As the Operations Coordinator, Anna Knaub truly does anything and everything to advance the mission of Greenlight Operation. Where does her passion come from? How did she become involved? Read through our interview below to learn about Anna and become inspired by her energy to fight human trafficking.
Give our readers a brief introduction to yourself. Where are you from, what are your passions, how do you like to spend your time?
I grew up and have lived most of my life in Pennsylvania. I met my husband Ethan at the University of Valley Forge. I have my degree in Secondary English Education and spent 3 years as a full time high school teacher. I’ve always been an obsessive learner and reader. I enjoy all kinds of crafting, I am a die-heart Philadelphia Flyers fan, and absolutely adore anything outside. I am also the mom to a very adorable 19-month-old girl, a leopard gecko, and a fur mom to 2 cats.
When were you first exposed to the issue of human trafficking? What compelled you to engage in the battled to end modern day slavery?
I honestly don’t know if there was an exact moment that I really learned about human trafficking. I learned more about it at college through many of our chapel speakers. It wasn’t uncommon to learn about human trafficking in the far-off places the speakers came from. Having been a teacher at a high-risk inner city school, and becoming a mom, has really put into perspective the reality that this can truly happen to anybody. It happens right here.
How did you become connected to Greenlight Operation?
I heard about GO attending Christian Life Assembly. At the time, I was a new stay-at-home-mom and had left teaching. I was feeling the pull to get involved in ministry and I felt as though GO was something that I could really get behind. As the mother of a brand new little girl, I knew I could make a difference in the lives of girls and women just like her. Being an English teacher, I started on the blog team.
Describe the type of work you do for Greenlight, or even for the movement more broadly.
We joke that I am the “hole-filler.” I have a very interesting niche on our team as I don’t have a very specific job like fundraising or marketing, but help support them all. I would say right now my most consistent jobs are helping to co-run the weekly blog and put together the newsletter each month. I help coordinate events. I recently helped coordinate with two other anti-slavery organizations to support victims as they testified through a trial. I help find grants, and attend events and man our table. It’s quite literally a little bit of everything.
What has been the most challenging and the most rewarding aspect of working with Greenlight Operation? What has been the most memorable moment so far?
The most challenging aspect has definitely been learning more about human trafficking. The statistics can be really hard to handle. The longer we do it, the more faces that are matched with those statistics. It definitely takes a special kind of person to be in this field. I even tend to shy away from aspects that deal with children because as a mother I just can’t stomach some of it.
The most rewarding part is when the pieces come together and connections move. There’s not often a lot of “public” movement happening, but there are things behind the scenes that are incredible. It is insanely rewarding when people see the value in our mission and team and want to help us.
I would say the most memorable moment for me so far was our Healing Hands Partnership. We had a really great opportunity to partner with dōTERRA’s Healing Hands Foundation and a number of teams that literally stretch across the world. We had over $5,000 of product come in that we will use to help support the women of the restoration home. The outpouring of support was just incredible. I did a lot of happy dancing.
What should people know about the issue and how do you recommend taking steps toward becoming engaged?
I think one of the biggest things that I am constantly seeing is parents need to be vigilant in monitoring their child’s social media. Over 50% of trafficked teens are first contacted through social media. The U.S. happens to be one of the few countries where abuse must be reported, but it’s just not enough. There are a number of apps parents and teens can use. The best thing to do would be to read our blog post on it. I just can not stress social media and internet safety enough.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
I’m actually a natural introvert! I am more than happy to be cuddled up at home with a cup of tea and a book, or outside taking a walk on a trail. Growing up I sang in church all of the time and have been in numerous musicals. If you asked anybody, they’d say I’m an extrovert. Teaching and being in this kind of ministry require a lot of extroverted tendencies, but I am really in my element doing the quiet work and creating the spreadsheets.
When someone applies to be a volunteer there are questions about what area they would like to help with, etc. Since other teams are fairly self-explanatory, what does being on the Operations Team look like?
To be on the Operations team can mean a few different things depending on each person’s preferences and skills. It could mean helping with events. We’ve been working hard to contact businesses for Breaking Chains and doing the behind the scenes work for that. It could mean being a part of the blog team—we are always looking for writers. We also regularly help the other teams. We’ve done letter sending campaigns where we help stuff and stamp envelopes to go out to businesses, churches, clubs, and schools around the community.
The first step to prevention is education, awareness, and understanding. To partner with us, visit https://www.greenlightoperation.org/volunteer.