Typically, the coffee artisans at the
Seattle-based Storyville Coffee Company have one thing on their
collective mind - helping people to brew the perfect cup of coffee at
home. It's an obsession that borders on fanaticism.
But recently, Storyville made the
radical decision to give away everything earned during the month of
May - not just profits, but every penny from every sale - to
International Justice Mission (IJM), a human rights agency that
rescues victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of
oppression. Every purchase was effectively a donation to IJM.
The results? During the "Give It
All Away in May" campaign, Storyville raised enough money for
IJM - which currently operates in 12 countries in Asia, Africa and
Latin America - to expand its work into Ecuador.
The International Labor Organization
estimates that thousands of minors in Ecuador are being exploited in
prostitution. Ecuadorian children are also being trafficked to
Western Europe, particularly Spain and Italy, and to other countries
in Latin America. In partnership with a local human rights agency,
Paz y Esperanza, IJM will fight for these young victims.
"It's an honor for us to be a part
of this great endeavor, making justice a reality for those who
desperately need advocates," says Storyville Co-President Chad
Experts claim there are more slaves in
the world today than at any other time in human history. The United
Nations estimates that as many as 27 million people are held in
slavery, including nearly 2 million children who are exploited in the
global commercial sex trade each year.
"We're excited about the
difference a six-figure contribution will make in Ecuador, but we're
still aware of the magnitude of the problem - a $32 billion dollar
human trafficking industry. We want to do more. We will do more,"
During their May campaign, Storyville
also redefined the term "Coffee House" with a series of 17
private concerts held in people's homes across the U.S. to help raise
support and awareness for IJM and its fight against human
exploitation. More concerts are being planned for the future to
IJM's Pamela Livingston concludes, "We are so thankful for Storyville Coffee and their partnership in the fight for justice. This radical model of philanthropy is an inspiration to the IJM staff and our supporters."