Inspired by an introductory missions course with Dr. Ken Herfst and a social justice course with Dr. Petra Kooman, fourth-year student Nick Linnen looked into an internship overseas with a justice-focused organization. With the help of Redeemer’s Centre for Experiential Learning and Careers (CELC), Linnen found an internship in Thailand with For Freedom International (FFI).
In FFI’s newly launched program, interns live, study, learn and serve together. Interns join the ministry and its partners in the work of combatting human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Phuket, a province of Thailand that is one of the largest sex tourism destinations in Southeast Asia.
For Freedom International works to change sexual exploitation and the corrupt system that keeps it running. It is difficult and daunting work. But through prevention, intervention and restoration, FFI works to give communities the opportunity to be free from oppression before and after it occurs.
At times, the gravity of the work pressed down on Linnen. “Knowing that every night, right down the street a woman was being sold or abused or trafficked was really tough,” Linnen said, “especially as we began to build relationships with some of them.” According to FFI, an estimated 250,000 women and children are trafficked for sexual exploitation in Southeast Asia each year. “The scale of the sex industry problem made it feel hopeless at times,” Linnen continued. “Those were the moments where only God could sustain and give glimpses of hope.”
From January 12th to April 7th, his time in Phuket changed his outlook and his faith. “This internship confirmed a lot of callings in my life,” said Linnen, who is majoring in Media and Communications Studies with a ministry minor. “I’m moving forward in confidence that I’m in the right place.”