Dec 31, 2012
by April Hedrick

Final Thoughts

The end of 2012 brings with it the end of Hope Marketplace as we know it. You’ll find the online store is no longer there as our merchandise was recently donated to an organization serving abused women here in Phoenix. It is with heavy hearts that we close the doors and yet it is clear it was the right decision.

Jon & Melissa Sanborn and Rob & April Hedrick (author) started Hope Jewelry in 2007. It was off and running when Melissa and I put on our first home awareness gathering at the home of Kelly Lewis. Not more than 15 ladies gathered and we shared what we knew about sex trafficking. It wasn’t long before that our eyes were opened to the atrocity going on around the world as well as around the corner. We shared what we knew and were asked questions we couldn’t answer. We kept reading and learning. The more we knew the more we wanted to help.

The Hope Jewelry model of Home Awareness Gatherings continued and we brought the issue to light to groups in homes. We so appreciated people’s willingness to have their eyes opened. Ignorance is bliss but it gives no room for compassion. We also had several opportunities to speak to church and women’s groups. Along with informing we were selling our wares- hand-crafted jewelry, accessories, purses, journals, paper, etc. The organizations we bought from are doing great work and we were happy to support them. This was never about the money, none was ever made. It was about the women and children- those who are enslaved and abused repeatedly in ways too horrific to think about.

In 2011, after a major revamp, we became Hope Marketplace. We sought to be a marketplace of goods and ideas. And we expanded our mission to include human trafficking in general and sexual exploitation. We all poured a lot of time into the business. Rob spent countless hours creating our new site, now complete with an online store. And we were blessed with volunteer help for photography and merchandising.

So why after relaunching last year, are we calling it quits this year? In short, our two-fold mission of awareness and supporting freedom from trafficking are being met elsewhere. We’ve seen an amazing growth in awareness since we started. Rarely do we meet someone who hasn’t heard of human trafficking. When we first started we said we hoped we wouldn’t be needed in the future to inform people and it seems that time has come. The other component, selling merchandise that supports organizations helping women & children live in freedom, is being done well by many others. We had aspirations of how we could grow and what Hope Marketplace could become but with our tiny staff and all of us having primary commitments elsewhere, it just wasn’t to be. There simply isn’t a way for us with our limited resources to compete in a nearly saturated market.

We are very thankful to God for the opportunities we’ve had to educate and raise awareness and to see people grow in their understanding and concern. Hopefully many are doing what they can to bring hope to the hopeless. And we’re thankful to have contributed financially to organizations on the front lines of prevention, rescue and restoration of victims of trafficking.

We hope our customers will continue to purchase gifts for themselves and others that support freedom. Much of the merchandise in our store came from an organization called Made by Survivors. (In fact we were their first wholesale buyers) Another place for shopping resources is Shop to Stop Slavery and their ethical holiday shopping guide. And we hope that you will continue learning. Our site and blog will remain up with web, book & DVD lists for your reference.

Thank you to those of you who have supported us in this endeavor. We are grateful for your contribution to our efforts and for sharing our desire to help trafficking victims. It has been a great, growing experience for us. While our participation in the cause will look different, our commitment to the plight of millions remains the same.

About Hope Marketplace

A marketplace of goods and ideas supporting freedom from human trafficking and sexual exploitation.
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