Written by: Annie Olson | Freedom Fighter
Of the 27 million people living in slavery today, its estimated that only one percent will be rescued. Our fight against modern-day slavery must begin with prayer.
Here are 10 key things you can be praying for this coming year:
For misconceptions about human trafficking to be changed
It is often times assumed that slavery only takes place in foreign countries, when in reality it is also occurring in our own backyard. It is also assumed that every victim is in physical bondage. As a result of these misconceptions and others, countless victims go unrecognized.
Human trafficking has been defined as “the exploitation of vulnerability”. These vulnerabilities come in many forms- whether it be age, the desire to be accepted, a drug addiction, or a lack of basic resources. When these areas are protected, the risk of being trafficking decreases significantly.
For the legal system
Currently, only 1% of traffickers face any sentence for their crimes. At the same time, sex trafficking victims face incarceration for prostitution. Though our laws have come a long way in protecting survivors, there is still a desperate need for policy change.
For Unity of the Church
While it is important to include the government in the fight, the greatest force should be the Church. Though the impact of one church is limited, the efforts of all will bring about change.
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13
When a person escapes trafficking, they carry many wounds. Beyond just the physical abuse, the manipulation often leaves feelings of distrust, a lack of self-worth, and bitterness in its wake. The healing one must go through is dependent not just upon the spiritual restoration, but the physical and mental as well. Through both faith-based and natural methods, survivors can be restored to the calling God has for their life.
For the families of trafficking victims
Often times, survivors of human trafficking come from broken homes. Reconnecting with one’s family, even a loving one, can be a challenge. Pray for family ties to be strengthened, for parents to be guided in the healing process, and for healthy relationships to replace unhealthy ones. For those without a family, pray for other individuals to step into that role.
For Exploit No More’s Work
This year, ENM will be opening the first survivor home for girls in Milwaukee. We greatly appreciate your prayers for resources, that we are able to proceed in a timely manner, and for the girls we will be serving.
For those who fuel the industry
As hard as it can be, we need to recognize that the johns, the pimps, the traffickers, and the pornography industry all need our prayers too. When the demand stops, the selling stops.
For knowledge, understanding, and awareness of human trafficking to spread
Every thirty seconds, another person is sold into slavery. We want awareness to spread faster than people are bought. Pray that words are given to convey the truth, for conversations to be opened, and for people to seek answers for themselves.
For how you can be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Each one of us has specific talents and circumstances that can be used in the fight against trafficking. Whether its educating your classroom on human trafficking, making a financial commitment, or creating legal change, we all have a role.
“Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” Proverbs 3:6
This event has closed
Date: Thursday, January 12th at 7:30am
Host: Milwaukee Global Shapers and Exploit No More
Join the Milwaukee Global Shapers, Exploit No More, and experts from around the country to discuss global human trafficking and efforts to help bring freedom to victims.
Note: This event has past but you can still watch the chat here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqNQvJsLwow
Shared Hope International
Nancy has long been active in the movement against sex trafficking and has worked alongside Linda Smith, founder of Shared Hope International, since 2002.
Nancy’s diverse responsibilities include speaking, writing, training, donor interactions, restorative shelter initiatives, and partner relationships. Since 2008, she has been a member of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force Victim Services Committee. She served as chair of the task force’s Legislative Committee in 2012 and 2013 and received the Governor’s Service Award for Volunteerism in 2013 for her leadership in that role. Nancy received her Masters in Social Work in December 2014.
Find out more about Shared Hope International’s work go to: Shared Hope
Mending the Soul
Rebekah has a great passion for working with women who have been sexually exploited, abused and traumatized. She holds her master’s degree in professional counseling and currently works as a clinician for Western Psychological & Counseling Center in Tigard, OR. Prior to moving to Portland, Rebekah was part of a private practice, Journey’s Counseling Center, in Tempe, AZ and a part time therapist for Calvary Addiction Recovery in central Phoenix.
Rebekah enjoys mentoring survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and leads professional Mending the Soul groups. Rebekah has been involved with Mending the Soul for many years as a participant, trainee, trainer, facilitator and mentor of women who have experienced all forms of abuse, trauma and commercial sexual exploitation.
Rebekah loves sharing how God has redeemed the pain in her own life to encourage others as they begin their healing journey. Rebekah and her husband, Michael currently live in Portland, OR. They have three beautiful and energetic children and love spending time together as a family.
For more info on Mending the Soul go to: Mending the Soul
Treasured Vessels Foundation
Alicia Bush is a native Texan, born and raised in Texarkana. From there she traveled to University of North Texas and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Biology/Chemistry. Having considered medical school, Alicia had a leaning for the healing arts. Thus, she positioned herself in surgical device sales. This placed her in the operating room every day. She distinguished herself from her peers by her profound caring for each individual patient’s best care. It was this characteristic that gained the trust and respect of surgeons across north Texas. And thus she rose to be a top ten salesperson nationwide year after year.
