Ben Cooley is on a mission to save the world from modern day slavery, and one way he is trying to do it is through the written word.
Impossible is a Dare, his paperback and ebook from Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, the UK’s leading Christian-based publisher, was recently released and is already receiving praise globally from leaders including from UK Prime Minister Theresa May.
“I am grateful for the work Hope for Justice is doing to tackle modern day slavery,” May stated.
Hope for Justice is a multi-award-winning charity with strong links with governments and police forces, with a mission to bring an end to modern slavery by rescuing victims, restoring lives and reforming society. Headquartered in the UK, an arm of it is located here in Nashville because of the frequent prevalence of trafficking crimes in the region.
Cooley co-founded the charity in 2008 to bring an end to modern slavery and human trafficking.
Cooley tells his story in Impossible: he was in his early 20s, an opera singer, newly married and had a drive to do something meaningful for society but lacked the know-how and confidence.
“My initial reaction is I didn’t want to do it. I wanted the safer option,” Cooley writes.
Through his faith connections, Cooley relays how Hope for Justice started with a conversation amongst his wife and friends, and how at 26 years old he was booking Birmingham’s NEC Arena with zero event experience but a vision – to live in a world free from slavery.
Starting out with nothing but a dream and a wobbly desk, he tells his brutal, yet inspiring journey of meeting traffickers and victims and putting into an action a plan to help victims – young people, adults and families – begin a new and independent life.
Featuring real-life rescues in the UK, US, Cambodia and Norway, Cooley pulls in the impactful voices of Natalie Grant, Tom Lister, Athena and James Pond, and a member from Rend Collective – a Northern Ireland worship band.
He also writers about the intricate web of the sex trafficking world, and how traffickers manipulate people into it and cause them to fear for their lives.
He shares the voices of victims, who talk about the capture – from having their bottle of Coca Cola being spiked – to being raped over a hundred times a day – or kidnapped, sold and forced into brutal labor.
Cooley writes in a style that it almost feels like these victims are across the table, instead of on pages in a book.
Now a frequently sought-after speaker all over the world, Cooley is regularly interviewed by major news media to share his message of hope and to validate that freedom is worth the fight.
He shares in his book that Hope for Justice has rescued dozens, if not hundreds of victims. As his reach grows, his cadre of team members does, too. The organization now includes former attorneys, communications and policy experts, detectives and social workers who under Cooley’s leadership, rally to garner financial and human support to fight the horrific injustices of trafficking.
Hope for Justice’s expansion into Cambodia and US three years ago was made possible through a merger with Abolition International and Transitions Global.
Today Cooley said he has six locations in three continents with goals to rescue, restore, advocate and reform.
“We work with law enforcement to identify victims and remove them from their unbearable, and unbelievable situations,” Cooley said in an interview while recently in Nashville. “We also work with victims to help them overcome their traumatic experiences and work on rebuilding their lives,” he said. “We actively train individuals to be able to spot the signs of slavery and how to act on it. And now we have the staff to support survivors and advocate for them on matters such as employment, housing and welfare.”
Cooley said one reason for a recent visit to Nashville was to connect with legislators and manufacturers in the U.S. to eliminate trafficking from supply chains.
“The UK has adopted mandates for manufacturers based there,” Cooley said. “That’s one place where we need to start – to make these companies aware that slavery exists in their supply chain, and how to go about reporting it when they learn it is happening. We recently visited the White House, and I hope we can make the same progress here in the U.S. that we have in the UK.”
“That is the reason I wrote Impossible is a Dare – to raise awareness,” Cooley added. “Some people don’t even know human trafficking is happening right in their own community. They need to know and do something about it.”