It’s a problem that we’d probably all rather ignore.
But whether we want to talk about it or not, the fact of the matter is that Houston is one of the human trafficking capitals of the United States. Men and women, boys and girls are turned into modern day slaves, not only for sex, but also for labor. People who are promised a good job, only to be locked in a home forced to clean and care for children without any way to contact their families, or coerced to work in landscape businesses, nail salons, housecleaning services and hotels. People who are trafficked are often right under our noses.
It was a little over a year and a half ago when I was sitting in church and heard the pastor mention human trafficking. At the time, my husband and I had been leading a small group for a while and enjoyed it, but I’d felt this push that I was supposed to be doing something else. I had prayed and prayed for what seemed like forever that God would show me what he wanted me to do, and while sitting in that particular service and hearing the words “human trafficking,” I knew that God had revealed to me what I had been praying for.
I started to research all about human trafficking, looking up different organizations that I could possibly join. Redeemed Ministries was one of them. I am not one to ever take things slowly, so I signed up for the first two-day workshop I could.
I got involved with Redeemed Ministries by joining one of their Sparrow Nest Teams. When you become part of a team, you are assigned a route with different brothels. You and a couple others from your group go into these places and give the girls gift bags with every day necessities and other things depending on who made them.
It was there in the “spas,” handing out gift bags, that I saw God working the most. Words can not describe how it feels to hold hands with a lady who is trapped in hell on earth, but stills pours out her prayer requests and squeezes your hand as if she didn’t want to ever let it go.
I know that the women we visited were thankful for us. But I, too, am thankful for how God’s touched my life through this ministry. He’s been working in my heart by allowing me to help others who otherwise would be looked at as trash. When you help others that are not in a place to help themselves, it completely changes your perspective about the things that challenge you in your own life.
There are several dedicated organizations in Houston in addition to Redeemed Ministries, like Free the Captives, Love146, and Houston Rescue and Restore, who work with law enforcement and will go above and beyond to bring victims to safety. By supporting and serving with these organizations, we can show the men and women who are exploited and trapped that God loves them, and that we love them.
We’re not going to rid Houston of human trafficking overnight, but the worst thing we can do is ignore the problem.
To help end human trafficking in Houston, contact Susan Kent.
This story first originally appeared in The Point, Fall 2013 edition.