After two years of being in the freedom business, the Joyful Project continues in the fight against human trafficking with multiple initiatives.

In the spring of 2016, Andrew Benson founded the Joyful Project. It's a clothing company with a focus on ethically sourced products, putting people over profit, and collaboration with a business named Freeset which offers employment to women trapped in Kolkata India's sex trade.

Benson says that 2018 promises to be busy, and he's hoping to get more people involved with the Joyful Project through the winter and spring.

"We're in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign that we are working on for support to launch new products. We're looking for new designs, we get to work with local artists and designers, and we are having a Concert for Socks coming up."

The Joyful Project is also working on bringing the realities of Canada's own sex trade to light. "We're hosting a documentary viewing. This documentary, Human Trafficking: Canada's Secret Shame was made by a local organization. We are organizing a showing this March with the Joy Smith Foundation that will feature a Q-and-A session and a pop-up shop." 

"The thing I'm most excited about is a short video about hope. We want to talk to as many people as we can about hope. We want different stories and different perspectives. This is something we will be working on over the spring. We are looking for people who want to get involved: to be in the video, to scout locations, to video edit, and to record. We always try to make room for one more."

A newfound initiative with the hashtag #FreedomBusiness is found across the pages of the Joyful Project's website. 

"#FreedomBusiness is the idea that comes from our collaboration with Freeset. Everything that we sell and have is Fair Trade. The women who make our clothes are paid very well, above the living wage. They have health benefits, a safe place to work, and a pension plan. It's high standards of respect and dignity that is given to the workers."

He explained further, "when we sell the clothes that they make, we put that money back into buying more from them, or we put the money into local charities or initiatives."

Benson feels deep pride and accomplishment in his work through the Joyful Project. "It's something that I'm very happy and proud of. It continues to inspire and encourage me. It's also huge accountability. When you say things like that, you gotta live it out. You can't just talk about it. You have to do it. Sometimes, that's very difficult. These Kingdom values keep me grounded.

"One thing I've learned is that listening is important. I've got a story to share, and that's good, but listening is very big to bring us where we need to be."

Benson says that people should be open to dreaming and going through with plans God has for your life.

"Don't be afraid to dream or share your dreams. When we voice those dreams and visions, God puts wings to them somehow."

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