Naomi Holland is the founder of Redeemed with Purpose, an online jewellery company that raises funds for IJM and different charities that fight against the sex trade.
Naomi has been fighting this battle for almost 20 years. She travelled overseas to research more about the crime of sex trafficking, visiting red light districts and brothels, and one day stumbled upon an IJM office. A fieldworker took her through neighbourhoods where the child sex tourism industry was rampant. She started to see evidence of the sex trade everywhere—this was not just a faraway news headline: all around her, there were real children being held in slavery, little children who were being routinely abused.
While Naomi was wondering if there was a way to end this evil, she met a tough, stern Nepali woman who asked Naomi “to do something” about this issue. This was Naomi’s call to begin a journey of working towards a solution to the global issue of human trafficking.
Since then, she has worked and volunteered extensively as an advocate and fundraiser speaking on behalf of all the victims and survivors of this crime.
Naomi went on to work in Nepal where she helped set up projects and social enterprises. After successful entrepreneurship with knitting, she tried her hand at jewellery making—with no prior experience whatsoever! But that was the start of a new platform God gave her. Not only has she continued to innovate and create jewelry since then, but Naomi has also used this online business as a space to talk about human trafficking.
The impact COVID-19 has had on the sex trafficking industry has not gone unnoticed by Naomi. She said she saw a 300% increase in reports of online sexual exploitation of children during the pandemic: “As a mother, it makes my blood absolutely boil. And the fact that these abusers cannot travel, but they have now found another way to abuse these children, pulling somebody else in to do their abuse for them—it's just unacceptable.”
Naomi boldly continued: “These predators, they thrive in secrecy, darkness and anonymity. And we just can't let them get away with that. Because it's such an uncomfortable topic, nobody wants to really recognize what's happening. But that is exactly what the abusers want, and I just refuse to not talk about what's happening. These kids are at risk, and they need us to be acting on their behalf and speaking out for them,” she said.
Naomi’s call is one to awaken those who are unaware of the ways these crimes are able to thrive. She believes if we get close to God and seek to find out what his response is to injustice in this world, that it would show us where we are contributing to somebody else’s oppression or enslavement. It could be a pornography addiction, online shopping for fast fashion—which enslaves so many people in the fashion industry—or purchases from certain chocolate or coffee producers. All of these industries have links to modern-day slavery.
Naomi’s hope is that, ultimately, there would be no sex trade to fight. But until that happens, her hope is that God would use her. Naomi’s goal is to educate consumers, so they understand their choices have power and that they need to be thinking about where they are spending their money. In this fight, there is a role for everybody to play.