Interview: How a Disney Ballerina Ended Up Fighting Modern Slavery

A director of church mobilization for International Justice Mission says women can’t have it all, but they can have something better.
Today, forced labor and sexual servitude traps 45 million people—more than at any time in history. To respond to the modern slavery crisis, Jocelyn White, a mother and classically trained ballerina, retired from her thriving dance career and started volunteering with International Justice Mission (IJM). She now serves as a director of church mobilization for IJM and connects congregations and church leaders with the organization’s efforts to free victims of injustice. She and her husband, Peter, also started a nonprofit organization in the Los Angeles area, Slavery No More, which helps resource local agencies fighting human trafficking.
White spoke recently with CT about her journey from professional dancing to anti-slavery advocacy and how she sees God’s hand in her work with IJM.
You achieved your dream of having a successful dancing career. Why did you retire?
I worked for Disney in Los Angeles, and the Holy Spirit prodded me through the story of Abraham to sacrifice my Isaac. I felt like my identity as a dancer was my Isaac. It sounds insane, but I took a step of faith and retired from dancing with no real option lined up. I spent eight months working temp jobs and eating oatmeal for every meal. All the while I enjoyed full days sitting with Jesus and asking trusted friends to pray for me as I waited for God to show me what was next.
Then one of the pastors at my church asked me to be his assistant. He took a risk on me. I had never sat behind a computer or done office things, but God used my creativity, collaboration, and organization skills from dancing, choreographing, and producing in a new way for ministry.
How did you first hear about justice ministry, and how did it affect you?
I heard Gary Haugen, …Continue reading…