It all began with just a few seconds in time, a few words quoted from a newspaper article.
In a special message given by my friend Greg Genter, May 30, 2010, entitled “My Lavish Lifestyle”. Nestled in his message (about 38 minutes), he briefly mentioned a newspaper article.
This is what he said (quoting from the article)…
3 massage parlors were shut down in Sterling (a local community in our area) because of sex trafficking. Congressman Wolf described the crime as this “Sexual services performed at a businesses operating under the guise of a massage parlor or other business store fronts This establishment is forcing women into sexual trafficking through debt bondage, isolation and other manipulations to keep women indoors at all time, unable to escape.”Those few seconds have snowballed.
Wolf announced his intent to encourage all local officials to begin further investigation into human trafficking In addition he will be asking local religious organizations to begin provided temporary housing for those rescued from human trafficking.
Since Congressman Wolf had asked specially for faith-based organizations (that new pc word for churches) to step in, our pastors talked and called his office. They got to meet with the Congressman in person.
During that time, we found out that Congressman Wolf’s office had sent out somewhere around 400 letters to various churches in our local area asking for help. Sadly not one responded. We were not one of those churches.
We called simply because of that little blurb in the newspaper that Greg read to us.
One of the things that was shared in that meeting was the police are aware of various locations in our area that are trafficking people sexually (including children) in this area and are prepared to raid them-but the problem is there is nothing really established to provide after care for the victims.
Now the second part; our pastors are involved in a Pastors Consortium in our county. The consortium has decided to take stopping Human Trafficking in our area on as a cause.
Then they contacted and invited in Polaris Project to come and present a training session on how to identify the various types of human trafficking in our neighborhoods. It was cool. We had at least 50 people, representing 9 churches in our county and multiple organizations involved in this issue.
Next, one of the previous members of our church was in town and had lunch with our lead pastor. Just a catch up lunch. During lunch, Dan Clark was sharing what he has been doing in Ohio. He and his wife had started an organization called Doma International, Among others things, Doma steps into the judicial system and stands with the victims of Human Trafficking and provides after care.
This has lead to developing a local Human Trafficking Task Force for Loudoun County/Northern Virginia. I am part of that task force.
Can you see how God is moving to bring all these pieces of a puzzle together?
We are currently meeting. We are praying for discernment for God’s will on what we should be doing to help this issue. Part of it is finding on what is needed to see if we are able to contact all the services we can find in our area and put the pieces of the puzzle together, help them to work together, and then see where the missing puzzle piece is and fill that gap. Then the pastors consortium will take present this plan to their churches and let people know-this is how you can personally get involved.
We know that we will be hosting a second training session on victim identification education program by Polaris Project. This time we probably be using a 2,000 seat venue, And afterwards offering people places to put action behind their feelings of wanting to serve.
It’s in the beginning phases, but we are very excited to see where God is going to lead us.
So back to, why did I go to a adult sex store? A friend thought they might be interested in at least providing materials to their customers and helping support this project. Strange bed fellows you may think, but this connection will reach people that you and I can not reach. The first meeting was a success. They are willing to have materials displayed in their store and they are willing to e-mail their “Friends” list informing them of the next victim identification education program.
What we did may not make sense to you. But it worked. This is a very real issue in many areas; chances are it is happening in your town. You may simply not be able to see it. If it burdens your heart - I challenge you to do something.