When Rebecca Bender escaped a life of sex trafficking in 2007, her life goal was to sleep through the night without a nightmare. Little did she know that her world was about to change others. Now, less than a decade later, she has become a worldwide leader in the anti-trafficking movement. Talk about nightmares becoming dreams.
The Rebecca Bender Initiative (RBI) was born out of Rebecca’s personal story. A journey from brokenness to beauty, from hell to healing, from trauma to triumph.
At the time of her escape, Rebecca didn’t feel qualified to dream. Her pimp had silenced her voice during those six years and her criminal record was screaming that she had no hope. As a young, single mother, she decided to give the pieces of her broken heart to God, after all, what did she have to lose? For six years, with active healing and recovering, Rebecca watched God rebuild her life. She got a job, started college again and got married. Beauty from ashes… She finally understood what that meant.
But just as Rebecca’s heart healed, it broke again, this time for those still enslaved in the life that attempted to steal her own. She had to do something, she would do something. Rebecca made a commitment to help other survivors, and in 2013, Rebecca published Roadmap to Redemption. She never imagined that this book, her story, would sell over 5,000 copies, be translated into Bulgarian, and be used by hundreds of survivors as a catalyst for their own healing journey.
But she felt the longing to do even more, so in 2014, Rebecca founded RBI. Since then, through the investment in other survivor leaders, RBI has grown beyond her plans, expectations, and dreams. These days, most staff volunteer their time, because they know what it’s like to be rescued… In fact, over 60% are survivors.
RBI isn’t just about life change, but culture change too. It is pulling back the curtain on a culture, our culture, that is fueling sex trafficking. RBI provides services, resources and practical tools to help survivors heal, grow and flourish.
People are being rescued, their lives changed, their communities healed. And just like Rebecca, they are commiting to help as many survivors as they can, for as long as they can.
That’s the story of Rebecca. That’s the start of RBI. That’s the culture being created. And that’s how RBI’s plans to eradicate modern day slavery.
Rebecca Bender is more than just a survivor of domestic Sex Trafficking. She is an award winning, internationally recognized speaker and author. She is a change agent and Survivor Leader in the movement to eradicate modern day slavery. She is a friend and story teller. She is a woman, a wife, and a mom. She wears many hats (sometimes before breakfast), but she figures when you have know slavery, you never take freedom for granted.
Her testimony of redemption, escaping a life of sex trafficking, can be read in her first book Roadmap to Redemption, which has helped hundreds of victims find hope, and thousands of people find strength.
Finishing her master’s degree in Christian Thought, Rebecca is now a licensed Minister and mother of four children. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their family. Occasionally she gets to watch Netflix, but usually she falls asleep.
Rebecca doesn’t just speak, she invites people into her world. She shares her story and gives people permission to share their own. She inspires and equips others to eradicate modern day slavery through her own story. She is changing the culture around us, one life at a time.
In 2013, Rebecca received the Unlikely Hero Award for her advocacy work with both domestic and international victims of human trafficking. In 2014 she received the Female Overcomer Award. When Rebecca walks into the room, whether to speak, mentor, train, or find coffee, the atmosphere shifts. You do not want to miss out on having Rebecca Bender at your next event.
Rebecca is dedicated to changing the mindset of our culture, both in the Christian Community and when it comes to Human Trafficking. Her fresh perspective of the Word of God collides with the very social issues we face today. She figures if that’s how Jesus did it, she can too.
Equip America to identify & respond to human trafficking. Empower survivors to
restore & live their dreams.
We envision a world free of exploitation where all people can go after their dreams. That means our communities have to see “sex for sale” in a completely different light and know what actions to take. We envision the exploited breaking out of cycles of abuse so they can walk confidently into a new destiny.