With violence increasing in parts of his Nigerian homeland, Sterling* fled to South Africa to pursue a business opportunity he had been promised by the man who sold him his visa.
Sterling soon realized, however, that it was all a lie when he got there two years ago. He had spent his savings to get to South Africa but became stranded without a job.
Sterling is one of thousands of foreigners looking for work in a country plagued by an estimated 25 percent unemployment rate.
After Sterling played a game of soccer with some guys at a park, one of them offered him a job. Selling drugs and girls, he was told, is a quick, easy way to make money in South Africa.
Now at age 25, Sterling is deep in the pit of trafficking girls into sexual slavery.
“There’s no good in what I do,” he says. “There’s nothing good about who I am. I never wanted to be where I am today. I know I make God angry because of the things I do. I just know I am keeping myself from God, but it’s not my fault.”
Gabrielle*, 21, has been bought and sold by several traffickers over the past few years. Sterling owns her now.
She is one of an estimated 27 million victims of human trafficking around the world.
Southern Baptists’ gifts through the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering and the Cooperative Program help IMB missionaries share with human trafficking victims how to find true worth in Christ. Among them: Martha Richards*, a missionary in Johannesburg, who was researching human trafficking in South Africa when God gave her an eagerness to help girls escape from the bondage of sexual slavery.
Source: Baptist Press
*Names changed. Meghan Hendrickson served as an intern with IMB’s global communication team.