Archive for February 23rd, 2023

Free to Thrive


Written by Roger Martin, from the Village Church.  Roger volunteers with Free to Thrive, a legal organization that supports those impacted by human trafficking.

Sarah (not her real name) grew up in an abusive household where family members regularly molested her. At the age of 14, after running away from home, she met a young man who promised to take care of her and give her a place to stay.  At first, he was very kind to her. But soon, he demanded that she pay for rent and food.  He bought her a fake ID and forced her strip and perform sex acts for customers at a local strip club each night.  During the day, he would force her to walk the West Hollywood streets. Over the next 10 years, she was arrested and charged with prostitution a half-dozen times, both as a minor and as an adult, serving time for crimes she was forced to commit.  She never would reveal her pimp’s identity to the police for fear of what he would do to her. Her shame and hopelessness isolated her from everyone.  Her criminal record prevented her from getting a job or renting an apartment herself.  She tried to leave her pimp twice, but he threatened her younger brother, so she returned to him and resigned herself to “the life.”  She was truly, inescapably in exile. In 2018, Sarah was again arrested for prostitution.  But the arresting officer knew of a faith-based safe house recovery program and diverted her to it.  Showing God’s love for her, they got her the help and support she needed to leave her pimp and vouched for her to get a job in a special work program.  Today, Sarah has completed her college degree and is working as a security guard at night.  But she is still victimized by her criminal record every time a potential employer or government agency does a background check.  A team of attorneys is currently working to get her criminal record cleared under new California laws that provide relief for survivors of sex trafficking.  Soon, with God’s help, her journey out of exile will be complete.


Today’s prayer is from World Vision, an organization that works with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.

Dear Lord, just as You helped Moses and Aaron as they spoke boldly to Pharaoh on behalf of the Hebrew slaves in Egypt, help us speak up for modern-day slaves around the world. We pray that through our actions we can help bring an end to human trafficking. Amen.

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