RXP008 Easter Giraffe; Lexie; Backpage Shutdown; Cary Heise

This episode covers welcomes Designed for Joy’s founder, Cary Heise. Whitney Ludlow co-hosts via Skype with Nicole Bernard.

Lance recounts having a pastor friend come from an island in the freshwater lake of Kenya. Lance took him to town hall and showed him around. Living on an island, his understanding of direction, is much different than how most explain direction in terms of north, east, south, and west. His reference for direction is the mountain on the island and direction is explained as moving away from the mountain, or toward it.

Nicole shares her Easter April Fool’s Day prank, when her family’s Easter Giraffe brought the children a basket of onions. And Whitney tells how she and her son had a beautiful hike, only to find that they had locked themselves out of their car and her little boy almost threw a rock through the window.

For this episode’s icebreaker, Lance asks Nicole and Whitney if they had to join the Witness Protection Program, what would their new persona be and where would they live? Nicole would be Sandra O’Haley, a divorcee and former British cucumber farmer who has moved to the outskirts of Orlando to be a backup dancer at Disney. Whitney would be a Broadway star and live in New York under the name, Lexie. Lance would be Derek Stanly, a radio personality in Anchorage, Alaska.

backpage seized
Backpage.com assets seized

In the news, Backpage.com has been taken down. Backpage.com has been notorious for promoting the online sale of sex, including the sale of minors.  Although there still isn’t a clear explanation as to why. Recently, Donald Trump signed the Fosta Bill, which prohibits online platforms from advertising the sale of prostitution. This legislation and Backpage.com was first discussed on Episode 002of the Red X Podcast by the hosts (including Brooke Burris from the Lynch Foundation for Children)  and Nacole from the I Am Jane Doe documentary. Backpage.com has been in intense legal battles for years with the Jane Does who were sold as minors on the site and this recent legislation to amend Article 230 of the Communications Decency Act was a huge victory.

However, Backpage.com was taken down before this bill was signed by the president. The speculation is that the FBI wanted to investigate before the owners of Backpage could hide evidence once the bill was passed. Currently, the FBI has posted this information on the site:

The CEO’s of Backpage and founder are under investigation and we await more details. Unfortunately, Backpage was also used by law enforcement who were tracking illegal activity and also provided a tool for performing stings. Without Backpage, it can be assumed that the “businesses”using the site have turned to other methods of advertisement, which might make investigations more difficult.

cary heise
Cary Heise, Designed for Joy

On this episode, Red X welcomes Cary Heise, entrepreneur and founder of Designed for Joy. Cary says that she has been a serial entrepreneur for years, but staying home with her children gave her the opportunity to be more creative with her businesses. She first learned about human trafficking on international mission trips to Central America. On a recent trip to Costa Rica, she was given a guided tour of the brothels there, which are tucked into the residential areas there. Many of the women in these areas are trafficked in from other Central American Countries.

Then Cary learned about domestic human trafficking here at home. She says that in the US, traffickers can be romantic partners or drug dealers who lure a victim into the industry. Cary has been supporting artisan groups in Costa Rica for years and then realized that she could do the same right here in home. So she created the nonprofit, Designed for Joy, which provides women a living wage in the Raleigh, NC area. Women are taught to create beautiful jewelry and home décor goods. The women who work for Designed for Joy are from a variety of backgrounds that would put them at-risk of being trafficked, such as sexual assault victims or transitioning out of homelessness. Without an opportunity for a livable wage, women may be vulnerable to being trafficked so that they can sell sex or their children for survival. As Cary says, when you don’t have choices to support yourself or family, you are at risk. Therefore, providing a living wage job is prevention. And not having a choice can be normalized. In Costa Rica, the community they work with is known for sex tourism. Cary says she has a heavy burden to let people know that they are worth a living wage.

Designed for Joy uses their business and brand as a platform to bring awareness to anti-trafficking efforts. They have a designer that teaches the women to create the products—home décor and jewelry and all their products are ethically sourced. Cary explains that everyone believes that having an ethically sourced, living wage product makes the price skyrockets. But, at Designed for Joy, they are still competitive in the market. Cary says she has a heavy burden to let people know that a living wage.

Some simple steps that businesses can take are to support anti-trafficking efforts are to ensure that their products are ethically sourced, they can use their brand as a platform, and their business space can be used to help other nonprofits have a meeting and networking space.

Cary is looking forward to their business growing and is hoping to get their products in more stores. Women working at Designed for Joy have the opportunity to learn a skill as well as to get a letter of reference for future jobs. Go to Designedforjoy.com to read more about their mission and shop online. You can also join them for one of the workshops they host. Also, follow them on Instagram or facebook.

Lance learned that Designed For Joy is actually a storefront in Raleigh. Whitney loved that they are bringing a method for combatting international human trafficking onto the domestic stage. Nicole thought it was a great idea for local businesses to offer space for nonprofits to network.

23 thoughts on “RXP008 Easter Giraffe; Lexie; Backpage Shutdown; Cary Heise

  1. So happy to see Designed For Joy featured here! So, so thankful that Backpage is down. Feels like we’ve been fighting for that for a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely love what Designed For Joy is doing, so I tuned into the podcast to hear about them, and was really so into this entire podcast I am definitely a subscriber now to Red X podcast! Informative, eye opening conversations, and amazing guests. All working hard to raise awareness and bring an end to human trafficking. Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Designed For Joy is exactly what many of us didn’t realize we needed in the Raleigh area until Cary + Kristen brought it to life. I’m thankful to know that there’s a community of women working to lift up other women to bring them to a dignified, fulfilling purpose in life.
    Thank you for letting us hear from Cary and Deaigned For Joy – thank you for spreading the word!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was the first time I have listened to your podcast and I learned so much. Love Cary and her heart behind DFJ. I had never given thought to the importance of understanding the whole supply chain of products. It makes perfect sense – I had just not thought that through. I really appreciated that!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The work that Designed for Joy is doing is having a magnificent effect. Proving that you have no idea what will happen when you put passion into action.


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