Prague, Czech Republic
My local Baptist church in Prague, Czech Republic, has really been very active and involved in anti-trafficking ministry within especially Prague, but also including other parts of the Czech Republic. I hope that through hearing the story of how our church started an anti-trafficking ministry, you will be inspired to see that it is possible for any Baptist church to start getting involved in anti-trafficking efforts too.
We started with prayer. Prayer is always the starting point for any new ministry of God, and we knew that it was a crucial first step for our church I shared a book on human trafficking with my pastor, Gareth Morris, and after he had read the book and learned more on the topic of human trafficking, we decided to announce to our church the possibility of doing a prayer walk in the main red-light district of Prague. We chose to do this prayer walk on a Saturday morning, when most of those involved in prostitution would be asleep. We knew this would make it safe, and that as we were a group walking around in broad daylight, it would not be dangerous. You don’t have to do prayer walks at night when “business” is in full swing; it is in fact probably more effective to do it on a nice sunny morning.
The next step after our prayer walk was to start getting people in the church more informed on the topic. As we have a lot of students and young people in our church, we knew that screening an anti-trafficking film was probably the most culturally relevant way. As such we screened the wonderful film “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls” where Lauran Bethell, one of the European Baptist Federation anti-trafficking working group members, is actually interviewed. This film is one of the most useful tools for creating awareness in your church. I have screened this film in my local church on a Friday evening, in a church in Africa, on university campuses, and in coffee shops. It is a great idea to get a small group of 10-15 people together to watch this film and then to discuss and pray over the subject content after the film.
I was already visiting brothels and building relationships with the women there, so I thought the next great step to get my church involved would be to hold “arts and crafts” evenings to make small handmade gifts, which I would later distribute to women working in the brothels. This is a wonderful way for both men and women to get involved in practically touching the lives of prostituted women with the love and care of Jesus, without actually physically having to go into a brothel. Our arts and crafts days were soon attended not only by people from IBC but by people from other churches too, and even some non-believers. It was a great way to get the community involved!
As I am in academia, I embraced Pastor Gareth’s advice when he suggested the establishment of a training program for those who want to go into the brothels with me. I established a two-year training program, which involves reading materials which everyone reads in advance, and then we meet monthly to discuss what we have read over the past month. We read memoirs of women in prostitution, look at what the Bible says about prostitution, and what the law says about prostitution, as well as different sociological paradigms on prostitution. We also discuss practical steps to take when going into brothels.
The monthly training sessions serve as both training and also follow a small group structure where we pray for each other, share our lives, and get to know each other well. Out of the training program we then developed a discipleship and mentoring program. At the height of our training program we had 25 people enrolled. It has been great to see what God can do from a small ministry started by one person within their local church.
You can do it too! This is just one example, but there are many other creative ways to get you and your church involved. For example, after some training you might choose to go visit orphanages and share this topic with teenagers who might be vulnerable to fall into the hands of traffickers. Prevention is something very needed especially in Eastern European countries, but also in all countries! You could also try to go into local schools to give a lesson on the topic or give talks at your local library or community centre. The possibilities are endless, as long as you start in prayer and allow God to be the One directing you and your church on this journey!