In 2017, we spoke to Legin and Focus of Renaissance Music Movement about how their album in collaboration with fellow R.M.M. artist Sinai and numerous others raised funds for Kerus Global Education’s safe house for kids at risk of sex trafficking, South Africa. Recently we caught up with Legin to get updated on what has happened since then.
At the time, the trio partnered with Kerus Global Education, an organization that operates an after-school program for orphans in the community of Soshanguve, South Africa. Most of these children lost one or both of their parents due to HIV/AIDS. There are over 7 million people in South Africa living with HIV, more than any other country in the world. AIDS kills over 100,000 South Africans annually.
In many homes in Soshanguve, the oldest child cares for the rest of their siblings due to the lack of living parents. In 2017, when visiting Soshanguve, Legin asked the Kerus staff what their greatest need what, and was told a safe house was needed.
“She started telling me that some of the kids are very vulnerable to sexual abuse and trafficking issues. It messed us up.”
About 40,000 rapes are reported each year in South Africa. There are currently no accurate, confirmed statistics for numbers of human trafficking victims in the country, but it is believed to be in the hundreds of thousands.
After arriving back in the U.S., they were shocked to read an article and learn about the prevalence of human trafficking in their own community: Hampton Roads, Virginia.
“I fell into a little depression if I’m honest. When I came out, I was like, ‘Yo. We gotta help.'”
Legin and his then Renaissance Music Movement labelmates decided to create an album with a dual purpose: to raise awareness about human trafficking, and to raise funds for Kerus Global’s safe house.
The album, called Safe House, released in June 2017 and featured artists such as Da’ T.R.U.T.H., Eshon Burgundy, and Jered Sanders.
As 2017 continued, Legin learned more about human trafficking in the United States and was disturbed by the statistics. “300,000 kids a year here in the States are trapped. We looked into it and [learned] there’s not enough beds for kids in the states either. One percent get rescued, and there are less than one-hundred beds [specifically for children] in the States right now.”
While working on the album, Legin met a Public Relations specialist named Kristi Wells. She had a passion for anti-human trafficking efforts and came up with additional fundraising ideas that they implemented including the Safe House 5K and Half-Marathon series.
Legin and Kristi decided to team up and create a nonprofit called Safe House Project Inc. as a more permanent way to raise funds for their efforts, both in South Africa and in the U.S.
Throughout 2018, Kerus Global was raising funds and working on finding a property for a safe house. Early this year, they were able to purchase a property and prepare their first safe house. Now that the location has been remodeled, there will be an ongoing need to support the six to eight children who will soon be living there, providing them with education, nutrition, and other necessities.
Last month Legin went to Soshanguve for the dedicating of this first safe house.
“God cares about justice more than anything else, as far as practical issues are concerned. To see a dream that happened from a mere phrase of a question asked two-and-a-half years ago, to see it sitting there before me… I just learned to trust God. I just learned to go for it.”
“We are thrilled to see our first partner in South Africa prepare to open its doors. Our support for them will continue,” said Kristi Wells, CEO of Safe House Project.
Safe House Project’s mission began with the South Africa safe house but is now primarily focused on supporting the domestic fight against sex trafficking.
“Now, Safe House Project focuses on accelerating domestic shelter capacity, providing a national network of shelter resources, empowering a survivors path to freedom and advancing domestic trafficking prevention and education,” said Ms. Wells.
“We’ve got stories of kids who are being trafficked by their grandparents for money… If we see a child that is in a particularly vulnerable situation, we say, ‘Hey, this kid is going home to something horrible, or they told us something is happening, we now have an outlet for them to live safely in that community.”
Although the number of those fighting human trafficking in the U.S. is small, it continues to grow with passionate advocates like Legin and Kristi Wells.
Learn more about Kerus Global Education and how you can support on their website.