DULUTH — Across the state of Georgia, churches and para-church ministries are partnering to shine a light on the darkness of human trafficking.
The issue of human trafficking is widespread. Doctors, pastors, lawyers – people from all walks of life and different types of careers – are involved in it, shared Rhiannon Dobson, the co-founder and executive director for Rahab’s Haven in Albany.
Two hundred girls are sold into prostitution per night in Georgia alone. Many of them are teenagers. It’s impacted every county in the state. And an overwhelming number of trafficking victims feel there is no way out.
Yet, there are ministries around the state dedicated to ending human trafficking. And while their approaches may be different, the heart is the same.
Kasey McLure, a former stripper, founded 4Sarah “after leaving a life of exploitation 17 years ago.” 4Sarah reaches out to women and girls who are victims of sex trafficking or exploitation.
McLure and 4Sarah have been instrumentals in shining a light on the darkness of human trafficking throughout the metro Atlanta area. McLure helps host the yearly Unholy Tour in partnership with Commissioner Tim Echols’ office and the Georgia Baptist Mission Board.
In addition, during the 2019 Super Bowl in Atlanta 4Sarah partnered with other ministries to shine a light on human trafficking, even going as far as calling ladies’ whose numbers were in ads for prostitution and offering them help.
Rahab’s Haven is proof that human trafficking isn’t simply a big city problem.
They’re another likeminded ministry operating out of Sherwood Baptist’s Old Coke Plant in Albany. Their ministry began through Backyard Bible Clubs and “Blessing Bags” and has grown to include those at risk or victimized by sexual exploitation.
“We do that basically with three objectives: awareness in our community, outreach, and restoration,” said the aforementioned Dobson.
Not only does Rahab’s Haven meet the physical needs of these ladies, but they strive to meet their spiritual needs as well.
As the outreach team drives to hotels and other places known for drug use, they “build relationships with them, then they can see that there’s hope and a way out if they desire to do that,” Dobson pointed out.
And they offer that way out to the ladies’ through partnerships like the one with WellSpring Living’s mentorship program.
iCare, based in Evans, serves those victimized by sexual exploitation through a three-pronged approach: prevention, intervention and restoration. According to the group’s website, their vision is to see “a community, state, nation, and a world where children are valued and protected; celebrated for their God-given talents and abilities; and treasured as priceless handiworks of their Maker.”
They bring awareness through school outreach and PTA associations. Thus, iCare’s goal is to inform the general population of the very real dangers for today’s youth of being trafficked. They also reach out to businesses and professionals to promote awareness.
The ministry intervenes by providing a call center to reach out to potential victims, providing a “safe place” for ladies’ recently rescued out of trafficking to land and by doing outreach in known trafficking hot spots.
Find out more about the ministry of iCare here.
Mission Georgia emphasis
“We’re grateful for ministries like these who respond to the human trafficking crisis in their own community,” Lorna Bius, Mission Georgia mobilizer for the Georgia Baptist Mission Board said. “Churches and individuals can learn more about human trafficking ministry in this context and take that knowledge back to their own community.
“Often, before someone comes out of brokenness, someone has to step into that brokenness with hope,” Bius said, commending these organizations and ministries like them who are stepping into that brokenness.
“The gospel transforms and redeems people’s lives – even those caught in trafficking,” she added. “Mission Georgia brings together those who are interested in serving the community with people who are serving the community.”