Beards and mutton chops to raise awareness about human trafficking
Jason Friesen is hoping you’ll take note of his beard now, and when he has just half of it left as part of a bid to raise awareness about human trafficking next month.
For the second year in a row Friesen, a Riverton resident, is spearheading Justache October, a month-long campaign that encourages men with all beard types to turn their flow into moustaches, mutton chops, and half cuts.
Entitled Justache to include the first four letters of the word ‘justice,’ the campaign is a fundraiser for International Justice Mission Canada, a faith-based organization that fights sex trafficking in developing countries.
Come Oct. 1, Friesen, 29, will shave only the left side of his beard, which has been sprouting strong over the last 11 months.
Having done this once before, he knows the move will attract attention.
“People will be like ‘dude what happened,’ ” Friesen said.
An enlightening presentation on the Cambodian sex trade by International Justice two years ago disturbed Friesen so much he decided to start Justache.
“The tipping point was seeing a photo of a bunch of girls that they had rescued from commercial sexual exploitation,” Friesen said.
“It’s been in the dark far too long.”
International Justice Mission spokeswoman Petra Kooman said the charity’s goal is to strengthen justice systems for citizens living in developing countries, like Cambodia, where sex trafficking and slavery are prevalent.
Kooman praised Friesen and anyone else who takes part in Justache, acknowledging it’ll be a little embarrassing to walk around with half-shaved faces and mutton chops.
“They kind of have to put their money where their mouth is and then go out in public with this look…,” she said.
Justache officially begins on Oct. 1, and anyone with facial hair can get in on the fun by turning their bristles into something different and catchy.
Friesen is hoping Justache will raise $50,000 for International Justice.
“We’re expecting that it will go big,” he said.
Anyone interested in donating or taking part can learn more by visiting justacheoctober.com.