Charlie Blythe, UK Director for the A21 Campaign Talks Human Trafficking and the Least of These

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Charlie Blythe is the UK Director for the A21 Campaign. The A21’s vision is to see human slavery abolished in the 21st Century. It is illegal to traffic humans, but human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, generating more than £116.3 billion GBP per year, according to A21 UK. Charlie has always had a heart for “the least of these”- for those in need, so it’s no surprise that she’s directing an arm of one of the largest human trafficking organizations in the world.

Author, teacher and activist, Christine Caine- and her husband Nick started the A21 Campaign.

In addition to her work with the A21 Campaign, Charlie and her husband, Dan are pastors at Hillsong Church London, where they are leading a fearless generation of young people through various outlets and through Fearless TV episodes.

Sit down to a cuppa cuppa and enjoy this Q&A with Charlie Blythe!

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Seele Magazine: What's it like running the UK office of one of the largest anti-trafficking organizations in the world?

Charlie Blythe: It really is the best. I still pinch myself that I get to be involved in such an incredible organisation. It's the greatest privilege and honour to run the UK arm of A21. I have an incredible team here too, which makes my job a lot easier! I've been entrusted with a lot here in the UK and with that comes a lot of responsibility. But, A21 is more than just a job for me, it's a passion and a cause, which I'm committed to, and so, I take it very seriously. 

SM: Have you always been involved in issues related to trafficking? If not, what inspired you to work with the A21 Campaign?

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CB: From a young age I have had a heart for those in need. From the age of fifteen I regularly travelled with my mum to Thailand to work with children rescued from the sex trade and refugees escaping ethnic cleansing in Burma.

At the age of 19 I started working with young homeless people. I knew that working with vulnerable people was definitely something God had put on my heart so I decided to go to university to study ‘Informal Education, Youth Work and Community Development’ in order to increase my understanding and knowledge on how to work effectively with them.

Since then, over the last ten years, I have worked with a variety of marginalized client groups including youth offenders, domestic violence victims, those suffering with substance misuse and mental health issues and now victims of human trafficking. 

I've been working as the UK Director for nearly 6 years now, it's an organisation I've always admired and been inspired by. As soon as the opportunity arose to work for them, I was in and have been ever since.

SM: What specific types of trafficking are in the UK, and how can people pray for what the A21 Campaign is doing here?

CB: The top two types of trafficking in the UK at present are Forced Labour and Sexual Exploitation. We see exploitation in the UK take place in industries you and I regularly come in to contact with such as nail bars, car washes, factories and farms. 

We always value and appreciate people’s prayers. I always ask people to pray for our team, for opportunities, for rescues, and for the survivors. 

SM: What's a rescue story in the UK that has touched you?

CB: Every rescue story touches me in a different way to be honest. Whenever someone finds freedom and restoration i'm so thankful to God.

 The annual A21 Campaign: Walk for Freedom in London

The annual A21 Campaign: Walk for Freedom in London

SM: As you press into God's heart on the issue of human trafficking, what has He put on your heart to do about people who are being trafficked in your nation?

CB: Whenever there is ONE suffering we are called to go, with what’s in our hands, to do what we can. That's all I've ever felt God has asked me to do- just 'go' and 'do what you can' and that's what I'm going to continue to do.

All throughout the Bible, Jesus instructs us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly (Micah 6:8). This is a God mission for all of us. 

I am so glad that God has put me where I am today, I’m so glad He placed the least, the last and the lost on my heart as it is this, and only this, that has moved me in to action and led me to do what I do today.

 Charlie and her husband, Dan

Charlie and her husband, Dan

SM: How are about able to balance being the UK Director for A21, being a pastor at Hillsong London, and being a wife and friend?

CB: When I put God first, everything else just seems to fall in to place. I take each day as it comes and just do what I can. And when it all feels too much or I feel myself stressed, I just go back to God and ask for strength, wisdom and peace.