Alicia was always able to compartmentalize her professional and personal life. In her personal life he became the wife of a successful custom home builder, mother of three, and dedicated leader in her church. When the demands of these roles increased, she was unequivocal in making the decision to resign her sales position in 2014. With time to homeschool her children and expand her role as a worship leader, she also listened intently to a calling placed on her heart. Out of this was founded Treasured Vessels Foundation, a 501(c)3 not for profit corporation.
The mission of Treasured Vessels is to build residential treatment facilities for underage girls rescued from sex trafficking. The mission statement is: TVF is devoted to providing a safe place for healing and growth. We have a passion for restoring purpose and value to the perfectly imperfect.
Sex trafficking is the fastest growing industry in the USA. Texas is a hub with Dallas and Houston being among the most actively involved cities. On any given night, 400 under-aged girls will be sold for sex in Dallas. Their age ranges from 11 to 13 when they are stolen or coerced into “The Life”. They are subjected to a programmed degradation of mind, body, and spirit until they willingly obey. Once trapped in “The Life”, their life expectancy is 11 years. If lucky enough to be rescued, they will need 18 to 36 months of residential treatment. But for most…. there is nowhere to go…. except back to “The Life”. Treasured Vessels will change this, and Alicia Bush is leading the effort.
For more information on Treasured Vessels Foundation go to: Treasured Vessels Foundation
More About Global Shapers
The Global Shapers Community is a network of Hubs developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, their achievements, and their drive to make a contribution to their communities. As an initiative of the World Economic Forum, with over 400 hubs globally, Shapers are improving the state of the world. For more information go to, https://www.globalshapers.org/
We are excited to announce that we have a new Executive Director, Jarrett Luckett! As you may recall, former Executive Director, Katie Linn moved across the country due to her husband’s career. With this departure, we are lucky to have Luckett join us for our next growth phase.
He is a native of Milwaukee and comes equipped with experience raising awareness and increasing philanthropic activity for this cause. Most recently with Aurora Health Care, Luckett also has over seven years of experience in healthcare from Activity Director to focusing on organizational development. He is also a member of a global group of top leaders called, “The Global Shapers” – an initiative of the World Economic Forum.
“We are excited to have Luckett on board. His business experience and leadership skills will propel our organization into the next phase,” says Jason Butler, ENM President and Lead Pastor at Transformation City Church.
Luckett’s experience will come in handy as ENM continues working towards providing a residential aftercare house, one of only three in Milwaukee and a handful in the nation. Exploit No More will provide housing, services, and support to aid in freeing young women from the grips of sexual exploitation, to give them a second chance at their childhood and life.
Luckett’s new role will focus on three areas:
We have some exciting news coming up, so be sure to “like” our Facebook page and stay connected!
Written by: Katie Linn | Previous Executive Director of Exploit No More
As we address the demand side of domestic minor sex trafficking, it is important to discuss how prevalent pornography, and specifically child pornography, is within today’s culture. This issue has been highlighted in recent news, as high profile celebrities and spokesmen have been arrested and sentenced for possession of child pornography. However, what few may realize is that within the pornography industry, child pornography makes up $3 billion of the total global sales annually, with the majority of the child pornography being produced, distributed, and possessed in the United States.
Child pornography is not only an exploitation of children, but also clearly falls within the definition of sex trafficking. The typical age of a child that is exploited through pornography is between six and 12 years old; however in recent years there has been a steep increase in exploited children even as young as infants. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a 2005 report stated that of the offenders arrested for child pornography possession throughout the year, 83% had images of children ages six to 12, 39% had images of children ages three to five, and 19% had images of children under the age of three.
As the pornography industry grows with new technologies, the number of sexually exploited child images also increases. As the use of web cameras and smart phones have become a norm, it has made it easier to produce, access, and distribute these images. Furthermore, anyone can have access to large storage devices, which allows offenders to collect thousands of photographs of a child.
According to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in October of 2003, they reviewed more than 20,000 images of child pornography each week. Further, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Victim Identification program has reviewed over 90 million photographs and videos since 2002, when the program began. 22 million of those suspected child sexual abuses images were in 2013 alone.
Child pornography and the solicitation of sex from children often go hand in hand, and it is important to address both within the same conversation. There have been many men who have spoken out against pornography, highlighting the dangers and harm that it causes to the viewer and their relationships. However, as advocates for victims of trafficking, one must also view the child, woman, or man in the image as a likely victim of exploitation.
Written by: Katie Linn | Previous Executive Director of Exploit No More
There is no question that media and entertainment have a deep and profound impact on youth, the way that they view the world, and how they interact with it. From a very young age, they are continually bombarded with images and sounds that shape their worldview – from the music that they listen to, the movies and television shows that they watch, and the advertisements that they view in magazines or on billboards.
