The poor and vulnerable are being exploited every day in our world through the evil of human trafficking. Some parents and relatives are being lied to and deceived while others desperate for money are selling their children to traffickers for as little as a few dollars.
Others, as adults, are promised “good paying jobs” then are trapped into paying back exorbitant “debts” to their captors through prostitution and forced labor. Still others are brought into countries with the hopes of gaining a visa and starting a new life. Once they are hooked through false promises, they are many times kept and controlled through fear, drugs, and violence. All alone, they are in desperate situations without hope for a way out.
It is happening in our hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina as well as our beloved nation of Thailand and in many nations throughout the world.
This problem is becoming increasingly more understood through the work of many advocacy, education, and awareness groups all over the world. One of the problems is there is alot of talking and too little action. Thankfully there are new Christian ministries being birthed with a heart to work on destroying the root of this problem as well as helping those who have been trapped by this evil.
They are working on the ground, doing the “dirty” work of helping rescue people and rebuild new lives and futures. Others are taking in children who are at risk for trafficking and giving them a chance for a new life of hope and safety. All of this is hard demanding work and is worthy of the support of the Body of Christ. I find there are not alot of these ministries out there.
As the Church, we should be on the forefront of providing solutions and also work on destroying the root. As I prepare to speak at my home church this Sunday, I am thankful to be a part of a community that cares to be a part of providing solutions. We need millions more churches to get involved so that we can bring this problem to its knees!
It begins in our own back yards by reaching out to the poor and vulnerable among our immigrant populations and opening the doors of our churches and well as our hearts to them. And it extends to the uttermost ends of the earth by reaching out to those nations, especially in Southeast Asia and Europe where human trafficking is prevalent. We can do both!
In our own nation of Thailand, a majority of the victims are human trafficking come from the poorest part of the country where we live and work, the Northeast, also known as “Isaan.” It is the poorest area of Thailand. Poverty causes vulnerability and vulnerability causes trafficking. I believe that part of destroying the root is bringing the transforming power of Gospel of Jesus Christ to the poor and desperate and seeing God change their heart from the inside out.
As we as the “Church” work on transforming peoples through the Gospel, we must help rescue the vulnerable who are being ravaged by the lusts of man. The Church of the nation is still the best hope of that nation. They have the greatest chance to make a difference when they are empowered and mobilized.
We are working to explore the extent of the problems that are in are own area of Northeast Thailand. We have already seen first hand that poor children and teens are being exploited in our own local area. We have found that as we move forward that finding out the true story of what is actually happening is sometimes very hard when you are dealing with something that is working through the shadows. Our hope and vision is to understand the problem in our own local area and provide long term solutions that make a eternal difference in the lives of both vulnerable women and children.
As I said before, but it’s worth repeating; It’s alot easier to talk about the problem and even feel horrified by it rather than work to be a part of the solution. It takes more than talk and even fund raising. It takes people who are willing to go down to where these victims are in order to bring them hope and help. These are the unsung heroes that are working hard day in and day out to bring freedom and hope to the captives.
Here are a few of my favorite international ministries that are doing just that:
Pearl Alliance- Raises funds for Prevention and Protection:
-ZOE Children’s Homes which rescues children who are sold, or at risk of being sold, into prostitution slavery; orphaned, or victims of other heinous crimes and abuse. They are in the process of raising money to acquire, develop and build a new facility to support 500 plus children in North Thailand.
-She Rescue Home which is a secure haven for young Cambodian girls who are at risk or who have been rescued from being trafficked.
Nightlight International– Protection: Annie Dieselburg is involved in the actual street level outreach to women who have been trafficked and are involved in prostitution in Bangkok, Thailand. She brings hope, deliverance, and practical solutions to those in the most desperate and gut wrenching situations. She is not afraid to walk into the heart of darkness and bring hope and light to the hurting and broken.
MST Project Thailand– Prevention: MST stands for “Men and the Sex Trade” This is a newer but important ministry that works on confronting the root of human trafficking in Bangkok which is the demand created by those who come to Bangkok for illicit reasons. These guys go out to the streets and face the ugliness of lust square in the face. They need more prayer, help, and support.
Isaac Hughes-Prevention: Isaac works in the border town of Mae Sot on the Thai/Burmese border. This town is home to many illegal Burmese migrant workers. Here children are regularly exploited as child slaves in local factories. Other children are at risk to being sold to traffickers for a few mere dollars. Isaac works with local Thai pastors and has begun rescuing and caring for some at risk children. He is not a slick fundraiser with a nice web site, but a man with a heart to get down in with the people and make a difference. With help they could help so many more.
World Vision-Prevention and Protection. World Vision is on the forefront of combatting human trafficking and exploitation in all its forms. They are large enough to cover all aspects of the problem and yet small enough on the ground to actually get real things done and affect actual lives. Check out their PDF “Ten Things You Need To Know About Human Trafficking”
Project Rescue-Prevention and Protection. Working mainly in India and Nepal. I am just learning about this ministry but I really like their hands on approach and vision for expansion to needed areas.
Do you know of any worthy mentions who are actually working against human trafficking on the ground? Let me know!
For more info on our work in Northeast Thailand click here.