Human trafficking in your community? Most likely. Human trafficking takes many forms.
Josh Avery, a campus pastor and Set Free Movement leader in Canfield, Ohio, didn’t feel he could sit by and do nothing when he saw the injustices happening in his local community. After spending time in prayer and learning about their community, Josh and his Set Free Movement team felt called to move forward in three distinct ways: prevention of human trafficking, mobilization of the community and rescue work.
The Canfield team realized how traffickers often recruit women to work in strip clubs and then force them into trafficking situations. In fall 2019, the team began working with local partners to minister to and mentor women in local strip clubs. Through intentional relationship building, they are preventing trafficking and creating new futures by letting the women know they are loved and created in the image of God.
Once a month a group of women from the Set Free team visits and builds relationships with women in three strip clubs, bringing meals or small gifts. The team’s men serve as the drivers and also watch and pray as the women are inside. The team partners with Rahab Ministries to ensure members are engaging in safe and thoughtful ways.
To date, team members have made monthly visits at three different clubs, a total of 12 times (with a By The Set Free Movement Team short pause due to COVID), continuing to build relationships and create new futures.
Kelly, a leader of the strip club ministry, shares how she is seeing impact through these visits:
They [the dancers] see that we are there to develop relationships with them, and the key words with these relationships are “unconditional love.” We hear them say to each other as they take their gifts and go back, “Who brings us stuff? … She remembered my name.” They share their lives with us … they tell us their dreams … we are seeing walls come down.
In the long term, this transformational ministry will help establish relationships necessary to help women get out of the industry. Please pray for this new ministry. Pray those at risk will be kept safe. Pray for life transformation!
Learn more about this ministry through the video posted below.