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.
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.
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.