Anna Kim is a mother of two young boys and a lawyer working at IRS. She has played a key role in pioneering JVI’s Shop For Freedom campaign and other initiatives.
What does JVI mean to you?
JVI is my community, where I can journey with women across the world; I can stand along with other advocates and volunteers around the world, and together we stand in the gap for women and their families, to be their voice, to tell their stories, and to help build a community that loves and supports women who have been exploited all their lives.
Why did you choose to get involved?
I had heard about Freeset through JVI, when I agreed to host a home sale to sell freeset products as a volunteer several years ago. I loved the idea that I could do something here, like hosting a party with my good friends and do something for women who were trapped in the sex trade. As a woman and a mother, it’s hard to turn away from an opportunity to help women and girls in such desperate situations.
I got more involved when I visited Freeset in 2009 as part of a volunteer crew of a U.S. based international human rights organization — called Justice Ventures International — which uses legal intervention and case work to end modern slavery, while equipping and training local leaders and community organizations. For about a week, we spent time just getting to know what Freeset is all about. I had a chance to get to know some of the ladies who are now part of Freeset — women who were stolen when they were just young girls. I heard their stories and saw the pain in their eyes, and connected with their past pain as well as their new found freedom, hope and joy. I also had a chance to help with some construction work to rehabilitate an old building that Freeset had purchased to expand its operations in a red light district in Kolkata India; there were about 30 other volunteers from other parts of the world. It was exciting to be part of a group of people coming together from all over the world, to work for something bigger than ourselves.
What else would you like readers to know about human trafficking?
That behind the statistics of human trafficking are real suffering and real lives; theirs are the stories of pain, tears, fear and shame. The shocking stories you hear — about little girls being trapped in brothels and being raped — they are real and its happening as we speak. We all have a responsibility to do something. I believe it diminishes our humanity to know that it’s happening and not do anything. One person can’t do everything, but one person can absolutely make an impact.
What exactly is your title/position/association with Freeset?
In addition to my “day job” as an attorney, I serve as the VP of Freeset USA (as a volunteer), a U.S. based non-profit (tax exempt application pending) dedicated to assisting and promoting Freeset and similar organizations providing economic empowerment to free women from the sex trade and human trafficking. I also volunteer with Justice Ventures International (which partners with Freeset) to distribute Freeset products in my local area and develop partnerships with local churches, community and women’s organizations and businesses.