Tag Archives: human trafficking

School at the Shelter Prepares to Celebrate 100th Anniversary

Photo: Shelter Primary School girls

By Carl Stagner

In 2014, the Church of God was reintroduced to the Shelter at the Church of God Convention. That year, the ministry, which began housing unprotected orphan girls a hundred years earlier, held a grand celebration of God’s goodness and provision. At the same time, the Church of God rallied around the Shelter and Church of God Trafficklight in the preventative role it plays in the fight against trafficking. A few years have passed since the spotlight was shone brightly on this life-giving work in Cuttack, India, but now they’re gearing up for another celebration with similar significance. This November, the Shelter Primary School, on the same grounds as the Girls Shelter Home, will set aside three days of centennial ceremony and activity to commemorate its impact on the church and community. Continue reading

Freedom Fight Takes Aim at Root Causes of Trafficking

By Carl Stagner

In 2014, the Church of God reintroduced its longstanding commitment to freedom with the launch of CHOG Trafficklight. Since then, the Movement has galvanized around the cause of advancing freedom for the enslaved, the overlooked, and the oppressed through awareness and through support of established organizations. On the heels of Church of God Convention 2017, the first-ever Church of God Freedom Summit not only celebrated the success of CHOG Trafficklight, but also turned our attention to the root causes of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Trafficklight 2.0: Freedom Fight will help us fight a global scourge at an international, domestic, and local church level, even down to our own homes. Continue reading

Freedom Sunday. Freedom Summit. Freedom Fight!

By Carl Stagner

We’re engaged in a battle of historic proportions. The Church of God has once again gone to the front lines of a war against sexual exploitation and human trafficking initially waged more than a hundred years ago. With the launch of Trafficklight in 2014 came a renewed fervor for seeing what Jesus sees, living out Jesus’ example in our neighborhoods, and allowing our hearts to be broken for what breaks his. Together we’ve raised awareness, funded life-changing projects, and touched the lives of trafficking victims through several ministries already in the trenches. Freedom Sunday 2017 offered a preview of what’s to come as we turn our attention to the supply side of human trafficking. Continue reading

Trafficking Victims Find Hope, Healing at Reclaim 2017 Host-City Haven

Photo: Mentoring based on God’s Word at Hope Ranch.

By Carl Stagner

In February 2015, we first shared the story of how Hope Ranch for Women in Wichita, Kansas, came to be. A little over two years later, their story of reclaiming what hell has stolen from the lives of victims of exploitation continues to unfold. With its origins in one of several strong Church of God congregations in Wichita—Christ Church—Hope Ranch will be celebrated at Church of God Convention 2017 for its highly effective ministry. Those who attend the Freedom Summit on Friday, June 23, will also have the chance to tour their life-giving campus. Before you go, get to know a bit about the ministry which has forever changed the course of sex trafficking survivors. Continue reading

Initial Reports Offer Glimpse of Freedom Sunday 2017 Impact

Photo: Creative Freedom Sunday approach in Indianapolis.

By Carl Stagner

The Church of God first took a stand against human trafficking in India more than a century ago. With the inception of CHOG Trafficklight in recent years, the issue has returned to the forefront of ministry made possible only when Church of God congregations rally together. Once again, the Church of God is fighting side by side not only to raise awareness of trafficking, but also to attack the issue at its root. On March 5, 2017, Church of God congregations across North America and beyond showed the same video announcing the launch of Trafficklight 2.0. Many also gave financially to support the Church of God initiative as they renewed their commitment to engage the battle—even in front of screens both large and handheld. The Holy Spirit’s presence was palpable, and several churches have already shared stories of God’s hand at work. Continue reading

Pornography, Trafficking, and the Church

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By Levi Scott

The sexual culture of our world today is one that harms the lives of everyone made in the image of God. The link between pornography and sex trafficking should serve as a warning to all of us. Sadly, surveys reveal that people in our pews—and sometimes pulpits—each contribute to the trafficking industry by our silent acceptance and consumption of pornography. Our world is broken, people in our churches are broken, but many are doing what they can to make a difference. There are many who are actively fighting against the industries that are leaving God’s children in chains, whether in a brothel or behind a computer screen. Continue reading

A Call to Purity for 2017 and Beyond

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By Levi Scott

Angela Lu, writer of the World news article “Connecting the dots between sex trafficking and pornography,” quoted that 87 percent of male and 31 percent of female college students watch pornography. Even more men and women outside the college environment are participating in this media—a practice that is endangering the way we look at each other as human beings. God surely knew what he was doing when he called each of us to purity. Continue reading

Exposing the Link Between Pornography and Sex Trafficking

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By Levi Scott

Although there is no longer legally sanctioned slavery in the United States, it persists among us, under the radar. According to a 2015 CNN report, “Sex-Trafficking: The New American Slavery,” the sex trafficking industry in Atlanta, Georgia, alone was worth 290 million dollars. And that was the year 2007. While few of us in churches are going to street corners in red light districts, a surprisingly high number of Christians are involved in viewing pornography, which has a major impact on the demand for, and the profit of, sex trafficking. Continue reading

