront of her mind, God reminds her again.

“It’s probably been a two-year journey of the Lord just bringing it to me,” she said.

Last year, Hammonds helped organize UMHB’s annual Cru for a Cause 5K, which helped benefit the cause of human trafficking.

“I spent the year really trying to learn more before the race, and we were geared up to educate people at the race,” she said.

While some may not know how they can contribute to the cause, Bumbulis said it is something that expands into many fields.

“It’s an every person’s issue. It doesn’t matter what you major in.”

 

Author: JC Jones

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