From the National Palace in Guatemala to the Oval Office in Washington, leaders of the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes have found themselves advocating for child sex trafficking victims on international and national platforms.
This year, they have led a conference for Guatemalan government officials on child trafficking and were present at the White House in January when President Trump signed an anti-trafficking bill.
In battling child sex trafficking, “we really focus on seeing the whole person,” said Christa Hicks, executive director of anti-trafficking at the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes, a ministry also known as One More Child to better reflect its national and international scope. “That includes a spiritual life and a life with God. We always are looking at how to reach [trafficking victims] with the Gospel but first … meet their tangible needs and look at safety and a way out.”
One More Child is among at least 21 Baptist children’s homes affiliated with some 19 Baptist state conventions. Though Baptist children’s homes are known primarily for their ministries related to adoption, foster care and residential care, anti-trafficking work has emerged among the major initiatives at One More Child.
Hicks and One More Child President Jerry Haag told Baptist Press their ministry’s anti-child trafficking initiative has sought to communicate across the world that children exploited in the sex trade are victims to be rescued, not criminals to be punished.
Economically disadvantaged children in particular, they said, are vulnerable to being propositioned for sex in exchange for basic necessities like money, food, shelter and school supplies. Such children need care and a way out, according to One More Child, before they reach their late teen years and resign themselves to a life as adult sex workers.
In late January, One More Child took that message to the Guatemalan National Palace in Guatemala City for a two-day conference at the invitation of Guatemalan First Lady Patricia de Morales. The conference’s first day focused on educating some 150 government leaders about child sex trafficking. The second day was geared toward Guatemalan church leaders and community members concerned with the problem.
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Source: Baptist Press