"Answer the Call, Set Her Free!"
Human Trafficking is an issue that a lot of people are aware of and have a heart for. We go to conferences, see films and documentaries about it while something inside of us is urging to do something to bring this to an end. And yet, a lot of us don’t know how to get involved and feel somewhat powerless of making a difference. I can definitely attest to feeling this way. For years, the stirring in my heart had been there but I didn’t feel like I could really make a difference. Then earlier this year, I was watching a documentary called “Nefarious” by Benjamin Nolot. Needless to say, after watching that, I knew I couldn’t just sit on this stirring any longer and it spurred me into action. God had given me a mandate to get involved and it was time to obey!
Soon after, God gave me the opportunity to go to the Red Light Districts in Brazil, one of the top 10 most dangerous places in the world, also known for its sex tourism. My first time hitting the streets, I was instructed not to talk to anyone and intercede instead. They wanted me to catch God’s heart for this issue. I didn’t know what to expect and honestly, nothing could prepare me for the things I witnessed there. The open corruption of this place was unlike anything I had ever seen before! I would watch police officers pull up to the girls wanting to buy sex. People were openly having intercourse on the streets. I would see young, pregnant girls standing on the street corners who didn’t look a day over 13 years old. People were robbing each other and pulling guns on each other. My heart broke so deeply.
During my time in Brazil, I formed relationships with these girls and the transvestites in the area. Some of them were very distant and cold, while others became friends! I didn’t look at them in pity or in judgement, I loved them right where they were at. And I started seeing God do crazy things! One of my most memorable encounters, was with a woman in one of the nightclubs we frequented, let’s call her “Jane”. We had the opportunity to talk with “Jane” privately and heard her story. She teared up telling us how she used to know God and was a missionary herself until a series of events caused her to question her faith, become angry with God, and go into prostitution.
She had been involved for years, hitting the streets every single night. “Jane” wanted out but told us she wasn’t ready to do so. As we spoke, men kept coming up grabbing her and wanting to buy her. She looked a little frustrated that we were taking away her business, so as to not pressure or embarrass her, we took her into the restroom, away from the pimps and buyers, to pray and let her know we were there for her before letting her return to her work. “What?! You just let her go back?” …yes. Because at the end of the day, we are not there to drag these women home but to build trust, so they can open up. Which meant being respectful of her time and “duties”, even as it broke our hearts.
As weeks passed, the trust was building and we started seeing “Jane” frequently. Every time she would bring other women up to us to receive prayer. It got to the point where my team and I would go into the nightclub, and this woman would have people waiting in the bathroom for prayer! During this time, we got to hear their stories and how they got there. And while everyone’s stories were different, it’s the same theme, Emotional captivity. None of them wanted to be there, most of them felt like they didn’t have a choice, whether for means of support, their families being threatened, or just generally being bound by fear! Including “Jane”! But one day something was different in her eyes, a determination and fearlessness. She came to us again and said she wanted out. After that day, I didn’t see her on the streets again.
I wish I could say 100% that she never went back because I don’t know that. What I do know is that every encounter that she and the others had with the love of God was significant and touching. There are many more stories to tell and I look forward to sharing them through #SetHerFree series. For now, I want to encourage you to answer the call. I truly believe we can and WILL stop this issue. If you have a heart to be face to face, then go! If you have organizations in your area that are involved in some way, then volunteer! Because if there is one thing that I know with every fiber of my being from my 3 months spent in Brazil, its that God wants his precious kids home. These are His daughters and His sons . This breaks His heart deeper than we could ever understand or comprehend. It’s a VERY REAL ISSUE but one that Jesus is more than able to stop, He’s calling us forward to partner with Him. So, answer the call!