Taking It to the Streets ~ Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Black-eyed susans trapped behind wireMichelle Sweeney

When I interviewed social activist Ruth Jacobs here on Faith Songs in November, I joked about a nice church lady like me blogging about prostitution. Well, today Ruth clued me in to a nice church lady in Coventry, England, who’s really taking it to the streets – her faith, that is.

Michelle Sweeney says, “I was listening to a late night radio show one night in November 2011. As I listened, I quickly found out that not only did human trafficking happen in our world today but that it happened in the city I lived in. That was it, in that moment, I was convicted that I should be doing something about this.”

But what to do?

Michelle’s research led her to a church-sponsored mission project, which helps young girls, women, and boys exploited by sex trafficking in her local area. With her church, she also does weekly outreach work with a charity named Embrace. “We drive around the local red light area. We offer the women hot and cold drinks, hygiene bags, food, and also condoms. And we offer friendship. We listen to them, we talk with them and we try to help them with their practical issues. Embrace also offers spiritual support for the women, so if they ask for it, we would pray with them.”

To read more about Michelle Sweeney’s many and varied activities on behalf of victims of human trafficking, and about what drives her to serve them, read her full interview on In the Booth with Ruth

William Eberle

Human trafficking and sexual exploitation aren’t issues that concern only women or only European communities. American William Eberle advocates for trafficking victims here in the USA. What motivates him?

“Too often these people find themselves with little to no hope for bettering their situation. I remember a time when I had lost hope and it was through the caring of friends and family as well as my faith in God that I found hope again. I believe that God will use my efforts to help people, I don’t need to understand how that happens, but it is my faith that says that it will happen.”

Read more about William Eberle’s fight against trafficking, and how you can get involved, in this interview In the Booth with Ruth

Kimberly Benson

And if you feel unmoved to help victims of sex trafficking because you aren’t too sure the “victims” really are victims, or you doubt slavery could happen in this day and age in your home town, please pay close attention to Kimberly Benson’s reason for becoming an anti-trafficking activist:

“My passion stems from being a victim once myself. When I was 18, I thought I knew it all – enough to keep me from trouble, but didn’t know that trouble would come looking for me. I left home to live on my own. After having been in several negative and abusive relationships, I was all alone. A young lady and I became friends. She was the best, was always there, encouraged me, bought me clothes, took me to get my hair and nails done. We were great friends.”

Until her “great friend” left Kimberly at a house party to be drugged and raped, then tricked her into attending an “innocent, all-girl” party where she handed Kimberly over to a powerful man. For money. In a major American city.

Read the details, and how Kimberly has been working against trafficking since her own escape from enslavement, In the Booth with Ruth.

 

 

7 thoughts on “Taking It to the Streets ~ Human Trafficking Awareness Day

  1. My dear friend… my heart hurts when I read these stories. These beautiful young women are so brave, sharing their stories.
    Only when women speak up and speak out can things change.

    • Yes, the whole nasty business depends on shame and deception. Got to rip off those masks.

      Any girl can fall for the kind of trickery Kimberly Benson experienced. I mean, who expects it? You’re not on your guard. And the creeps always have a story to embarrass you into giving them the benefit of the doubt instead of running away, assuming you had the means to run and a safe place to run to.

      I appreciate the fact that guys are getting involved on the right side of the fence, too, like William Eberle and Kimberly Benson’s husband.

  2. What sickens me and blows my mind is the depravity that someone would befriend a helpless soul and then turn them over to be sold and abused. Also , how can there be enjoyment in “buying” or abusing someone who is obviously scared and/or drugged. It just doesn’t compute. It takes a brave person to combat such evil.

    • I agree, Judy.

      In Maureen’s full interview with Ruth Jacobs, she talks about the need to address the “demand side” of the sex trade. Hard to comprehend how a man would take a sex partner who’s unwilling or even unconsciousness. (I use the word “partner” very loosely.)

      Females can be predators, too. Kimberly’s “great friend” obviously cultivated her all along for the purpose of selling her.

    • Thank you Judy. It is beyond comprehension what these people do and how they can live with themselves. The survivors are so inspiring and the advocates and activists who work tirelessly to end modern day slavery are so dedicated and committed. And many of the survivors interviewed are advocates and activists too, and some, like Kimberly, have founded non-profits.

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