It Takes a Village Fighting Human Trafficking Together

We are all familiar with the proverb, “It takes a village”, right? If you are like me, you’ve heard it in the context of raising a child. Recently, Rescue Houston participated in an event where that proverb took on an entirely different meaning for me.

On Thursday, November 8, The Story Houston hosted Freedom’s Fight, a night dedicated to raising awareness of Houston’s human trafficking epidemic. Anti-slavery organizations from all across the city came out to share their insight and experiences in what they’ve seen and learned firsthand, and most importantly, what can be done to fight back. Those who shared their story were Elijah Rising, United Against Human Trafficking, The Landing, Free the Captives, Freedom Place and Sergeant John Wall-who oversees the Houston Police Department’s Human Trafficking Unit. Sgt. Wall began the evening with a presentation detailing the realities of the sex trade in Houston. During his presentation, he shared that there are over 500 active establishments in Houston alone where the sex trade operates. The highest group trafficked persons were girls between 14-17 years old. I will never forget when he said that in all of his years of police work, he has never encountered a harsher reality than that of human trafficking.

After his presentation, the panel of organizations explained their angle in fighting trafficking and gave the audience the opportunity to ask questions.  It was incredible to see so many passionate advocates-skilled and committed in their strategy-combatting trafficking. We all attack a different side of battlefront, yet are fighting the same war.

All too often it’s easy to feel the weight of what we are up against knowing there are 500 brothels operating in this city. It can be difficult not to lose perspective and to remember we aren’t alone. How crucial it is to know we aren’t in this alone. Rescue Houston isn’t fighting alone. We have been blessed with fantastic partners, advocates, and supporters who each bring something to the cause. Looking at the alliance of partners, I was humbled to know that while none of us have the monopoly on the solution, we do have a village. A really big village. It’s village of diverse people with multiple skill sets and specialized responses to meet the needs of those exploited. We are fighting on multiple fronts to bring the number of brothels in this city from 500 to 0.I hope you know you possess the ability to join the fight alongside us. You are a part of our village. Whatever experience or skills you have, there is an opportunity to serve. I encourage you to check out how to get involved with Rescue Houston by clicking here.  Whether praying, serving as a volunteer or donating, there is a need and place for you here with Rescue Houston.

The Unspoken Truth of the Sex Industry

His voice was shaky, and he couldn’t stop rambling. Then the words “I am in the porn industry” came out of his mouth. I took a deep breath and started to pray for God to guide me through this call.

My mind was racing as he started to tell me about his life and the “work” he does. You could hear the outcry as he continued to say his health is deteriorating and he has a knot in his stomach that he can’t get rid of.

When we think of sex trafficking we automatically think of brothels, strip clubs, and the people working on the streets. What about the porn industry? I’m educated about the demand side of trafficking and well aware that pornography is the gate way to seeking out a prostituted person. Yet, I never thought about the people being exploited behind the camera. Who is there to support them?

As he talked, I felt like my blinders were removed and I could see clearly into his heart. He wrestled with the work he did, but the money overpowered it. As I let him continue to vent about having over 20 sex scenes with different people I could feel my heart break. How could I miss this industry?

He paused and said he saw a counselor in LA who told him the unrest he felt was normal. The words were at the tip of my tongue and finally poured out. “I am deeply sorry, but no. What you are feeling is not normal,” I told him. “Your health is at risk and the knot in your stomach is your spirit crying out for help.” I was able to give him information to seek counseling and affirm him that he is not alone.  After ending the call I realized the lack of help for the people in the porn industry. My prayer is that more resources come available to truly help the people in the porn industry, and we all gain a deeper understanding to the pain of those stuck in this industry.

Assembling the Intercessors and Watchmen

On Thursday, October 25th, a group from across Houston gathered at The Great Southwest Prayer Center (GSWPC) and drew near to God’s throne, receiving the mercy and grace we need to free all in our city who are in sexual bondage.

