Interview by Karen Campbell, UBA Guest EditorAdditional Statistics on Human TraffickingInterview with Charlotte Morris, Second Baptist Church
How are you involved in addressing human trafficking?I play the role of liaison and translator between our ministries who have events and our technical team who build the tools we need to track that data. I do not have an assigned work role that ties me to human trafficking. However, Second Baptist supports my passion and pursuits and I have been a liaison for our members to get involved and to provide necessary items to victims. I am a Social Worker and prefer that title as a reference to who I am because it better defines my heart and ministry.
I have been involved in Rescue and Restore as well as Coalition Against Human Trafficking for the past 4 years. I've had some affiliation with Not For Sale and Redeemed Ministries also. As the President of the Coalition Against Human Trafficking, I also sat as a representative in the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance (our Houston area law enforcement coalition). Another great new group that is coming up is Freedom Place. Like Home of Hope, this is going to be a safe house for girls being rescued from prostitution. Children At Risk and Arrow Family Ministries are partnering with many years of knowledge and experience to provide a safe and therapeutic living environment for women who are rescued. They are campaigning now to engage congregations to get involved with this developing ministry through financial and in-kind support.
The reason I've not been involved with them or the others this past year is because of my battle with cancer. I've had several surgeries and am now facing another one shortly. That's not squelched my passion and calling; it just thwarts my ability to be present for meetings and events. When I get past this, I will be back out there as He leads me. What prompted you to become involved?God brought the issue to me through media coverage. He laid it on my heart to begin preparing for whatever way I would need to be a part of the ministry to help those who are affected, at risk, or trapped in the cycle of brokenness that leads to this exploitation. I began attending seminars to educate myself on what is going on and what is being done. I joined the local coalitions and began serving through raising awareness, leading trainings, fundraising, and collecting items for rescued victims and their families. How do you put a "face on" a subject so vast as human trafficking?You start by understanding who the victims are, what their backgrounds are, and what happens to them. Tell real stories that have happened to people and be transparent about the effects. Talk about the foreign situations that cross borders and the next door teenager who has run away twice and was just arrested for prostitution. Talk about the sexual sin that men in our own pews struggle with and how that adds to the trafficking trade. Talk about the factories that reign over generations of slaves so that they don't have to pay for their production. Talk also about the difference between smuggling and trafficking.
What do you think the church can/should do about the issue?The church has a duty to pay attention to this issue, to be beacons to the world, and to care for those who are suffering from it. (Read one church's story) We can educate our church families, educate the places we go in the global mission field, and we can love those who are trapped by the bonds of greed, power, and sin that drive the trafficking industry. We can collect items, have drives, sponsor programs, and mentor those who are at risk of being a victim. We can develop programs for offenders that empower their families - that will find healing for their brokenness and teach them God's complete love for them. We can sponsor "John Schools" (educating men buying sex from women, boys, and girls) in our communities and work with local law enforcement to redirect and replenish instead of reprimand offenders.
Have you seen anything to date that helps you know that you are on the right path?God's path has been ever changing for me. He led me to immigrants then specifically to human trafficking. The fruit of my obedience to His direction became the ministry I led and the way I served not just a cause but specific people. I met many of them personally and I continue to minister to them in very personal and intentional ways. I've gotten to see their children, to hear their stories, and to know that the rescuing of one person has a generational effect.
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