Local man aiming to tackle human trafficking in Africa

Heather Latter

While talking to a friend one day, Scott Barker expressed the passion he has for helping people in Africa, especially children and victims of molestation and sexual assault.
Then just two days later, he was introduced to Kate Magill, the founding director of “Project Purpose” in Maputo, Mozambique.
“I felt drawn to Kate,” the 22-year-old recalled. “I asked a lot of questions, and she invited me to go and work there.
“Project Purpose” is a Christian Mozambican non-government organization that works to see girls aged 10-24, who have been prostituted on the streets of Maputo, “spiritually and emotionally restored, transformed, and reintegrated into their families through Bible-based teaching, practical and academic skills training, recreational activities, and community service projects.”
The organization runs a Transformation Center, where these rescued girls sleep and live for about one-two years as they are being rehabilitated and restored.
“It was incredible because I had just been talking about it two days earlier,” Barker noted, adding the ball just kept rolling from there.
Although he knew he should spend the summer working and saving money for college, he felt strongly that this work is important.
“Conversation after conversation, sign after sign, it just confirmed that this is the path I should be going down,” he remarked.
Barker will spend July working with Magill in Mozambique, using his musical talents to help rehabilitate the girls.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” he noted, admitting he’s never visited a Third World country before.
“But I really just feel called to help,” he explained. “I had a perfect childhood—a good family, plenty of love and support.
“I was very blessed.
“So for me to see children who don’t have any of that, my heart just breaks for those people,” he added.
“Love is supposed to be a safe and secure place.”
Barker said many children are born into sex slavery and they don’t know what life looks like outside of that.
While not sure exactly what he’ll be doing, Barker knows he will use music and dance to teach the girls self-worth.
“[The organization] also goes out to places where people live in poverty to help feed them, show them a little love and offer them a little ray of hope,” he noted.
Barker also hopes he’ll learn a lot about the world while volunteering with “Project Purpose.”
“We live in a bubble here,” he exclaimed. “There are so many people still in slavery.
“I want to see where I can fit into it and where my music might fit into that.”
Barker admitted he always thought this might be something he could do when he has the time and money, but understands that he has to take these steps to help others now.
“I wish that I had done more selfless things when I was in high school,” he said. “It has just been within the last couple of years that I have been opening my eyes to all the things I can do.
“Kids in high school and college don’t realize the potential that this generation has,” he remarked.
Barker knows this volunteer trip will be just the beginning for him.
“I want to check out other organizations or maybe start something myself,” he noted, adding he also is thinking about going into music therapy.
“The arts are such a great thing for everybody,” he enthused. “I want to see if I can take it that much further.”
Barker is paying for his flight, accommodations, and food for his month-long trip on his own.
To help him raise some funds, he will be holding a benefit concert this Sunday (June 9) at 7 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Spirit here.
“The concert will be by donation at the door, so if you want to bring the whole family for a buck, feel free,” he noted.
He added coffee and desserts will be provided for all guests.
“And there will be treats and goodies for sale for you to take home, as well.”
Barker said some of the talented performers who will be taking the stage include Lauren Gurski, Ericka Tymkin, Trevor Barker, Taylor Shouldice, Jilayne Derksen, Larissa Desrosiers, Chelsea Carlson, Anne Jean, and himself.
“I’ve never felt drawn to mission work, but all of a sudden it hit me,” he remarked.
“For me, there are so many doubts about what I can to help. It’s a daily struggle,” he admitted.
“Every day I wake up and I’m so scared, but that’s not the way life works.
“God has been my strength to help me overcome it,” Barker stressed.
“I want people to know that there is so much you can do, and it’s never too late to start getting involved.”
For more information about “Project Purpose” or to donate to Barker’s trip, contact him via e-mail at scottbarker90@gmail.com