Record Breaking Rower: "We all have the right to freedom"
As a member of Holy Trinity Brompton in London after doing an Alpha Course, Julia lives a prayer dependent life style and is very open about her Christian faith. Her energy for life is infectious. Four of the team including Julia had never rowed before, they trained 6 days a week and each put on a stone of muscle.
"Three years ago, I was at the Hillsong Colours Conference, when Christine Caine from the charity A21. She presented about human trafficking. My jaw was on the floor, I thought, how do I not know about this? 27 million people in slavery! Are you actually kidding me? How do I not know about this? The statistics are alarming and overwhelming, I heard of four year olds servicing 30-40 men a day, the average age of a trafficked victim is just fourteen years old."
Julia’s friend suggested they row across the Atlantic as a positive response to injustice, raising public knowledge and possibly funds to help trafficked victims. Prayer was a key part in Julia’s decision to go ahead with the row.
"I was at our church week away and went for some listening prayer, from two people who didn’t know me. There were two separate words. One lady saw me in a boat with authority over the storms and another lady has a picture of a path of angels clapping across an ocean. I said, “You know, I think God wants me to row the Atlantic!” We all nearly fell off our chairs! That was the confirmation I needed to embark on what became an epic journey, even to get the start line of!"
Nearly a year after the challenge, Julia is spurred on in 2012 to plan a big cycle for freedom.
"It’s going to be approximately 3000 miles long from Ukraine to visit safe houses in Bulgaria and Greece run by the anti-human trafficking charity, A21. The road was symbolic of the transatlantic slave route and is symbolic of modern day slavery for us today. The suburban places are places that traffickers go to."
"The Olympics attract a large proportion of men, and so the demand for prostitution goes up. The Olympic site has 10,000 construction workers, so in the last two years the prostitution in East London has doubled simply because of that. However, the Olympics are more of a family event, so it will be forced begging and petty crime, pick pocketing, that kind of thing, where children are really groomed and primed and being brought in for that. The Government often say there isn’t a problem and there isn’t enough evidence to prove that, but that doesn’t mean this doesn’t go on."
The adventure starts now for Julia. The Cycle for Freedom will be launched on ‘Anti-Slavery Day,’ which is October 18th 2012. There are more details on the A21.org website about how to join cycle or the big finale cycle into Westminster. We have heard stories of people organising concerts for freedom, and skateboards for freedom and all manner of different things. Please use what is in your hand and what you are passionate about to make a difference. All things are possible.