Sex Trafficking Missions
This is the quarterly, field ministry report of one of my students. Her name is Christine Winters. I am sharing this with her permission.
There are many kinds of missions. Honestly, I think that some "missions" are merely Christian Vacations, and many others are nothing more than vanity operations mixed with outmoded colonialism. However, there are also Christian missions that do really important work. When I think of how God was almost continually chastising Israel for not caring for the widows, orphans and downtrodden, I am confident that He is pleased with the work that Christine did in Las Vegas. - Scott
Christine Writes: This an account of my first mission trip. I had an incredible week in Las Vegas working with a wonderful nonprofit organization called F.R.E.E. International who works on the front lines combatting sex trafficking. We spent the week doing different outreaches. We visited massage parlors to help gather intel for the police department that they could use to determine if they were a legitimate massage parlor or a front for an illegal brothel (many of them were). We also visited legal brothels and were able to talk with some of the girls there.
We found out that one young girl started working at the brothel because she was going to medical school and didn’t want any student debt. She found out that she could make
more money giving her body to men than if she were to continue school and become a doctor. My heart just absolutely broke for her and I keep her in my prayers every day.
We also were able to join what they call “The Big Search”. This happens every year around the time of the Superbowl. Teams are sent out to different areas of the city and hand out missing children flyers. As a direct result of our outreach of handing out flyers around the city, 13 of 29 missing kids have been found so far and are now safe. Incidentally, we found out that one of the girls on our list of missing children was being trafficked in the same hotel we were all staying in. It was happening at the time we were there! This revelation was so heartbreakingly eye-opening.
During the Big Search outreach, I had quite a scary encounter in one of the shadier parts of the city. I was approached by who I believed was a pimp. After he placed himself between me and the girl next to me, he started asking me personal questions and pushing me with his body to try and separate me from the group I was with. In that moment, I was the most scared I have ever been in my life. The others who I was with quickly saw what was happening and I was able to get away. Honestly, it broke me. I was able to get away, but how many other girls and boys out there aren’t as lucky as I was? I know it was totally God’s hand of protection on me. I prayed that night for the man that approached me. I know that he is lost and is completely blinded by the evil of Satan.
In addition to “The Big Search”, my favorite outreach that I participated in was the call center outreach. A group of girls took computers and looked up escorts in the Las Vegas vicinity. We then used burner phones to text them and were able to reach 81 working girls. We told them we were a group of ladies that get together to reach out to girls and try and help them get out of "the life." We gave them the Trafficking hotline number and were even asked by a couple of girls for prayer. I had one girl that I was talking with for about an hour. She is now in my thoughts and prayers daily.
Although I was emotionally drained when I got home, I was more pumped up and
passionate over this than anything I have been in a while. They have several times during the year that they open for mission work and I am planning on going back in a few months. I’m not entirely sure if this is where God wants me to be permanently, but the desire to go back is so strong that I can’t ignore it.
My Final Thought: I seldom get excited about missions that take place inside of the US, but this is an amazing ministry. As one who serves the restricted Church, I live by the Scripture, "Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." Hebrews 13:3 NIV. I think that Scripture is quite apropos for a ministry that ministers freedom to the unseen in our society; people that are oftentimes, literally prisoners. May the Lord bless the work of FREE International and may He raise up more workers to serve those who are in chains.