Sex trafficking is one of the horrible realities that this world. Many women (including children) fall to this trap creating a devastating physical, emotional and spiritual damage to their being. Recently, Delighting Grace interviewed one of the ministry on the frontline of sex trafficking, LightForce International.
Delighting Grace: Hello Anna, how did you got involved in this kind of ministry?
Anna: While living and working in Central America, I learned about a specific area where girls as young as twelve years old were working in prostitution. I was shocked to discover what was taking place and that no one was working in this area to stop it. Until that time, I knew nothing of sex trafficking, how it happened, or that it was a global issue. Upon learning of this issue, my heart longed to fight against the injustice, and in order to do that, I knew I had to understand the workings of prostitution in the country. One cannot work to stop sex trafficking without working to stop prostitution. There is a direct correlation between the two. A small team of us began to bring food to the people who were selling their bodies on street corners and in brothels. Through time, we were able to develop trusting relationships with the people who were being exploited and abused. It’s amazing what a simple cup of coffee, a hot meal, or a hug will do.
Delighting Grace: Can you describe what the victims are going through?
Anna: A feeling of utter hopelessness and despair. Their rights have been taken from them and they are treated as slaves leaving them to believe they are worthless and forgotten.
Delighting Grace: How does Light Force help them not only on their case but in leading them to Christ?
Anna: We use a relational model to rescue victims because fighting to break the physical chains (pimps, brothels, and lover boys) is difficult, but working against the mental, generational and cultural opposition is often harder to fight than the physical realm of control. It is our heart to bridge the gap of trust that has been broken. We offer a way out the sex industry through the “AGAPE” house; a fully operational center for counseling, English classes, Bible studies, worship nights, and other programs, designed to help victims of sexual exploitation receive healing and learn to establish a new life for themselves.
Delighting Grace: What are the advantages and disadvantages in this kind of ministry especially for women?
Anna: It is advantageous in the ministry to be a woman in the fact that the majority of people who are sexually exploited are female and often will trust and relate to another female easier.
The disadvantages are in the aspect of danger. Due to the fact that a large portion of consumers of the commercial sex industry are men we are often outnumbered and potentially subject to situations of inappropriate comments or behavior. Therefore it is our policy to never have any women from our team outreaching or visiting the victims without the men on our team present. It is much too dangerous.
Delighting Grace: Is there a thing called getting involved too much in ministering to abused women and children? I mean we have limitations but we need to meet their needs. How do you balance that?
Anna: Yes, I believe that many times in ministry if we are not careful we can adapt a savior mentality and forget to rely on the Holy Spirit to work in and through the lives of those around us. God loves these people more than I ever could and when I rely on that truth, there is a freedom that comes into play allowing me not to strive to rescue and help everyone we meet. Many caregivers that work with victims of abuse often develop secondary trauma from hearing and seeing so much tragedy. It is heavy and draining and therefore very necessary to balance having a life separate from the ministry at hand. Otherwise, when you are working with victims, you are not rested and can be just as discouraged as they themselves. When they encounter a caregiver they should encounter a rested person, full of hope and life. You cannot instill in others what you don’t have yourself.
Delighting Grace: My blog has interviewed ministries on purity, so I want to ask how teens can stand up for sexual purity at school? How do they start letting others pre-marital sex is wrong?
Anna: When we travel and speak to teenagers on purity, we find that many lack the knowledge of the consequences of premarital sex and even a basic understanding of what sex is and the purpose in which it was designed. Sexual immorality is a giant that is plaguing this generation and in order to fight this giant, we have to go to the root. In LightForce, we believe at the root is the education of sexual purity. Young people everywhere taking a stand against pornography (which a tool that fuels trafficking), telling their friends that a large percentage of actors in pornographic films are actually victims of sex trafficking, is one way to fight. Other ways are for teens to understand from a biblical perspective what sex is and why God created sex and then passing that info along. Education and taking a stand are ways we raise our voice and fight.
Delighting Grace: For those reading this interview, what are ways to cultivate a compassionate heart for this kind of ministry and how do you rekindle it over and over again?
Anna: It is imperative to know and understand what you are fighting and to see it through the eyes of God. I am constantly praying that God would allow me to see sexual brokenness through His eyes. Broken has a name, a face and a dream. As long as I continue to see them as a real person and not a mission or statistic, my compassion remains pure and fresh. Every time I look these broken people in the eyes and see them as a child of God, someone He loves without shame, my heart is rekindled.
Delighting Grace: Our readers would love to know about your ministry and how to get involved. Please invite them to check you out.
Anna: Yes, we would love for people to know about us! Please visit our website and feel free to drop us an email! www.lightforceintl.com
Delighting Grace: Thank you for the opportunity to interview you and your ministry! God bless you!!!