|Source: Baptist Press|
Indianapolis Colts head coach Frank Reich is heading to Los Angeles this week to help raise awareness about human trafficking.
A passionate advocate against trafficking, a year after he became head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Reich and his wife, Linda, formed kNot – a nonprofit that works to prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation. In the build up to the Super Bowl kNot is one of five partner organizations working together in Los Angeles to combat sex trafficking.
“This is one of the most horrific crimes,” Reich said on the AP Pro Football Podcast. “Children who are actually looking to adults to protect them and nurture them and help them to grow up to live mature, holistic lives are the actual ones who adults are using – that trust the children are placing in them and then exploiting them and abusing them for their own good. It doesn’t get any worse than that.”
Joining Reich is former Dodgers general manager Kevin Malone, founder of The Alliance Against Human Trafficking and Exploitation.
“We have a real problem in America, with our children being under attack, being targeted by predators, and it’s scary,” said Malone, co-founder and CEO of the U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking. “It’s evil and people aren’t talking enough about it.”
According to Kay Bennett, executive director of the Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans, major events like the Super Bowl are major avenues through which traffickers seek to recruit minors and engage new prospective clients.
She said, “Like any event, when you’re going to have a large number of people, you’re always going to have more human trafficking victims because you’re going to have more people to buy them.”
Speaking directly to congregations about how they can become involved, she said one of the best ways for churches to support anti-trafficking work is to work with groups that are already established like the Southern Baptist Convention’s send, Send Relief, Southern Baptists’ compassion ministry.
“There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel,” she said. “Just join with others. It’s so important just to be aware and to make other people aware of what’s going on.”
Additionally, Bennett added everything begins with prayer.
“When we pray, God opens our eyes to what’s going on around us,” she said. Then, get involved by helping individuals one by one.
“In my church and congregation and local schools, I would be a champion for people that are vulnerable,” Bennett said. “Folks living in poverty, folks in the foster care system, folks that are homeless, runaway, throwaways. We can be preventative when we’re being a champion for those folks that are vulnerable.”
As a result of their awareness campaign, Reich hopes to not only raise more awareness and help bring prevention, but also promote mental health resources to the victims of sexual exploitation.
“We’re doing everything we can to prevent this from happening, but the reality is it’s still going on and in crazy numbers,” Reich said. “There’s a lot of people who are needing help. Even when a child is restored, when they’re rescued, there’s a lifelong battle to get back to full mental health.”
Reich believes that through education, enforcement, and prevention, ultimately human trafficking can be eliminated.
Source: Baptist Press