One Dress. One Year. For Freedom.


When I was in high school, and most specifically, when I was 16 years old… not only was I completely unaware that human trafficking and slavery were still an issue, but I doubt I could say that I’d have gone to the lengths that Bethany Winz did on her journey to raise awareness and money toward justice for human trafficking victims.  Even as much as I now abhor the idea that slavery still exists, and that humans can take such an evil stance against other humans, I don’t know that I’d do something as bold as to wear the same dress for an entire year.

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This book was beautiful — it’s fresh, as it’s written by a teenager (a talented one at that) as she walks through what this passion for fighting injustice looks like for her.  She shares her experiences, her emotions (some of them heartbreaking), statistics, shocking facts, and updates on her funding as she goes through her year-long journey wearing one black dress.  She hopes to get people to ask her questions about what she’s doing.  She explains that victims of trafficking don’t get many choices, so she has done what she can to limit some of hers so she can experience even a fraction of what they go through.  Ultimately, she’d like to live in a world where humans are not sold for any reason.

You’ll smile.  You’ll chuckle.  You’ll want to cry (and if you’re not as averse to crying as I am, you just might).  You’ll get angry.  I find I can’t be faced with the reality of human trafficking and slavery and not be furious.  I’ve written about it in this blog in the past, partnered with an organization called Exodus Road.  Check out my categories and look under “Human Trafficking” to find anything I’ve done there.

“When I’m exposed to evil, I want to …. pretend I never saw it in the first place.  The problem is that I did see it.  I know it’s there.  That makes me responsible.  If I don’t face it, then who will?”

It’s easy to assume that someone else will take up the call to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves — but what if no one else does?  Then what?

I loved following along with Bethany on her journey, and I’m glad to read that she had such a supportive network behind her as she embarked on what was likely a difficult year.  It doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but especially for a teenager battling peer pressure, hormones, social pressure, and the like — I’m sure it was very challenging.  High school was hard enough without intentionally trying to make myself stand out.  I can’t imagine.

I think Bob Goff — founder of Restore International, an organization that Bethany worked closely with — was absolutely right when he said:  “You are going to do magnificent things with your life!  It will be fun for all of us to watch!”  I remember thinking not even all through the first chapter that Bethany Winz was going to be a name to watch out for in the fight against human trafficking.  It’s great to know that I’m not the only one who thinks so, and I’ll definitely have my eye on her.

If you can’t stand the injustice in this world, and want to read a real, authentic, and uplifting account of a girl who can’t stand it either, I highly recommend this book.  It’s a quick, easy read, but it will impact your heart at the same time, just like it did Bethany’s.

“The dress is inviting me to change.  It’s inviting me to let Jesus transform me into the person he created me to be.”

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

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