TraffickLight Video: Thank You, Church of God

Text by Abby Knowles; Video edited by Jared Powell

Today we want to once again say, “Thank you, Church of God!” Because of your contribution to the TraffickLight initiative, lives are forever changed and the kingdom’s limits are reaching new bounds. As the final dollars came in this summer, we reached a total amount raised of over $715,000. This is amazing, and the impact is significant! Our ministry partners have the ability to expand their mission and see dreams realized because of your support and sacrifice. Check out the video to see a recap of this project. Continue reading

Youth Group Decides Their Annual Fundraiser Shouldn’t Be for Themselves

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By Carl Stagner

The youth group at New Horizons Community Church of God in Jackson, Michigan, just flexed its generosity muscle. Every February they hold a fundraiser to support youth activities throughout the year. With the help of their parents and other church volunteers, the youth prepare a banquet, guests from the church and community dine on fine food, and donations are encouraged. But this year, the issue of human trafficking has been on the hearts and minds of the students. Why should they revel in their revenue when girls are being trafficked in their own communities? This year, the teens boldly decided that their annual fundraiser shouldn’t be for themselves. Continue reading

How TraffickLight Changed the Life of One of its Own

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Collage: Top, Merissa (right) with Abby Knowles and Kimberly Majeski. Bottom, Merissa speaks to students at East Side Church of God.

By Carl Stagner

Meet Merissa Milnickel. A senior now at Anderson University, she found the Church of God institution through a Google search, and the rest is history. Rich history. Three years so far of discovering her weaknesses and strengths, discerning her passions from among the mundane, and exploring her faith. She’s long felt a burden for the fight against human trafficking, but after deep involvement in the cause through Anderson University and Church of God Ministries, she experienced personally the heart of God for the enslaved, the hopeless, and the lost. While she was busy leading the AU student group Bound and supporting the advocacy efforts of TraffickLight, God was revealing his heart for her, too. God was changing Merissa one tweet at a time. Continue reading

AU Student Group Fights Trafficking, Experiences Church on the Street

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Photo: Bound members at Art in the Park, Atlanta.

By Carl Stagner

Some students gather to play chess, raise support for sports programs, or promote social activities and events. Bound is different. The Anderson University student-run, extra-curricular group has sought to put a dent in the epidemic of trafficking since the 2011-2012 school year. Started by now-Global Strategy missionary to Germany, Audrey Weiger, the group was actively championing the cause for freedom before CHOG TraffickLight came on the scene. From raising awareness to raising dollars, Bound is offering more and more hands-on assistance for Stripped Love in central Indiana. Not content to simply read or hear about what God is accomplishing in the work beyond Indiana, the group recently took a trip to Atlanta, Georgia, to experience Church on the Street firsthand. It was an experience they’ll never forget. Continue reading

Pink Door: Joining God’s Mission of Reconciliation

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Photo: Room inside the Pink Door safe house.

By Pink Door staff

The last four months may have been a blur, but Pink Door is up and running. We welcomed our first recovery program participant on January 20, so these first weeks have been filled with doctor appointments, visits to German governmental offices, psych evaluations, language evaluations, teaching her how to shop, cook, clean, and use public transportation. It’s amazing how many life skills are never developed when someone is reduced to less-than-human status, abused, abandoned, and forgotten. It’s a miracle how these women blossom when given a chance at a new life. So, we’re off and running with perseverance the race marked out for us, never alone, often exhausted, but always encouraged and reminded daily of your sacrifice that has made Pink Door a reality—never taking for granted the great privilege it is to join God in his mission of reconciliation. Continue reading

CHOG TraffickLight: New Drop-in Center Extends Stripped Love’s Reach

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Photo: Stripped Love’s central Indiana outreach team.

By Carl Stagner

When Kimberly Majeski and a few friends from Madison Park Church of God first stepped foot onto the property of a strip club in Anderson, Indiana, they couldn’t have imagined the scope of what they were getting themselves into. Six years later, the impact of Stripped Love is reaching across the country, inspiring new ministries, and celebrating changed lives. This Church of God TraffickLight partner has now grown to the point of needing a place where women can find fellowship, refuge, resources, and counseling. In March, community and Church of God organizations and individuals came together to celebrate the grand opening of Stripped Love’s drop-in center in Anderson. Continue reading

Freedom Sunday Fuels Reclamation of Hope in Fight Against Trafficking

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Collage: South Creek Church of God (Kokomo, Indiana) Freedom Sunday observance.

By Carl Stagner

Though Valentine’s Day fell on a Sunday this year, chocolates and paper hearts were not the focus of thousands of congregations across North America. For the Church of God and several other faith groups, February 14, 2016, was about something bigger, something bolder. While the culture celebrated romantic love, God’s people celebrated God’s unconditional love for the least of these, including victims of human trafficking around the world. As ambassadors of God’s love, believers gathered to not only worship the Lord on Freedom Sunday, but also to raise awareness and funds for ministries entrenched in the fight for freedom. While Freedom Sunday stories continue to come in, initial reports reveal yet another groundswell of determination to reclaim what hell has stolen. Continue reading