Jenny & Tyler: For Freedom

A Q&A with a Nashville recording duo on fighting human trafficking in our own backyards

Jenny & Tyler met at the University of Delaware in a Baptist student ministry where they started singing, writing songs, and leading worship together. They have always made music together in one form or another, and eventually started dating and became a duo. After they graduated from college, they got married and moved to Nashville where they became full-time recording artists passionate about the integration of worship and justice.

All proceeds from their November 2013 EP titled For Freedom go directly toward the fight against human trafficking. Here's what the duo had to say about joining the fight against human trafficking that may be happening in your backyard.

How did you first hear about human trafficking?

We first found out about human trafficking in college, and since then, we've seen documentaries, heard stories, and discovered human trafficking happens everywhere. One time, after a show, a girl came up to us and told us her story of how she was involved in human trafficking—her dad was the guy that trafficked her. It was shocking, but she wants the world to know about it now, and she feels bringing it to light is the best thing to do. We also just found out there was a house about a mile from us in south Nashville where international refugee girls were being trafficked.

What's the relationship between worship and justice?

Justice is such a large component of God's character, both in the Hebrew Scriptures, and in the New Testament as well. There are so many references. Unfortunately, people are not very aware of the issue of modern day slavery. So we attempt to invite people into the larger story of redemption by contributing money, gifts, talents, and time to the fight against human trafficking, and we talk about justice at every show. We feel it's an essential part of what we do.

We've written songs about human trafficking, and we've always said our main goal is to communicate hope and truth in a clear way. The primary motivation, or at least very important reason why we talk about human trafficking, is because the freedom from physical, emotional, and psychological bondage correlates so well with the gospel. Sometimes that's very obvious—sometimes we talk directly about Jesus, and other times it's more poetic in nature. Not that talking about Jesus isn't a poetic thing to do, but to more metaphorically point to truth.

How would you encourage Christians to join in the fight against human trafficking?

One way to get involved is to plug into what the End It Movement, A21 Campaign, and International Justice Mission are doing around the world. They'll talk to you about how to get involved globally and locally, either volunteering at a shelter or contributing money or time.

Also, investing in lives of youth in your community can be a really great way to be preventative, because a lot of people who are trafficked are also teenagers who are at risk: runaways and people from broken homes. Girls are lured into this looking for love they don't have at home. When they feel like they need a guy in their life who tells them he's their boyfriend, he ends up turning into their pimp. Then they don't know how to leave. So investing in that way can prevent that sort of thing from happening.

A third thing to do is to be a good neighbor. We were at this conference about a month ago that got churches and communities together to go to the government and say, "Mayor, how can we best serve this community?" He said, "Honestly, the best thing you can do is the process of neighboring. To be a good neighbor, and to take care of your neighbors." At that point the speaker at the conference said, "I realize Jesus is a genius. The idea of loving your neighbor as yourself would change the world. It would prevent things like human trafficking." And this isn't anything new—we're called to love our neighbors as ourselves, to be led by the Spirit, and to love the Lord our God with all our mind, soul, heart, and strength.

Jenny & Tyler are a Nashville-based recording duo. Connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and on their website.

Allison J. Althoff is the Editor of Wheaton Magazine and the former online editor of Today's Christian Woman. Follow her on Twitter @ajalthoff.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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