Christian university offers sex-trafficking survivors free education

by Joni B. Hannigan |

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Christian Examiner) -- A Southern California university is set to offer human trafficking survivors a full ride scholarship towards tuition, room and board.

The "Beauty for Ashes" scholarship fund at Point Loma Nazarene University's Center for Justice & Reconciliation was launched this week with Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign.

The effort hopes to raise $40,000 in 40 days.

"When we talk to survivors, we keep hearing the same message -- survivors dream of a college education," reads a statement on the Beauty for Ashes donation page.

FOX news reported the scholarship might be a first.

San Diego has been labeled by the FBI as one of its "high-intensity child prostitution areas."

"Aside from a deep faith in Christ and a loving Christian congregation to surround them, there may be no more important long-term intervention for the rehabilitation of survivors of human trafficking than the loving, academically challenging and carefully mentored environment of a Christian university education," the site says.

Campaign supporters have offered a variety of "perks" for donations – including a "Beauty for Ashes" record, books about sex trafficking, and original photos taken by survivors.

"The Beauty for Ashes Fund places PLNU as an educational leader in the global movement to end modern slavery, and a place of higher learning that stands behind its mission statement, not just for the privileged youth of our culture, but also for the most vulnerable," the site says.

According to site statistics, the campaign began Oct. 28 and ends Dec. 14, 2014. Information about the scholarship and support is being encouraged through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.