As I drove to Katy on my way to the prayer and worship night that launched Anti-Trafficking Weapon #1 (ATW1), I looked to my left and saw a large memorial in Freedom Park with the words “Air Force”, “Navy”, “Marine Corp”, “Army”, and “Coast Guard” on each side of its base. It hit me that every branch of the armed forces was represented, and I felt God’sYes.” — He is assembling the armed forces on the front line, and this prayer team is a very tactical piece impacting them all.

When I arrived, my friend Stephanie Leggett of the GSWPC greeted me at the door wearing an army green vest over a black dress. Funny, because I’d thrown an army green jacket over my Jesus Image shirt before walking out the door. There had been zero discussion of attire, but moments later, in walked Alex Gerbasi of the Oil & Gas Trafficking Advocacy Group wearing a camo tee under an army green jacket. Should’ve known. These two warrior women have only been in my life a short while, but we’re kindred. The fruit of our meeting and purpose of the night was just this, to call and equip intercessors to cover the front line of Houston’s anti-sex trafficking movement.

While I’m mostly ignorant of our military’s inner-workings, I suppose that to get stuff done efficiently, every branch must strategically share the intel they gather, remain in their respective lanes, and be prepared to affect operations as needed. I imagine that the needs and discoveries of all are reported to a centralized entity, sifted and then disseminated along with response strategies.

Well, in the Kingdom, that “centralized entity” is God’s throne of grace. From this place, we receive all that is needed to overcome the darkness of sex trafficking as well as every form of bondage that steals the beauty, love, and joys found in intimacy with Him and one another. From His throne that is as near to us as our willingness to approach it, the Lord hears and activates His people and angels to bring heaven to earth.

There’s no greater hope for the women, children, and men of all ages who are being bought, sold, and used for sexual gratification or financial gain; same for those who exploit and advocate for them. Yes, the darkness gets so much darker than most can imagine, but there is a unity and refinement that is happening among the people of God — a fresh outpouring of vision and strategy that is increasing faith and confidence in the Lord’s plan. Houston WILL be redeemed for His glory and our people will be set free!

If you’re stirred to take your place as an intercessor and watchman covering the battlefield of sex trafficking and sexual bondage, I invite you to get equipped. Join us for a mandatory training on Saturday, November 17th and commit to interceding for requests from Rescue Houston and other front line agencies including Love People Not Pixels, Operation Texas Shield, OGTAG, and more. Your prayer commitment may include one or more of the following categories:

  • Victims and Survivors
  • Pimps and Johns
  • Front Line Ministries
  • Legislative Efforts
  • Corporate Social Responsibility

Please RSVP to prayeratw1@gmail.com. We look forward to seeing you there!

If you’re a leader of a front line organization that desires increased intercession for those you serve as well as your agency, ATW1 is honored to share your requests with the intercessors. Please email your interest to prayeratw1@gmail.com.

HUGE thanks to the Great Southwest Prayer Center and Freedom Church Alliance for your support! To my girls in green, I’m so deeply thankful for your faith and profound love for Jesus. Thank you, Stephanie, for coordinating the space, worship, prayer training and resources provided by GSWPC, and to Alex, for your years of intercession and administration of this anti-sex trafficking prayer movement. Honored to be joined with you at home with Him — expectant of the abundant harvest.

“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.”

“God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil.” – Mother Teresa

“She (my mother) became a warrior far superior to any epic hero. She became a giant on her knees. With a sword in one hand she battled the enemies of death and disease, and with her other hand stretched toward heaven she kept beseeching God’s help and His mercy.” —Bishop T.D. Jakes

“We must discover where we are in prayer if we are to be effective… how to be a part of the legal process of Heaven that grants God the legal right to fulfill His passion on our behalf and in the Earth.” —Robert Henderson

“True prayer is neither a mere mental exercise nor a vocal performance. It is far deeper than that — it is spiritual transaction with the Creator of Heaven and Earth.” —Charles Spurgeon

“I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day.” —Abraham Lincoln