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Baptist Women’s Groups Sponsoring Second Conference on Ministry to Women in Prostitution

Psychologist, author and lecturer Dan Allender, who has written extensively on recovery from sexual abuse, is scheduled as keynote speaker for an International Christian Conference on Prostitution, April 22-27, 2006 at Green Lake Conference Center in Wisconsin

Sponsored by Baptist the World Alliance Women’s Department, American Baptist Women’s Ministries and International Ministries of American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A., the conference will feature leaders of regional ministries from Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

The conference is for people involved with ministries to men and women in prostitution and those who want to start a ministry. It is intended to “serve as a catalyst for creating and cementing regional and global networks, while offering emotional and physical renewal,” according to a brochure.

Lauran Bethell, an international consultant based in Prague, Czech Republic, who works to encourage and facilitate Christian ministries addressing the exploitation of women and children, is in charge of the planning process.

The 2005 recipient of the Baptist World Alliance Human Rights Award, Bethell was a teacher at an international school in Hong Kong when she felt called into missionary service. She returned to the United States and after seminary was commissioned by American Baptist International Ministries for service in Thailand.

During a year of language study in Bangkok, Bethell witnessed the plight of young women and girls sold, tricked or willfully drawn into prostitution. She helped establish the New Life Center in 1987 Chiang Mai, which provides Christian education, literacy and skills training to help rehabilitate women formerly in prostitution and reduce risk factors among other women.

Bethell shared her knowledge in expertise in various conferences around the world during the 1990s, before leaving the center in Thailand in 2000 and moving to Prague.

A estimated 25 million women work in prostitution worldwide. The vast majority are from developing countries.

Some are bought by traffickers in places like India, Thailand, the Philippines, and the former Soviet Union and installed as virtual slaves in strip clubs and brothels in Asia and in Western Europe.

The United Nations estimates that 4 million women are trafficked worldwide each year, more than a million of them younger than 18.

Allender, the keynote speaker, is president and professor of counseling at Mars Hill Graduate School in Seattle, Washington. A frequent speaker on sexual-abuse recovery and other topics, Allender is author of books including To Be Told: Know Your Story / Shape Your Future, How Children Raise Parents, The Healing Path, The Wounded Heart, Bold Love, and Intimate Allies.

More than 60 ministry representatives from 30 countries, along with about 100 laypeople from the United States and Canada, attended a similar conference at Green Lake in 2004.

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

Previous related story:
Baptists Explore Ministry to Women in Prostitution

Click here for information about the conference, or e-mail Suzannah Raffield with questions.