Raleigh Sadler believes that everyone, regardless of age, gender, or social status, can help prevent human trafficking — and he speaks from experience.
Sadler, founder of Let My People Go, a nonprofit organization aimed at helping churches fight human trafficking, told The Christian Post that recently, he received a phone call from Nathan, a pastor in Ridgewood, Queens.
Nathan, who had started a small church plant in a neighborhood with a large immigrant population, told Sadler how, while handing out coats to those in the local community, he met a young woman from Central Asia. In broken English, the woman told him she had gotten a job right next to the church at a massage parlor.
“I was excited for her, and I said, ‘I’m looking forward to seeing you again, glad that you’re in the neighborhood, and here’s your coat,’” Nathan responded.
A few months later, Nathan saw the woman again — but not in the way he had anticipated.
“Someone from the community called him and said, ‘there is a brothel owner community Facebook page,’” Sadler shared. “So he clicked the link and he sees, in a provocative pose, the woman to whom he gave a coat.”
Unsure of what to do, Nathan called Sadler: “I just pushed him and encouraged him. I said, ‘You need to contact your precinct and tell them everything,’” Sadler recounted.
Nathan took his advice, and police responded by parking a car out in front of the massage parlor: “They said if it’s not a brothel it won’t hurt business. But if it is a brothel, sex buyers will not come in if they see the car,” Sadler explained.
Fast forward several months, and because of that single engagement, 24 illicit massage parlors in Ridgewood, Queens, were shut down by police that year.
“This was just one small church plant just trying to keep the lights on and reach their community,” Sadler told The Christian Post. “And they were able to see their community change because they started focusing on vulnerable people.”
“God’s design for the church to end trafficking, I firmly believe, is through vulnerable people like you and me, loving other vulnerable people because Christ was made vulnerable for us,” he added. “Throughout Scripture, Jesus was always present with vulnerable populations — and so that’s what they did, and they saved countless lives as a result.”
According to the Global Slavery Index, an estimated 40.3 million men, women, and children were victims of modern slavery on any given day in 2016. Of these, 24.9 million people were in forced labor and 15.4 million people were living in a forced marriage. Women and girls are vastly over-represented, making up 71 percent of victims.
In his new book Vulnerable: Rethinking Human Trafficking, Sadler shares his own experience fighting human trafficking and encourages Christians to get involved in long-term ministry — both personally and through their church.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett