February 23, 2017 marked END IT Movement’s fifth annual ‘Shine a Light on Slavery’ Day, which aims to generate global awareness surrounding sex slavery. Raising awareness is not the ultimate purpose of the day, though. Awareness must lead to action. This starts with men and women being rescued from sex slavery and human trafficking. Yet, more must be done. With that in mind, I am excited to share with you the ministry of Hope Center Indy, an aftercare center for women who are caught in sex trafficking.
Chances are if you have seen a movie like “Taken”, you are aware human trafficking exists but your understanding may be it is a third world country issue. In other words, sex slavery is something which happens only overseas in places like Africa or Europe. The sobering truth is not only is it occurring in the United States but even in our backyards. Last month, the Indianapolis Star ran an article stating, “In 2016, authorities identified nine children from Hamilton County, all girls, who were purchased by adult buyers for sex, often in hotels in the Castleton area. The youngest victim was 11 years old.” Human sex trafficking is the fastest growing criminal enterprise and it has been said by 2020 human sex trafficking will be the largest criminal enterprise in the world. It is a local and a global concern.
Awareness is needed. Rescues are needed. Aftercare is needed. It is this third element Hope Center Indy seeks to provide. Hope Center’s mission is to be a “Christ-centered program to help develop the personal and professional life of women who have been rescued from sex trafficking in order for them to re-enter society with confidence, health, and technical skills needed to succeed.” They are a Christ-centered program because it is what Jesus Christ has done for them in the gospel that drives them to provide help and shelter. The services of Hope Center Indy are needed because, sadly, even for those women who are rescued, they are still at risk of becoming re-victimized. Due to the psychological hold on them from their trafficker or pimp, they may fall back into what they are used to. Because of this heart-wrenching concern, Hope Center Indy’s desire is to not only shelter women in the state of Indiana who have been victims, but their hope is to provide care for those who come from far away. The reason Hope Center would receive victims from farther out is because the farther a victim is from the trafficker or pimp, the less likely she is to return to that lifestyle. Therefore, while many may be aware of the problem and the need for rescue, an equally important need is to provide aftercare for these women.
Care and compassion are needed for victims of sex trafficking. They need long-term care and healing because of the complex trauma they have been through. They cannot be placed in a 30-day program and be expected to be healed from the torture they have faced. Pastor and Hope Center Indy Founder Hubert Nolen understands this. That is why he started Hope Center Indy, to provide a context where these women could get back on their feet and fulfill God’s call for their life. These women will be mentored by HCI volunteers who will serve as motherly- and grandmotherly-like figures, helping to work with the girls in skills such as crafting, exercising, and gardening. Much more could be said. This is just a snapshot of what Hope Center Indy is doing. If you want to know more, check out their website.
As the pieces continue to come together in making Hope Center Indy a reality, I (Theron) urge you to consider how you can support and get involved with this wonderful ministry. Hope Center Indy has the potential to be the largest housing for sex trafficking victims, with the possible capacity at 166 women.
So how can you contribute to this ministry?
- Pray. First and foremost pray for the end of sex slavery. Pray for the victims who are being rescued and for those who aren’t. Pray for organizations like END IT and Hope Center Indy as they seek to rescue and care for victims.
- Volunteer. Fill out a volunteer form on HCI’s website and see where you can serve as part of the volunteer team for Hope Center Indy.
- Give. While Hope Center Indy loves to connect and network churches in giving, they do welcome individual giving. If you interested in giving financially, please click here.
Simply put, join Hope Center Indy in providing hope for the trafficked!
Thank you to David Nolen, co-founder of Hope Center Indy, for the interview and tour of the center.