Jordan Pine - Founder & Executive Director of GO

Human trafficking, modern day slavery, is something almost everyone knows exists and is happening; but nobody actually likes to talk about it. Those conversations are uncomfortable, dirty, painful, maybe even shameful. Its victims are often seen in the same light- damaged, unclean, hopeless. But, there are remarkable people that are having the conversations. They are facing the pain and the seemingly insurmountable task of ending human trafficking. Jordan Pine is one of these people. She is the Founder & Executive Director of Greenlight Operation. Her easy smile and bubbly personality shine as we sit down to begin the interview. As we began our conversation, it is quickly apparent that Greenlight is not something that has simply fallen into her lap. Greenlight Operation is a passion she has been working toward since she was in middle school. She has seen the need, felt the burden in her heart, heard the call, and answered, “…Here am I. Send me,” Isaiah 6:8.

How did you get involved in GO? Why did you decide to step-up and take it on?

When I was in middle school, we had missionaries from India come and speak at our youth retreat. During their presentation, they brought in a metal crate, like a dog cage. They went on to explain that parents would sell their children because they couldn’t afford to have them, they needed the money to put food on the table, had debts to pay off, etc. Once these children were sold, the traffickers would prevent them from running away by chaining them up or keeping them in crates, like the one they had on the stage that day. It was how traffickers broke the child’s spirit to fight.

That image stuck with me throughout middle school and high school, directed my path through college, inspired what I studied, and has continued directing my journey to this day. I needed to do something about human trafficking. The more I researched the issue, the more I uncovered how prevalent it is, not only in other countries, but here in the U.S. as well.

It was experiences like this that led Jordan to seek her  B.A. in Politics with a minor in Criminal Justice from Messiah College.

Following the 2017 Walk For Freedom, I founded Greenlight Operation. A lot of awareness was raised at the walk and participants were ignited to take action. However, many asked, "what’s happening locally with anti-trafficking efforts and how can we get involved?”

There is no restoration home or organization solely dedicated to anti-human trafficking within an hour of Harrisburg, so people were having a difficult time practically getting involved with combating the issue. Recognizing this void, Pastor David Richards [of Christian Life Assembly] approached me and asked me to write a proposal with a solution to fight this issue in Harrisburg. I spent months praying, planning, and then finally writing this proposal. The call that had been placed on my heart in middle school was finally starting to take shape. The doors opened and I was released to GO!

Jordan speaking at the 2018 A21 Walk for Freedom in Harrisburg, PA

Jordan speaking at the 2018 A21 Walk for Freedom in Harrisburg, PA

What has been the most challenging aspect so far?

Realizing how great the need is. There’s something to seeing the statistics of trafficking victims, and then actually seeing that there’s no restoration home or organization within an hour of here that is solely dedicated to assisting these victims. When you start recognizing what a lack of resources for these victims means, it can be a little overwhelming.

Greenlight Operation started in May of this year (2018) with the goal of opening a long-term restoration home.  We’ve had people come up to us and say "we’re in a trafficking situation, can you help me?” I’ve met for hours with these individuals. I’ve listened to their stories, heard their desperation, then called shelter after shelter to find a safe place for them, only to find that these homes are at max capacity or that they can’t meet the needs of the trafficked woman in front of me. Or I’ll hear that they can only find a bed in a short-term 30-day emergency shelter with no guarantee of another safe house placement after they’ve stayed for 30 days. It’s heartbreaking.

These women are risking their lives to leave these trafficking situations, and if they’re not guaranteed protection or safety beyond 30 days, they ask, "is it better for me to stay in my captivity?” Many risk their lives and the lives of their loved ones when they make a break for freedom. The least we should be able to do is provide them a safe haven. Realizing the need for restoration homes has been the biggest challenge. Our restoration home can’t come soon enough!

That’s hard to take home, to lie awake at night, and think through.

Yeah. Nick and I have had to strategically shut it down at times and just say "ok, no more work talk.” Compartmentalizing, in a healthy way, is necessary for us. I need moments to just focus on my husband and our pup without the stress of the day weighing down on me.

Like you said, the statistics can overwhelm you.

It’s true. It’s true. However, knowing that this is the call that God has placed on my life keeps the fire inside me burning to fight this injustice. I have to rely on His strength and not my own.

What has been the most fun?

I would say meeting and building relationships with other abolitionists and other organization’s leaders. Not just asking them basic questions like, “what services do you provide’, but getting to know people who are in similar work. Being able to pray for them, getting updates from their ministries, knowing that they’re a support, and that there’s a network that’s beginning to form. There have been some areas that have been tough to break through, but for the most part, when you get those breakthroughs and start building those relationships, it’s really encouraging.

Training with  Oasis of Hope  August 2018

Training with Oasis of Hope August 2018

I honestly had no idea that Harrisburg was considered a hot spot until I moved out here. I’m from Berks county, so this is no-mans land for me. The longer I’m out here, the more I’m learning about it. My husband’s grandmother who has been here forever said “well yeah, it’s close to Baltimore, it’s close to Philly, it’s close to New York, it’s close to all of these places.”

Yup. We’re hearing some of the big spots they’ll go to are Baltimore, Allentown, Duncannon, and Philadelphia. They make the rounds. They don’t stay in one place very long, they transition to different spots, as it makes it easier for traffickers to evade law enforcement. It’s wild… Harrisburg! We’re not even the biggest city in Pennsylvania, but it’s such a problem. It’s shocking.

Volunteer, Katie Sechrist, at Breaking Chains

Volunteer, Katie Sechrist, at Breaking Chains

What is your favorite part of GO?

I love watching it grow, and reflecting on where we started in May and seeing where we are right now. Greenlight Operation is run by a team of volunteers, which is mind-blowing. The team has incredible drive and zeal. To watch them passionately lead, take ownership of their areas, and utilize their gifts is fun. It takes such passion and heart to put those kinds of hours into their roles without paid positions. I love watching our volunteers take up the mantle.

Let's dream big- 10 years from now, where do you hope to see GO, its impact, etc.?

I’m a dreamer, so I love this. I hope to have multiple restoration homes in 10 years. I had a revelation a few months ago. Pennsylvania is the Keystone State in the nation, and to be the catalyst of change for human trafficking in the nation is an exciting prospect. I want to see Greenlight Operation grow and have national impact. I don’t want to stop with just one long-term care facility.

If you could be on a game show, which game show would it be?

I don’t really watch game shows too much. Oh gosh, The Price is Right! I used to watch it when I was a little kid, whenever I was home sick from school. Spay and neuter your pets, folks. {There was a lot of laughing throughout this answer by the way}.

Greenlight Operation is a growing organization that’s fighting human trafficking in the Harrisburg, PA area. If you would like to learn more, visit us at GreenlightOperation.org. Stay up-to- date with news and events by following us on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM.

Anna KnaubComment