Hope for the Trafficked: Hope Center Indy

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.Hope Center Indy

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

In It to END IT

enditDid you know slavery still exists? The sinful experiences of slavery against African-Americans in the past should certainly cause us to repent of any racism in our hearts. As horrific as that is, there are some who are deceived into believing that all forms of slavery have been eradicated. Yet, the reality is sex slavery, which can also be known as human trafficking, is “the world’s fastest growing criminal industry” (A21.org). Women and children are especially targeted and become victims of forced manual and sexual labor. They are trapped in this illegal and immoral act of slavery and are bonded, forced, and trafficked.

It’s Not Just There; It’s Here

By the way, this is not an issue only occurring in other parts of the world like Nepal. This injustice is literally taking place in our midst. Just this month the Indy Star featured an article about a teen being trafficked for sex. The article shares the story of anguish from a teen girl who ran away from her home and vulnerable, crossing paths with a man who lured her into a hotel room. The man, then, forced her into submission to engage in sexual acts, not only with him but with as many as 11 men in one night. The emotional scars and physical body damage can only begin to describe the tragic affect this satanic industry of sex trafficking has had on this girl and many like her. This is a problem both across the ocean and across the street.

As the people of God, we cannot stand for this sinful way of life! We cannot remain silent while those made in the image of God are trafficked and forced into sex slavery, being manipulated and raped. We cannot close our eyes and pretend there is not a problem. Rather, we must to look to Scripture and see that God is the Owner of life (Gen 1:1-25) and He has created every human being in His image (Gen 1:26-27). Every man, woman, or child has dignity as they are made in the image of God. Therefore, as followers of the one true God, our convictions founded in God’s Word should lead us to speak up and speak out about this injustice.

What steps are we to take? We must make people aware that slavery still exists. Today has been marked “Shine a Light on Slavery Day”. The END IT Movement encourages everyone to draw a red X on your hand, snap a selfie and post it using #enditmovement. They wisely and correctly say, “Awareness isn’t everything, but without it, slavery will never end.”

The Connection to Pornography

Awareness of this problem will shed light on the seriousness and soberness of this matter. However, there is an important word here for those, especially within the church, who are flirting and are addicted with pornography. There is a link between pornography, prostitution, and sex trafficking. If you are watching porn, you are creating a higher demand for sex trafficking through prostitution. This strikes dead the objection that pornography does not hurt anyone. It most certainly hurts the one watching it, the ones around them, and the person whose body is being viewed. As David Platt points out on page 123 of his book Counter Culture, “Every time a man or woman views pornography online, we are contributing to a cycle of sex slavery from the privacy of our own computers”. This is all to say that , if someone is viewing porn and is addicted to porn, they are contributing to this problem and they need to take radical actions to stop this act. Repent of your sexual sins (Matthew 5:27-30) and trust in the Lord for His forgiveness and His provision for you to overcome this temptation. Do not be part of the problem; be part of the solution.

Action Points: Prayer, Support, and Involvement

So, what does this solution involve? To be sure, there are no easy and simple answers. The problem is complex and the solution will be too. Nevertheless, we must pray for the rescue of these victims, that in their feelings of filth, they would trust in the Savior who has compassion for them. We must pray, too, for the redemption of those involved in the industry, that God would open their eyes to their sin so that their hearts may be changed to produce repentance and faith in the gospel. Dr. David Platt adds that we need to be aware of ministries that address the problem of sex slavery, support them, and consider ways we can be involved in their work (For more on approaching this subject from a biblical perspective, see chapter 5 of Counter Culture by David Platt).

Slavery still exists. We cannot be indifferent about that. We cannot be silent about that. We must care and we must act. Let’s be in it to END IT!

Check out these websites for more information: