What if it was possible to buy beautiful items for yourself and your home and still contribute to the fight against sex-trafficking, and help women bring themselves out of poverty?
That’s the mission of Rahab’s Rope, a relatively new retailer in the St. Simons Pier Village. The nonprofit organization, which was founded 17 years ago in Gainesville, and also has a location in Clarkesville, uses its profits from product sales to fully fund its mission.
“Rahab’s Rope exists to empower women and children in the fight against human trafficking,” said Jennifer Lunsford, director of sales for Rahab’s Rope. “The mission of Rahab’s Rope is to give hope and opportunity to women and girls who are at risk or have been forced into the commercial sex trade of India.”
Through their work, Rahab’s Rope is able to provide a safe and loving environment that will allow these women and girls to grow and develop both physically and spiritually.
“We carry product from 20 different countries,” she said. “It’s important for us to let our customers know where their money goes and how it is used.
“Each product has a story, face and name behind it and each purchase matters.”
With its global marketplace feel, the shop is warm and inviting. The inventory features work from artisans around the world, including the United States, India, Bangladesh, Uganda, and Guatemala, and items carried in the shop consist of handcrafted jewelry, shawls, bags, home décor and some food items.
“About 35 percent of our items are made by the women we work with directly in aftercare (and) prevention or women who are still being trafficked,” Lunsford said. “We also buy from other organizations (and fair trade companies) that help women in India and other parts of the world.”
Rahab’s Rope was founded in 2004 by Lunsford’s mother, Vicki Moore, after Moore learned about the sex trafficking of young girls in India. The plight of the young girls she had learned about coincided with an Old Testament class she was taking in college, where she had just learned the story of Rahab, a Canaanite prostitute. Rahab, helped the Israelites defeat Jericho, and is an ancestor of Jesus. She is the mother of Boaz, and the third-great-grandmother of King David, and used flax (used to make both rope and linen) to hide two Israelite spies. This act delivered her, both physically and spiritually, Lunsford explained.
The cause stirred the entire family into action, she said.
“It was too compelling not do something,” Lunsford said. “My family and our team strive each day to make a difference and eradicate this problem both globally and locally.”
Rahab’s Rope is a 501©(3) nonprofit corporation, and receives donations, but their success lies in their three retail shops – in Gainesville, Clarksville and on St. Simons Island. Lunsford said 65 percent of the organization’s funding comes through product sales. The more product Rahab’s Rope sells, the more work the women and families they serve will have.
“We provide sustainability to families to through job training and job placement, breaking the cycle of poverty,” she said.