WACO–In a dimly lit room in the corner of the Waco Convention Center, a group of individuals left no seat empty to gather in hopes of learning more about a commonly misunderstood topic: human trafficking. Dr. Tomi Grover, author of Compelled, and Jay Abernathy, pastor of First Baptist Church, Palestine, defined human trafficking, gave ways to effect change, told of a new East Texas non-profit helping young girls and provided resources available to help educate Texas Baptists.
DEFINING HUMAN TRAFFICKING
"This is the very heart of God. Want to know where God is? Look in the darkness. [Human trafficking] is the darkest thing happening in the world today," Grover said. "We think of this as happening on the other side of the globe, but we have to look in our lives."
Grover went on to explain every child in the United States is at risk. Their risk increases as they gain access to the Internet because the Internet is traffickers number one recruiting grounds.
WAYS TO EFFECT CHANGE
Both Grover and Abernathy passionately conveyed that to stop human trafficking, individuals must begin to educate themselves on the subject, no matter how heartbreaking. More people are enslaved around the world today than at any other time in history. I-10 – the east to west interstate running between New Mexico and Louisiana – is the number one traffic route for human trafficking, with a third of its route located in Texas.
Abernathy emphasized the effect pornography has on the trafficking industry.
"Online pornography is wrecking us," Abernathy strongly vocalized. "Fifth grade is the average age one is exposed to pornography and eighty-one percent of college males report regularly accessing pornography."
Grover agreed with the huge part pornography plays in trafficking by sharing some of her story:
"This is one of the most passionate pieces I talk about, because of the influence of pornography in my life. My dad was a porn consumer and he sexual abused all 4 of us and it was in my earliest memories until I was 14. I can tell you pornography is much more prevalent today than ever before in history. You don't have to go to a seedy bookstore or truck stop anymore. It's in your pocket on your phone."
If Texas Baptists can minister to those in local congregations with a pornography addiction, a lasting impact can be made on future generations. Just as the current young generation has cut tobacco use to half, can a generation be raised who cuts pornography use in half too?
REFUGE OF LIGHT
Refuge of Light is an East Texas non-profit started by Abernathy's church, created as a ministry to provide a safe haven [currently to 12 girls], redemptive rescue and restoration of female victims of domestic minor sex trafficking through advocacy, awareness and holistic care.
The uniqueness of the ministry is striving to create a reproducible model so others can become more involved.
The key to becoming involved in the growing human trafficking industry issue, is to become knowledgable. Grover encourages individuals to not be shortsighted when addressing human trafficking or pornography in congregations.
For more information on these topics, Grover and Abernathy suggest visiting:
- Tomi Grover's website;
- Covenant Eyes (get one month free with the promo code: STOP);
- Refuge of Light website; and
- White Ribbon Against Pornography.
Also, feel free to contact Tomi Grover by emailing: tomi [at] tomigrover.com and Refuge of Light by calling: (903) 279-8769.
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