The people of Manna Church of Fayetteville, North Carolina are ramping up efforts to bring public awareness to the issue of human trafficking, hoping to help curb the flow of human slavery. The church’s senior pastor, Michael Fletcher, said, “It is a huge crime. It has been so difficult to get our hands around it as a nation and around the world. I think it’s the central issue on the table for our generation. I think the church should take the lead in it. It’s an international problem, a local problem. I’m telling you every person has interfaced with a slave in Fayetteville and not realized it.”
His church will collaborate on the various projects with the ministry partner 5 Sparrows, a local organization founded by Army officer Pete Twedell, to help end human trafficking in the United States by working with law enforcement and advocacy organizations.
As part of the church effort, Fletcher envisions the creation of a call center by summertime. The call center would serve as an outreach ministry to women engaged in prostitution through online escort services. Female volunteers, ages 21 or older, pre-screened and trained, would look to form relationships with these women, Twedell said, “showing them they are loved and valued in God’s eyes. They would offer them resources, whatever they need.” The call center would be a mobile set of equipment that could be set up anywhere, he said. In a similar manner, groups of mostly female volunteers would frequent the city’s adult clubs in attempts to establish a trust with the paid entertainers.The organization 5 Sparrows would take the lead on the call center and also spearhead outreach efforts in adult nightclubs.
Manna Church also plans to establish a Dream Center that would operate as “a one-stop shop,” taking care of the poor and feeding the homeless. “That’s all part of the whole process,” Fletcher said. “Down the road, we want to open a safe house.”
Citing statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, Fletcher said as many as 2.8 million children run away from home each year in this country. Within 48 hours of hitting the streets, he said, a third of them are recruited into the underground world of prostitution and pornography. “Sadly,” he said, “a huge number of girls and boys are being trafficked in this nation younger and younger. The FBI says the average age is 11 being trafficked for sexual exploitation. The appetite (of the customer) is getting younger and younger.”
Learn more at Michael Futch’s The Fayetteville Observer article: Manna Church to focus attention on problem of human trafficking.