Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far has the LORD helped us." (1 Samuel 7:12 NIV)
One night earlier this week, a few of us Sojourners interns weaved our way to Ebenezer’s Coffee House for a prayer and worship service around the issue of human trafficking.
FAAST (Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking), World Relief, Project Rescue, the Salvation Army, and Living Water for Girls were each represented at Ebenezer’s that night. And everyone was there because their faith — what the Lord has done for them thus far — has brought them to realize the gravity of the need to deal with human trafficking.
An estimated 27 million people are held in slavery today, and human trafficking is expected to pass drug trafficking as the largest criminal industry in the world. In the United States alone, there are an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 slaves (Salvation Army), many of them children. So we sang “All creatures of our God and king lift up your voice and with us sing, Oh Praise him”, “Here I raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I’ve come” (“Come Thou Fount”) and “How great is our God.”
Interwoven through the worship songs, was a time where individuals led the attendees in a time of intentional prayer for the thousands, millions of victims/ survivors of human trafficking; for those involved in sexual exploitation and for those called to serve either in rescuing victims or bringing justice to those who exercise human trafficking.
The church is moving fast on the issue of human trafficking.
Lisa Williams, founder of Living Water for Girls, brought us one story of hope. Some years ago, while in Atlanta Lisa read an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution titled, “The Selling of Atlanta’s Children” she realized it might’ve well have said, “The Selling of America’s Children.” Moved by God, she responded fast and strongly, she raised money and bought farm land in Georgia to serve as a safe house — a place for healing and restoration — for girls rescued from sex trafficking. Having been a victim in her childhood years she has taken upon herself to be a protector and advocate for the girls at Living Water for Girls.
Aside from providing progressive therapeutic activities that engage the girls in building positive self-images and esteem, Living Water for Girls has also established connections with local and federal law enforcement in order to build legal cases against those who practice sexual exploitation. The services and resources of Living Water for Girls have also led to a perpetrator being arrested, charged and convicted with the crime of rape.
Indeed, the church is moving fast.
Her new book, Beautiful Layers, is a photo essay featuring the stories of five American-born women rescued from sexual exploitation. And there in Ebenezer’s coffee house she declared her Ebenezer: none of this would’ve been possible without God.
Learn more about Living Water for Girls, HERE.