Throughout the years, entertainment and media has become more sexualized in it’s portrayal of women and of relationships between men and women. When we view this in light of demand and normalization of sex trafficking and exploitation, there are two main cultures within the media that play a factor in the normalization of prostitution.
Sexualization of Women
Many discussions have taken place in recent years about the portrayal of women in media and entertainment. While the message may or may not be so straightforward and clear, media continually gives men the idea that they have a right to control women and that women should pleasure them, while also giving women the idea that they need to work to meet certain standards of beauty and behave a certain way in order for men to give them attention.
Many images and messages, specifically within advertisements, portray women in a particularly sexual and exploitive manner, often with the women wearing little to no clothing or in violent positions. In a recent fashion clothing advertisement campaign, images showed men dressed in suits touching and interacting with fully nude women. While the company received a great deal of pushback due to their controversial campaign, there have been many other advertisements that have pushed the boundaries and portrayed men’s control over women.
Advertisement campaigns, fashion magazines, and celebrities styles also often indirectly have an impact on exploitation. Media often shows youth and young women in a more mature light, encouraging young girls to grow up faster and to act in a way that is beyond their physical years. Young teenagers often deal with self-esteem issues and insecurities, striving to become culture’s ideal picture of beauty, causing some to soak in any attention that they receive from boys and men. Yet, on the other side of the coin, media and entertainment also sexualizes childhood and youth, with some pop artists and advertisement campaigns dressing down in age to look like a child or a teenager, while still maintaining the sexual aspect.
The Pimp Culture
Another aspect of media and entertainment that normalizes prostitution and ultimately trafficking is the normalization of the pimp culture. There are many forms of media that glamourize this culture, causing young men to strive for the dream of being a pimp, without fully recognizing who a pimp truly is.
There are a number of popular songs that address the pimp culture and glamourize the idea of this culture. In 2006, a song by Three 6 Mafia’s song It’s Hard Out Here For a Pimp won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, which was featured in the movie Hustle and Flow. In the song, the writers discuss their desire and the struggle to make money, their lavish material items, and the girls that work for them. They also sing that for the right price the girls will perform sexual acts.
Other main stream artists have also included the pimp culture in their music, including Jay-Z in his song, Big Pimpin, and his collaboration with Kanye West, Niggas in Paris, where they sing, “You know how many hot b****** I own?”. Even the well known indie pop singer Lykke Li perpetuates the prostitute culture as she sings, “Like a shotgun needs an outcome, I’m your prostitute, you gon’ get some” in her song Get Some.
One of the most popular adventure-action video games, Grand Theft Auto, has had many controversies surrounding it’s violent and criminal fictional activities since it’s first version. In Grand Theft Auto III, the violence and crime within the game continued to get worse, with new technologies making the image look more realistic. Also within this new version, the characters were able to solicit sex from prostitutes in order to boost their health, and were also able to then kill them in order to keep their money.
Reality TV and Marketing
In 2004, MTV debuted a new reality television show called Pimp My Ride, which upgraded and customized older and run-down cars. While the show itself did not promote the pimp lifestyle, simply by naming the show as they did begins to normalize the word ‘pimp’ and gives a misrepresentation of the definition of the word.
In addition to Pimp My Ride, there have numerous other shows and products using the word pimp out of context, using it to imply that something is made better or improved from what it once was. It was through these names that the word become used in everyday language.
There are also a number of celebrities that are former, or current, pimps – showing a glamorize side to the life that young men, and women, strive to achieve. Highly recognizable people like Snoop Lion (previously known as Snoop Dogg) and Hugh Hefner pride themselves in their grand lifestyle that includes an abundance of material items and women. However, Snoop Lion has been open about his past life as a pimp, while Hugh Hefner is known for his Playboy legacy, which includes the Playboy mansion and bunnies – the women who live with him. While some of the women who have been a part of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy world have denied rumors of exploitation, others have spoken out about being forced to perform sexual acts against their will and about unwillingly participating in Hefner’s reality television series without compensation.
Another celebrity who is very well known for his involvement as a pimp is Don “Magic” Juan, who is highly regarded among pimps as a poster child for the pimp culture and who ran one of the most successful prostitution rings. Currently a hip-hop artist, actor, and fashion designer, he founded The Player’s Ball, an annual award ceremony for pimps around the country, most often hosted in his home city of Chicago.
All of these messages – whether obvious or subtle – help to form the minds of children, youth, and young adults, as well as sometimes older adults, making it seemingly alright to belittle women and exploit them. It is encouraging to see actors, musicians, and other leaders in the entertainment and media world taking a stand against stereotypes of women and speak out against trafficking, but it is also important to form a greater sense of self-esteem and good morals in the youth in our own communities. The task of changing certain parts of our culture is not an easy task, but can be done over time with the help of many.