Bathing Beauteas empowers high-impact women to be their best. Our products are inspired by stories of women in history. We can’t meet them over a cup of tea, so we met up with modern-day community leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators whose lives are stories worth making history.
Impact: Anti-Sex Trafficking Nonprofit Founder
Cultural Identity: Caucasian with Scottish and Lithuanian heritage
This is his story:
We first heard about Raleigh’s incredible work and vision at the launch event of his nonprofit. It wasn’t until running into him at the launch event of another nonprofit that we got personally acquainted with him. (Figures that we would meet over mutual support for individuals starting something to make social impact!)
Raleigh founded Let My People Go, a nonprofit that empowers the local church to fight human trafficking by loving those most vulnerable. They help individual churches target the very people that traffickers target. This is accomplished with an innovative framework that emphasizes a congregational approach, leading to a collaborative strategy that has the Gospel of Jesus Christ as its motivation. You can check out his website HERE and Let My People Go HERE.
How did you realize that you had a part to play in empowering vulnerable women?
RS: At a conference, I learned how I unconsciously created a demand for exploitation in my daily life. Whether it’s in the food I eat, the television I watch, or the clothing I wear, my life intersected with vulnerable people. When we see a label on a shirt, we don’t think that someone could’ve been exploited in the making of it. I repented for not recognizing that merely by living (and without a high degree of consciousness), I was perpetuating exploitation of other human beings. I repented and then realized I was supposed to do something.
What amazed me about Let My People Go is your focus on local impact. Why is your work vital to empowering women?
RS: Statistics show that of those trafficked worldwide, whether for sex, domestic servitude, or labor: 80% are women, 50% are children. In every culture, women are exploited. This also comes with cultural baggage from each culture. Objectification becomes commoditization becomes exploitation. If the church could identify those in their community who are vulnerable, then they can be a family to them, love them, serve them, value them, showcase the dignity that they have as being made in the image of God.
By not reinventing the wheel, LMPG is really doing something new. How did you come up with your vision and model?
RS: When I first came to NYC in 2010, there were all these human trafficking conferences that revealed the existence of human trafficking. It seemed like everyone was focused on spreading awareness! However, I found myself frustrated because awareness should be more. It is just as much about recognizing as about responding. I asked God to show me how the church can respond to human trafficking. It’s clear that God identifies with those most vulnerable, not just with kings and rulers. Jesus spent most of his time with the sinners and those seen as perpetrators. I realized there is no organization that is instructing churches and also continually walking with them in fighting sex trafficking. I built Let My People Go as a resource that says “if you hit a snag, don’t quit. Call us, and we’ll help you, walk with you, pray for you.” We’re here to keep them mobilized.
What would you say to those who feel burnt out or overwhelmed by social issues like sex trafficking?
RS: As someone who has experienced the burn out, I would say that you’ve lost the focus. Sex trafficking is a $150 billion industry, trapping 45 million people in the world. The statistics are magnanimously overwhelming. But when you look at individual stories, it changes everything. Jesus never said “we are going to solve the problem of leprosy, homelessness, etc”. His model is vulnerable individuals addressing vulnerable individuals. A man once asked Mother Teresa, “Where do you start to impact global poverty?” She responded, “You start with the thing in front of you. I saw the face of Jesus in the face of the poor. And that’s where I began.” In the same way, Let My People Go implements a localized church model, because we want to see others see vulnerable people in their local context until it impacts them.
At Bathing Beauteas, we’re inspired by both men and women who actively empower women. Any words for how you think we can get more men involved?
RS: That’s the million dollar question! The truth is we see more women involved in compassion ministries. The only way to get men involved is to think outside of “getting them into it”. Instead, it’s to recognize that they’re serving in other ways. This issue of injustice impacts them on a daily basis even if they don’t know, and it’s entirely masculine to care for messy people. I think it’s important to help them realize that they create a demand of exploitation, even bringing an awareness that pornography is digital exploitation on a screen. The truth is we have to help both men and women realize their daily unconscious actions perpetuate exploitation; whether it’s the shrimp on our dishes, or the rubber in our tires, or the Egyptian cotton in our clothes. It’s important not to guilt-trip men, but to ask them to stand and to encourage other men to be involved.