By: Angelyn McMurray, We ARE Free
In the early 1990s, I was an optimistic college freshman majoring in political science; the world seemed full of possibilities and I believed a good education could be used to make it better. Instead, over the past twenty years, the world has become unrecognizable. It would be tedious to articulate the litany of spiritual, cultural, geopolitical and technological changes, for we know them all too well. Yet there are two changes worth noting, for they have in fact radically altered my life.
The cultural change that seized my heart is the emergence of modern day slavery. Sure, forced prostitution and labor have always existed, but more recently this evil has been turned into an industry. There are more slaves now than at any other time in human history; worldwide slavery nets $150 billion and in the U.S. alone, the profits are $9.8 billion.
Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise; it has surpassed the sale of arms and is second only to the drug trade. Here in the U.S., each year close to 20,000 people will be trafficked from other countries and approximately 100,000 citizen children with an average age of twelve will be sold into prostitution.
In our communities there are those who are working long hours in abusive conditions with no hope of receiving compensation for such work. Worse yet, a woman or child is being raped by a stranger who has paid an “owner” for the right to abuse, degrade and shame them for the sake of the buyer’s pleasure. These victims have no hope of freedom or restoration; their God-given humanity has been stolen and they have become a commodity.
While coming to understand the causes, realities of and extent to which human trafficking permeates our society, the Holy Spirit was working a spiritual change transforming what I believed to be an appropriate response to suffering. Familiar verses like Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me… to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives” and John 8:36, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” washed over me in a new light and I soon realized that pursuit of physical freedom is noble, but physical freedom without spiritual freedom is, in the eternal scope, worthless.
For victims of human trafficking, eternal freedom cannot be attained through a government program or America’s religiosity. This freedom can only be found when those of us who have been freed pour out his love so that survivors can also find true freedom in Christ.
In light of this, We Are FREE was founded to raise awareness of the reality of and extent to which trafficking exists in our society. And, more importantly, it provides much needed aftercare that will foster transformation through both physical and spiritual freedom.
Our aftercare facility, Hebron Hills, will be a comprehensive care facility providing long-term temporary housing while addressing all physical, psychological and spiritual needs. The facility will also provide all necessary educational and vocational training so that each survivor has the power to transition to an independent sustainable life where their God-given potential is realized.
We have launched phase 1 of Hebron Hills; it includes three separate group homes that will be used to provide housing to thirty-six survivors. We are also incorporating an administrative facility for onsite care and a barn and arena for equine and agricultural therapy.
Although our culture may be unrecognizable, I remain optimistic and see a future rife with possibilities; but those possibilities can only be realized when true believers strive to be used of God to bring his transformation to people in need. We Are FREE exists to bring that transformation to the victims of human trafficking. These victims have suffered unimaginable abuse and are broken in every possible way; they need the Son to set them free. If you would be interested in partnering with us to bring his freedom to others, contact us at wearefree.us.