According to the U.S State Department, “Child/Human Trafficking is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. Child/Human trafficking is the world’s largest criminal enterprise, after drugs. Approximately 80-percent of human trafficking victims are women and girls.” For many, they believe that the problem only happens overseas, but the reality is that it is hitting cities across the United States even harder. Generate Hope is just one of many organizations that are dedicated to provide a safe place for victims of sex trafficking for restoration. Risen sat down with Generate Hope’s founder, Susan Munsey five years ago about how social media is being used to recruit young girls and the role that faith plays at Generate Hope.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
Munsey explains how there are several ways that social media is used to recruit young girls including how other girls are rewarded to recruit people from school to the “lifestyle.”
“So many people are online now and they may be home alone where nobody is monitoring their computer use and then they start talking to the wrong person. Especially young people who are at a phase in their life where they are no longer looking to their parents for advice and support but more to their peers. Now, here is this supposed peer online who is giving them attention and support and the girl gets lured in pretty easily. It can happen that the guy presents himself as someone who he isn’t too because usually he is a lot older. The girl may be 14-16 years old, while he is 30-40 years old, but saying he is 25 years old. The girl is just enthralled that this older guy is interested in her…The girl recruiting is called ‘the bottom’ but she is actually the top – it’s a reversed kind of thinking. She may to go schools alnd lure girls choosing whoever is vulnerable; some may particularly prey on Special Education kids. It could be meeting a girl on the street, through Facebook, or some other social media means that they can bring them in. The more girls the [recruiting] girl brings in, the better the treatment she gets. Such as they can get clothes, or maybe they don’t have to work as much, they might get to be the boss over the other girls; whatever it is that might make their life easier…But overall, the girls are taught to be pitted against each other. Pimps don’t want anyone getting secure, or feeling like they all can [band together] and gang up on the trafficker.”
“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them— he remains faithful forever. He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, the Lord gives sight to the blind,
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous.” Psalm 146:6-8
Munsey shares how Christian faith is an integral part of what they do at Generate Hope.
“Faith is a big part of our program and it’s a big part of the people’s lives that come and work here. We are always praying for these girls, and we have prayer warriors who are also praying for the girls, and praying for us [staff]. It’s a big part of the foundation of this program. We have Bible studies and opportunities for girls to go to church, but it’s a choice for them and not something we mandate. Interestingly, most of the girls that come here are at such a deep, dark, place that they are reaching out for whatever that help is. Often, the girls will ask for prayer or ask about our faith, or will want to go to church and will pray to receive Christ. It’s really neat to see how God works in their lives no matter what we are doing. All the girls have stories about how God is working in their lives before he even brings them here to us. Church is their choice, and we like them to go with us but it’s always an invitation.”
Help break others free! Whether it is Generate Hope or a Human Trafficking ministry at your church, ask if there are ways that you can serve. Programs often need people to volunteer to cook meals, teaching classes, grant writing or doing administrative work. If you aren’t able to volunteer, pray. Pray that God would help organizations like Generate Hope help break the cycle of slavery in human trafficking. Pray that the hearts of the girls would be softened and open to healing through a relationship with Christ. Pray for protection for those that are helping rescue the girls out of dangerous situations.
Give. If you aren’t able to volunteer, ask the ministries what their financial and physical needs are and how you can help. Whether it is donating some of your clothes and shoes, or buying some art supplies, there are many tangible ways that you can support programs like Generate Hope.
If you think that someone is being trafficked or held against their will, get help. Do not attempt to help the person on your own. Go to the authorities or an organization like Generate Hope that can help you.
To read our entire interview with Susan Munsey of GenerateHope click here.