It’s Thursday evening, and a group boards a bus at the Georgia Baptist Convention building for several strip clubs, a few hotels and an apartment complex where human trafficking has been reported.
The “Unholy Tour,” jointly sponsored by Georgia Public Service Commissioner Tim Echols and the Georgia Baptist public affairs office, stretched nearly three hours instead of the scheduled two. Still, it didn’t feel like enough time for various speakers tell their stories from the front of the unmarked bus.
Among them: Kasey McClure, a former Atlanta stripper accustomed to making at least $1,000 most nights who left that world after giving her life to Christ and the birth of her daughter. In 2004 McClure established 4Sarah, honoring her daughter while providing a platform to build relationships with women in the sex industry and, ultimately, to show a way out.
In the 15 years since she left the industry, McClure said, sex trafficking has proliferated.
“There are three main areas now where girls go — the strip clubs, on the street and online,” she said. “Technology has made it tougher [to fight trafficking]. Even though sites like Back Page have been shut down, others are doing the same thing.”
In addition, girls entering the sex industry are getting younger and “promised great lives, but that’s not what they get.”
McClure recalled the impact of former Georgia Baptist public policy spokesman Ray Newman, who died in 2013 from a brain tumor.
“He came onto the board of 4Sarah in 2007 and encouraged me to start a scholarship for the girls we were helping,” she said. “He made a difference in my life.
McClure recalled a story shared with her by Newman’s widow, Gwen, in a letter. In the 1970s Ray told his wife about a young lady who he’d see walking to the club. He prayed for her to go to church one day.
And one day she did. Speaking with Newman afterward, the young lady said she didn’t feel she belonged there. Of course, Newman urged her to consider that, yes, she belonged.
“So many times these women don’t feel like they belong. But, we all belong. We belong in the body of Christ,” McClure said.
Eight other women plus Echols spoke with the group, including those fighting sex trafficking through law enforcement and legal means, as well as some formerly in the industry now working through nonprofit groups to help young women get out of enslavement and others involved in programs to prepare kids to stay away from being entrapped.
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Source: Baptist Press