Winona Shop Selling Jewelry to Support Sex Trafficking Victims

Updated: 04/09/2014 7:06 PM
Created: 04/09/2014 6:56 PM
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 News) -- A Winona coffee shop is doing a lot more than helping people get their morning caffeine fix. The owners are also helping support victims of sex trafficking.

When Al and Danielle Rothering opened Awakening Coffee House a few years ago, they did it with their faith in mind.

"We made one half, turned that into a coffee shop-restaurant, and the other half into a ministry center," said Al.

The ministry center hosts everything from bible studies to Christian rock concerts. But after Danielle got back from a mission trip to Laos, the couple decided to add another element to their store.  

"We have jewelry that was made in Bangkok in a ministry. There's some purses that were made in guatemala and some quilts from india," said Danielle.

In the back of the store, they opened "Set me Free". All of the items in the shop were made by women and girls who have been rescued from the sex trafficking industry around the world.

"By purchasing the products they're actually helping to fund that ministry," said Danielle.

It's the same idea at Christian Book and Gift in Rochester. At their store, they have what's known as the Freedom Boutique.

"Eden ministry in China rescues women and young girls out of prostitution and gives them a way to have a sustainable living and to get them out of that lifestyle," said Emily Mulholland, with Christian Book and Gift.

So whether it be in a gift shop or a coffee house, the goal is simply to help.

"She saw a sign that said 27 million are being enslaved to sex trafficking and that just captured her and it started to capture me. We really need to do something about that. We can do something," said Al.  

Al and Danielle say they've incorporated their coffee shop itself as well, by buying coffee beans from ministries that support the same cause.