Recently, I returned from Las Vegas where a group of 30 of us were combatting the sex trafficking that surrounds Super Bowl week. Within the fight for freedom from this horrible industry lies the question: Is it more important to rescue the victims or arrest the traffickers?
This is always an underlying, internal battle within a lot of us who are involved in this mission. For immediate impact, we want to get the girls out and into a safe place; every night they have to endure that life is unimaginably awful. But when we sit back and look at the big picture, we see the sustained impact that will come when we go after the perpetrators. When we place our focus on catching them, we know we’re saving future girls from being lured into their trap.
The two groups I served with this past month had their own unique approach to the fight. Two former military-men-turned-pastors were leading our group to not only rescue the women who were being trafficked, but to also confront the “Johns” — men who were hiring these girls for their services. They would meet the men in the hotel rooms and literally share the Gospel with them. They would ask them how we could help them and how we could pray for them. The whole mission here was to let them know, “There’s somebody who sent me to talk to you and I want to introduce you to Him; His name is Jesus. Whatever you’re struggling with, whatever you’re fighting, you don’t have to go through this by yourself. You have a Father who’s right there with you. He hurts for you; He hurts for these girls. You’re not too far gone that God’s given up on you.”
Though there were some men who would just walk out, thankful they weren’t being arrested, we also heard some stories of men who would go home, sit down with their wives to tell them what they had done, then call our team with the desire to meet with us so we could help them work through this. These men are hurting, they’re tired. They have an addiction and a lot of them don’t necessarily want to have the addiction, but they don’t know how to get rid of it. By experiencing people love on them and want to help them get through it, they see a glimpse of hope.
For the most part, when people hear you tell them about God’s love, it’s never a foreign concept for them. Without Christ in our lives, we all have a hole, and deep down we know that something is needed to fill it. Maybe there’s backstory to their journey, one which led them away from Christ. But they all desperately need to know of His love and forgiveness for them.
This is a unique approach, and it’s not the only way to handle this fight. But this method gives us a way to impact the eternal lives of these men. Sometimes the best way to attack these situations isn’t the most obvious or conventional one. God had His hand all over this mission. Every morning as our team sat down to pray over our mission and study the Bible before we went out, we would pray for opportunities to change lives. We prayed for hearts to be open to the Gospel.
When you trust that God has everything under control and know He’s guiding you, you follow. Not only did we see many men begin to the change direction of their lives on this trip, we were able to rescue many women from the industry, flying them out of town to safe, God-centered rehab facilities.
There is so much violence and injustice globally that is just not dealt with. There are people trapped in places with no hope of getting out. We as a society do incredible humanitarian work around the world. Through the world food program, we feed more than 81 million people a day! We spend billions of dollars in order to drop food to people in places that need it. We have great water programs, creating clean water sources for those who need it. We help create school programs where education is lacking. We help build churches where there are none. We have awesome missionaries out there spreading the Word of God.
But there are a lot of areas where justice needs to be implemented. There is still a huge void when it comes to saving people from trafficking industries, whether that’s labor, domestic or sex trafficking.
This is my passion. God has made it very clear in His Word that we are to be His hands and His feet to the oppressed, the widows, the orphans and those who are taken advantage of. Our call is to love everybody. Part of showing that love to them is making sure they are treated the way we would want to be treated, that they are being defended the way we would want to be defended, and that they have a voice in this world just as we have a voice.
This is God’s work. Whether those who are fighting against sex trafficking are sitting down with these individuals and directly sharing the Gospel with them, or they are doing the dirty work of bringing the perpetrators to justice, they are all answering God’s call to bring justice to those He calls His sons and daughters.
The Holy Spirit is active and at work in this mission. God is working through us to see His Kingdom built up in even the darkest of places.
— Adam LaRoche, former MLB player