As you may already know, Hope61 is a human trafficking PREVENTION ministry. This may confuse some people, or people may accidentally ignore the word “prevention” all together. Both cases are understandable since most other human trafficking organizations are primarily rescue. It may be assumed that that’s how we work here at Hope61.
However, that is not the case.
We are a prevention ministry. This means we do a lot of awareness raising, not just about human trafficking, but about God’s love and who Jesus is. I believe this is a momentous part of the body of Christ. We may never see the effects of the work God has called us to do, but we also know God did not call us to this ministry to waste our time or His.
Part of our vision is to change the root beliefs specifically in the lives of the vulnerable, whether they are vulnerable to becoming pimps, johns, prostitutes, or slave owners.
In some cultures it is believed to be an honor to be able to prostitute yourself to make money for your family. In places like South Africa it is believed that having sex with a virgin cures AIDS. Then in other cultures it is believed that women are merely objects, and that their only purpose is for the pleasure of men and to be used for reproduction.
Going into a different culture (or even our own) and telling people what they’re doing is wrong and that their lives are full of sin will fix nothing (especially if they believe what they’re doing will cure them of a fatal disease or please a god). But building relationships and showing people they’re loved and have value will build trust and respect. We have to show people they’re loved before we can show them they’re wrong. We have to allow people to see Jesus in us.And when we really get down to the most basic root problem, it’s then we find out we’re all the same. We all need something. However, some people have misplaced their needs and put their trust and hope in things that will fail them. Some people think they need more money, more sex, more alcohol, more drugs, more friends, a better job, a bigger home, a nicer car, a husband, or a child, and will do anything to attain these things in hopes that it will subside their feelings of emptiness or purposelessness. But in reality, those things only leave us searching for more.
What our hearts really long for is Jesus.
It breaks my heart to know that people are abusing each other and chasing after empty things that don’t last in order to make a name for themselves, to reach an empty goal, or to simply feel good. It breaks my heart knowing that some people don’t know they can live for something so much bigger than themselves. That is why we need to show people. Our actions, our words, our emotions, our habits, our reactions…all these things can reflect the life of Jesus if we allow them to.
I heard a man named Eric telling a story about how he was at a McDonald’s in the Philippines. As he was eating his lunch, a white man came in with two young Filipino girls. Eric said all he wanted to do was beat up the white man because he knew exactly what the white man was going to do, or had already done to these two little girls. However, Eric said he went over to the table and with a stern voice and said to him, “God created you, and He loves you.”
God loves me just as much as He loves you. He loves you just as much as He loves the murderer. He loves the murderer just as much as He loves the pastor. He loves the pastor just as much as He loves the rapist. He created every single one of us and loves us all the same. We need to live out this truth in order for God to reveal it to those who need it.
That is one of the major ways Hope61 seeks to prevent trafficking; by exposing the lies the devil has told and replacing them with the truth of God’s word.
“In order to fulfill the vision of Hope61, OMS sends missionaries (HOPE61 trainers) around the world to work with the national churches to equip coworkers to prevent trafficking. Our national partners accomplish this through evangelism, discipleship, training, and intentional community building with those that are vulnerable to become involved in human trafficking.”
“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible – and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” – Ephesians 5:13