My local Baptist church in Prague, Czech Republic, has been active and involved in an anti-trafficking ministry within Prague, as well as other parts of the Czech Republic.
I hope that through hearing the story of how our church started an anti-trafficking ministry, you will be inspired to see that it’s possible for any Baptist church to become involved in anti-trafficking efforts too.
We started with prayer. Prayer is always the starting point for any new ministry of God, and we knew that it was a crucial first step for our church.
I shared a book on human trafficking with my pastor, Gareth Morris. After he had read the book and learned more on the topic of human trafficking, we decided to announce to our church the possibility of doing a prayer walk in the main red-light district of Prague.
We chose to do this prayer walk on a Saturday morning, when most of those involved in prostitution would be asleep.
We knew this would make it safe, and that as we were a group walking around in broad daylight, it would not be dangerous.
You don’t have to do prayer walks at night when “business” is in full swing; it is in fact probably more effective to do it on a nice sunny morning.
The next step after our prayer walk was to start getting people in the church more informed on the topic.
As we have a lot of students and young people in our church, we knew that screening an anti-trafficking film was probably the most culturally relevant way.
As such, we screened the wonderful film, “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls,” where one of our European Baptist Federation (EBF) anti-trafficking working group members, Lauran, is actually featured in a short interview too.
This film is one of the most useful tools for creating awareness in your church. I have screened this film in my local church on a Friday evening, in a church in Africa, on university campuses and in coffee shops.
It is a great idea to get a small group of about 10 to 15 people together to watch this film and then discuss and pray over the subject content afterward.
I was already visiting brothels and building relationships with the women there, so I thought the next great step to get my Baptist church involved would be to hold arts-and-crafts evenings to make small handmade gifts, which I would later distribute to women working in the brothels.
This is a wonderful way for both men and women to get involved in practically touching the lives of prostituted women with the love and care of Jesus, without actually physically having to go into a brothel.
Our arts-and-crafts days soon were attended not only by people from our local Baptist church but also by people from other churches too, and even some nonbelievers. It was a great way to get the community involved.
As I am in academia, I embraced my Baptist church pastor’s advice when he suggested the establishment of a training program for those who want to go into the brothels with me.
I established a two-year training program, which involves materials that everyone reads in advance, and then we meet monthly to discuss what we have read over the past month.
We read memoirs of women in prostitution, looked at what the Bible says about prostitution, what the law says about prostitution, different sociological paradigms on prostitution. We also discussed practical steps to take when going into brothels.
The monthly training sessions serve as both training and also follow a small group structure where we pray for each other, share our lives and get to know each other well.
Out of the training program, we then developed a discipleship and mentoring program. At the height of our training program, we had 25 people enrolled.
It has been great to see what God can do from a small ministry started by one person within their local Baptist church.
You can do it too. This is just one example, but there are many other creative ways to get you and your church involved.
For example, after some training you might choose to go visit orphanages and share this topic with teenagers who might be vulnerable to fall into the hands of traffickers.
Prevention efforts are very needed, especially in Eastern European countries, but also in all countries.
You could also try to go into local schools to give a lesson on the topic. Give talks at your local library or community center.
The possibilities are endless, as long as you start in prayer and allow God to be the one directing you and your church on this journey.