Ink180 » the INK 180 Story —Tatoos and Tatoo Cover-up for Human Trafficking Victims
It was during a meeting with Homeland Security’s gang division that Chris was invited to discuss his ministry with another unit upstairs, the human trafficking operations. Suddenly, Chris was invited into a horrific underground world few see clearly in the United States. Hundreds of young women, many of whom are domestic victims & runaways, held captive by organized crime, gangs, drug dealers, lies, abuse and threats. They are forced into prostitution and moved into major metropolitan areas including Chicago. They are typically tattooed by their captors so that if they are ever found, they can be tracked back and returned to their ‘owners.’ These tattoos are sometimes names, but often bar codes that can be scanned with smart phones…and sometimes the victims are even branded and scarred like animals. And though the officers wanted to help these girls, cover-up tattoos can cost hundreds of dollars a piece, and there are hundreds of girls being removed from these horrible situations every year. There just isn’t money available. So they appealed to Chris’ INK 180 ministry to consider taking on human trafficking in addition to gang cover-ups.
Chris was blown away, his heart broken by the volume of the pain suddenly revealed right in front of him. He immediately agreed to help and began work on numerous victims of human trafficking moving through rehabilitation and relocation process through law enforcement channels. He covers up their vile markings with beautiful artwork, flowers of pink and purple, bright hearts, shooting stars, whatever the girls’ want. They love to choose the art, the colors, the images, but most of all, they love to have the vile markings made invisible.
Chris has covered destructive markings since he began in October of 2011. INK 180 exists to offer the opportunity for a real second chance to the least of these, the invisible, the forgotten, the discarded. Chris provides his time, supplies, artwork, entirely free of charge to the victims. INK 180 is entirely funded by donations, no charge is ever asked of the people receiving Chris’ ministry. He cannot operate any other way; beautiful second chances are totally free, already paid in full by the One who paid it all. They were for Chris, they are for us, so they must also be for those with so much already suffered.
YOU can support this effort, financially here OR share this story on fb and twitter.
Spreading awareness is something we can all do.