A little over two years ago a group of us began praying together for ways we could make a difference in the world we live in. Not long after, the issue of Human Sex Trafficking and Exploitation was placed on all of our hearts.
At the time, some of us did not know much about the injustice, and some had experienced aspects of the traumatic reality. We continued to pray, and draw closer to the vision and mission we were being shown. Then one day, I heard a whisper that drew my heart to the cause. I heard the words, "What if this was Your Daughter?" Those words put a picture in my mind of one of my little daughters trapped in a room behind bars with a sad face. It broke my heart and tears came down my cheek as I thought about my own daughter. At that point, I felt just a flicker of what God feels for every little child or adult girl that is trapped in commercial sexual exploitation. Instantly, this was the message I needed to hear to do something about the growing social injustice.
Studying the issue, I learned that most of the time, the injustice of purchasing sex can start with an addiction to pornography. Men and women progress to a deeper and darker place in their lives and some eventually end up buying sex. No person should ever be treated as a commodity. It’s a sad reality, but it shows where we need to start. I found out the statistics of men inside the church who are looking at pornography and so, my question to any man who is looking at porn is, "What if this was your daughter and some other man was looking at her?"
In Malachi 4:6 it says, He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.
After months of praying, we took action. The first step was to raise up a billboard on Highway 169 in Minnesota, raising awareness of the issue. The team continued to pray and next, a friend within the ministry wanted to start a 5K Race to raise awareness & finances to give people the opportunity to be a part of ending trafficking and exploitation. My wife Jenna and I continued to pray and give towards an organization called Crisis Rescue International, a ministry formed by friends of ours who travel across seas to rescue little children out of the sex trade and bring them into centers for restoration. They are amazing people with an amazing message.
Our next step, through this ministry Action169, is to continue tackling the issue in the United States. Teamed up with co-founders & trusted volunteers, we have launched a Call to Action, which brings awareness of the issue and the needed response into the Church. There has also been opportunity to pray for and assist in the training of frontline law-enforcement who are a significant part of putting an end to this injustice, an injustice that is happening closer to home than some may realize. As a team, we are also reaching out to women in the commercial sex industry to bring a message that they are loved.
Our next step in moving forward, and due to recent opportunities, is to raise support in hopes of funding a safe room, a place where young women can find safety and restoration from a trafficking and/or exploitive situation.
National and State of Minnesota
The International Labor Organization conservatively estimates that 4.5 million people around the world are currently forced into sexual exploitation and 98% of these victims are women and girls.
At least 15,000 people are trafficking into the United States annually. 1
75%: Girls entangled in prostitution networks controlled by a sex trafficker or pimp. 3
By very conservative measures, a November 2010 study found that each month in Minnesota at least 213 girls are sold for sex an average of five times per day through the Internet and escort services. This number does not include hotel, street or gang activity. 5
In 2010, investigators from three states determined that Minneapolis was the home base of a large domestic prostitution (sex trafficking) ring comprised of three generations of one Minnesota family that was prostituting (trafficking) mostly young girls across the United States. 5
A November 2010 study found that on any given weekend night in Minnesota, 45 girls under age 18 are sold for sex through the internet classified websites & escort services. 3
About 50% of adult women interviewed as part of a 2010 study focused on North Minneapolis stated that they first traded sex when they were under the age of 18, with the average age at 13. 6
In just one 72-hour sting over the summer, an FBI-led operation rescued 105 children and netted 152 pimps in 76 cities nationwide, including four alleged pimps in the Twin Cities.
Here is How You Can Help
Action169 has a Freedom 5K 10K each year. We would love to have you join us. Not a runner? We are also looking for volunteers to help with the race route.
Or, feel free to pray, or give towards the vision and mission as we move forward! We are a team of individuals with a passion within the marketplace to make a difference in today's world. We do not take paychecks from the ministry and give 100% of the donations to the cause.
Join us in the mission to make a difference as a Freedom Fighter!!
To find out more about Action169, visit our website at Action169.com
1. U. S. Department of Justice, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.
2. Richard J. Estes and Neil Weiner, “The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children In the U. S., Canada and Mexico,” University of Pennsylvania, February 2002.
3. The Schapiro Group, “Adolescent Girls in the United States Sex Trade." Tracking Study Results for November 2010
4. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Efforts to Combat Crimes Against Children, Chapter 4: Non-Cyber Sexual Exploitation of Children.
5. Chao Xiong and Allie Shah, StarTribune, “Somali Gang Linked to Minnesota Sex Ring,” September 23, 2010
6. Martin, L. (2010). The prostitution project: Community-based research on sex trading in north Minneapolis. CURA Reporter, Fall-Winter 2010.
7. U.S. State Department, Trafficking in Persons Report, 2010