First person: Freedom fighter

Slavery didn’t happen in any place where Josie Carignan lived, but she couldn’t tolerate the idea it was going on anywhere. As a counter measure, she started Rescue Her while she was in Clovis for four-plus years, and continues to run it from her new home in Dallas.

Time in Clovis: I came to Clovis in 2006 with my husband and three kids. We came to work at Faith Christian Family Church. Prior to moving to Clovis I has never been to New Mexico. It is definitely an amazing state! I have loved getting to know the area and the people of Clovis, they are so warm and kind. Definitely an all-American, small-town, family friendly, wonderful place to live.

What is Rescue Her: It is an organization that helps raise awareness and funds to fight human trafficking, which is really nothing but a modern term for slavery. There is an estimated 27 million slaves in the world today. I believe our generation needs to take ownership of what is happening in the world around us and do something to stop this tragedy.

I had a heart and desire to do something to help young girls trapped in slavery, but I wasn’t sure how to do that in Clovis. I didn’t have the funds to travel to India or Cambodia (two hot spots for slavery) and help in person, so I felt frustrated. Whenever I would share with friends or people in the community about my desire to do something to help this situation, I realized how many others felt the same way.

But they didn’t have a tangible way to help. I think there are many people just like me in places like Clovis, a little out of the beaten path so to speak, wondering how in the world they can make a difference or have an impact on the problems in our world. So I decided to start Rescue Her as a venue for people who want to help; a way to make a difference.

Seed planted: The growth and accomplishments of Rescue Her have definitely exceeded my expectations. A lot has been accomplished in a short amount of time and I am so grateful to all those who have rallied to help our cause. Rescue Her has been in existence less than a year and we are already making a difference. We are now supporting two homes for girls that have been rescued from slavery, one in India and one in Cambodia, and we were able to donate substantial amounts of money to them during 2010.

We launched our website, rescueher.org, which has information about trafficking, a web store with all of our products, as well as free resources for people who want to raise awareness.

Challenges: I would say that most people, when confronted with the realities of what goes on want to help. They are horrified at the stories and they want to do something. So they may write a check, or buy a T-shirt. But then they forget, because it’s not right in front of them. It’s not happening in their backyard. So they don’t continue to take a stand. It’s out of sight, out of mind. They did something one time, and so they feel better about it. But if slavery is really going to come to an end, we need to be tenacious in our fight against it.

— Compiled by CNJ staff writer Kevin Wilson