Ephraim woman commits to fight human slavery
Trip to Cambodia opens Ashley Thompson’s eyes to injustices
EPHRAIM—As a result of experiences on a mission trip to Cambodia, an Ephraim woman has committed herself to helping right injustices such as human slavery.
Ashley Thompson, 29, a member of the Ephraim Church of the Bible and Solid Rock Ministries, traveled to Cambodia for two weeks in 2015 with the church she then attended, Hydesville Community Church in California. The focus of the trip was helping victims of sex trafficking.
“While I was there I saw girls as young as 10 to 12 years old being prostituted to adult white men,” Thompson said. “My eyes were opened wide to the hardship and the horrendous things that are happening with the children and women over there.
“I had to pray a lot to get my heart right over it all, and for these girls. When I came back to the U.S., I didn’t want to let that trip go to waste. I didn’t want to go back to my regular life.”
After coming home, she moved to Ephraim, where she met and married Travis Thompson, son of Chip Thompson, director of the Solid Rock Ministries.
Ashley Thompson said a friend told her about the End It Movement, which she said is one of the leading coalitions in the fight against slavery around the world.
“They help with awareness, prevention and rescuing victims of slavery of all kinds,” she said, “with a strong focus on human and sex trafficking, but many kinds of injustices.”
She began researching what was being done stateside to combat the myriad of injustices she encountered face to face on her trip to Cambodia. She learned the same things were happening in other countries— including her own.
Thompson found several organizations that she felt were doing God’s work to fight injustices such as human slavery, sex trafficking, child slavery, domestic violence and others.
Two of the main groups were the End It Movement and an organization called A21 Ministries. Another group, called Threads for Hope, was helping prevent impoverished people in other countries from having to sell their children into slavery by giving them the option of weaving bracelets, which are sold, with a portion of the proceeds going back to the families.
After doing her research, Thompson was set on getting more involved. Last year, she held an End It Movement awareness event in the Solid Rock Cafe to help educate Snow College students and Ephraim residents on what was going on.
This year, Thompson took her effort to another level. She held an End It Movement Awareness Month in conjunction with Solid Rock. She created a social media group and, on a daily basis, posted information about slavery and the fight to end it and other injustices. She also showed injustice awareness videos at Solid Rock and made a presentation at the Ephraim Church of the Bible.
Thompson also partnered with the Threads for Hope organization and sold the bracelets through Solid Rock. Even though the bracelets only cost a couple of dollars each, more than $800 worth were sold, with proceeds going to help families who might otherwise have to sell their children into slavery.
During End It Movement Awareness Month, Thompson said supporters of her drive painted the End It logo, a red X, on the back of their hands, to encourage conversation about human slavery.
On Feb. 23, as the culmination of the End it Movement Awareness Month, Thompson gave an educational presentation at the Solid Rock on human slavery and sex trafficking and how to get involved in stopping them.
Next year, Thompson said she plans on arranging for a guest speaker to make a presentation on Feb. 23, End It Movement Awareness Day for 2018.
Information on the End it Movement can be found at enditmovement.com. A21 Ministries can be found at a21.org. Threads of Hope can be found at threadsofhopetextiles.org.
“Going on that mission trip changed my heart and my outlook,” Thompson said. “It made me realize this stuff is real and going on everywhere. Coming from a Christian perspective, we want to make it known that we’re not just mad, but that there are lost people out there who need prayer and to be lifted up out of their suffering.
“I know that one person can make a difference, but many more will make an even bigger difference. My biggest hope for this all was creating awareness and finding some hope for these people. It was an opportunity to stand up for my convictions.”