This post is part of a series from workshop leaders at the 2013 Women’s Forum. Debbie Floyd co-taught with Ann Lovell about ministry to those who are exploited and trafficked in our country and around the world. Read her post here and her ideas for being involved in stopping the exploitation of people.
“Human trafficking is the illegal trade of people for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation or force labor.” – Confronting the Exploiters (imb.org)
Until a year ago, human trafficking and exploitation were issues I knew little about. Women in my church asked what our church was doing. I didn’t know where to begin. God had called others in my church to do the “hands on” work of reaching out to the exploited, but as the women’s ministry leader, I knew we needed to come alongside them and pray. In the past year, I have watched God build a ministry to prostitutes in the inner city of Richmond, Va.
God’s love for the oppressed is seen throughout Scripture, and our mandate is clear: “Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy” Psalm 31:8-9 (HCSB).
To be honest, I am sickened by the statistics of human trafficking and exploitation. Addressing the need is overwhelming. And human trafficking is not just about women. Exploitation touches refugees, orphans, single moms, students and children at risk.
This year, I am praying you will intentionally seek ways to come alongside those who have no voice and tell them about God’s love. As you look for opportunities locally and globally, don’t overlook internationals. Many seek refuge in the U.S. only to find enslavement through poverty, loneliness and prejudice.
- Ask God to burden your heart for the exploited.
- Network with other churches.
- Google existing ministries in your city and partner with them.
- Discover your role as a leader. This may come in the form of listening, raising awareness, leading by example or training.
You are not alone! The resources and organizations combating this issue are numerous. As followers of Jesus, we offer the hope of new life only Christ can give. Lead your church to fill that gap!
Ways to step out!
- RAISE awareness, pray and get involved: commissionstories.com/speakup
- GIVE to support a place of security for women rescued from brothels: OneLifeMatters.org
- TOUCH LIVES of AIDS patients in Africa: baptistglobalresponse.org
- LEAD a mission trip to make a difference in the lives of exploited women, refugees, orphans and girls at risk: kingdomwomen.imb.org
Debbie Floyd leads the Women’s Enrichment Ministry of Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, Va., and serves in media production at the International Mission Board. You can follow her on Twitter @livinjoyful and find ways to get involved in what God is doing around the world at kingdomwomen.imb.org.