WRITTEN BY: DANA WILLIAMS & MICHELLE TORRES | STAFF WRITERS
PLNU’s Beauty for Ashes is hosting their second annual fundraiser to create scholarships in order for sex trafficking victims to attend PLNU.
Beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday, otherwise known as the liturgical season of Lent, the Center for Justice and Reconciliation is working through the Beauty for Ashes club using mason jars in order to raise money for sex trafficking victims. The mason jars are referred to as Freedom
Jars and used to collect donations that will go directly to the Beauty for Ashes scholarship fund.
“The Freedom Jar Project is a simple way to engage in helping a person who has survived human trafficking come to PLNU to get their education,” supervisor Kim Berry Jones said. “The idea behind it is to take a season- maybe during Lent or really anytime- and give up some- thing- like Starbucks once a week- and then donate that money to the project.”
A recent study funded by the National Institute for Justice and researched by University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazarene University’s Dr. Jamie Gates reveals “Sex trafficking is San Diego’s 2nd largest underground economy after drug trafficking. The underground sex economy represents an estimated $810 million in annual revenue.”
The Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund offered through the Center for Jus- tice and Reconciliation is reserved solely for victims of human trafficking. PLNU freshmen and biology major, Lindsay Gates, said, “ I think the organization brings a lot of awareness to a really hard subject. It’s not easy to talk about human trafficking so I love that Beauty for Ashes provides a lot of support to people who have been victims…”
The informational webpage for the scholarship fund states, “Aside from a deep faith in Christ and a loving Christian congregation to surround them, there may be no more important long- term intervention for the rehabilitation of survivors of human trafficking than the loving, academically challenging and carefully mentored environment of a Christian university education.”
Throughout Lent, the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund is giving PLNU students a unique chance to directly make these scholarships available.
The Freedom Jars take form as ma- son jars that will be provided by the members of the scholarship fund. Interested students can get involved by encouraging peers, hall mates and workers to participate with them. Fundraising doesn’t have to stay secluded to campus either; Berry Jones encourages to pass them on to locals, church groups and more.
A freshman kinesiology major at PLNU, Maddie Dow, said, “It’s scary learning how prominent sex trafficking is in San Diego; however, it is amazing seeing the support and involvement from Beauty for Ashes and Point Loma students. It’s a great feeling knowing that Point Loma’s scholarship can help make a difference and improve survivors’ lives.”
Jake Henry contributed to this report.