An Innovative Collaborative Effort
For many of the 35,000 women and children in sexual slavery impacted by Project Rescue, a ministry of Assemblies of God World Missions, illiteracy is a crippling reality. Sadly, they cannot even read the Bible to follow basic Christian truths to heal and grow in their new faith. Others who can read lack literature for discipleship in their own language to grow in following Jesus.
To meet this urgent need for Christian discipleship and educational materials, the AG Kentucky Ministry Network (KYAG) and Light for the Lost are partnering with Project Rescue in a three-year $300,000 fundraising campaign.
“This is a fresh, innovative, and collaborative approach to help transform the lives of very needy young women,” says David Grant, who co-founded Project Rescue with his wife, Beth.
Global sex slavery statistics are appalling. An estimated 800,000 to 1.9 million women and children are trafficked across international borders annually. Almost 7,000 Nepali girls as young as nine years are sold every year into India’s red-light districts. In India, Nepal, and Bangladesh, 100,000 women are trafficked each year, Grant reports.
Women and children led into prostitution also are flooding European cities from Eastern European countries such as Romania, Poland, and Bulgaria, and from Nigeria and Ghana in Africa. An estimated 900,000 men visit Spain daily to buy sex.
Founded by the Grants in 1997, Project Rescue’s first ministry center was birthed in Mumbai, India, out of the Bombay Teen Challenge street outreaches led by K.K. Devaraj and his team in the red-light district. The stories of women and children lured or forced into prostitution shocked the Grants. The vast majority were sold into sex slavery by their poor families.
The Grants began ministering to the children of prostituted women, opening a safe home caring for their physical and spiritual needs. Many of the children hid beneath beds, cowering while their mothers serviced customers. Women in sexual slavery begged the Grants to rescue their little ones.
Today, Project Rescue ministers through 15 affiliated initiatives in Bangladesh, Tajikistan, India, Nepal, France, and Spain. Its scope includes night-care shelters, after-care homes, vocational training, literacy education, HIV/AIDS and medical clinics, red-light district churches, Sunday Schools, and sex slavery awareness and prevention programs.
The new funds will help develop and distribute new multi-language Global University curricula, literature for training seminars, literature for discipleship and evangelism, and distribution of Bibles.
The idea for the fundraising campaign originated with KYAG Superintendent Joseph S. Girdler and National LFTL Director Rick Allen. Girdler understands the blight of human sex trafficking because Kentucky, surprisingly, ranks among the top states confronted by the issue. For example, the 142nd Kentucky Derby on May 7 at Churchill Downs in Louisville will attract more than 160,000 spectators as well as an influx of out-of-town prostituted women and children, and their pimps.
“I’m a dad and could not fathom my daughter stolen from me,” Girdler says. His daughter, Rachel, knows about Project Rescue firsthand, having served as an intern with the organization in Madrid last summer.
Since introducing the Project Rescue campaign as a district-wide mission’s project in May 2015, the KYAG has collected $40,634. Fundraising activities include LFTL rallies, mailings to the district’s 150 churches, print and social media announcements, men’s and women’s ministry events, and a presentation at the annual district council meeting.
The Grants are grateful for Project Rescue’s programs furthering the education of once-trafficked women and children at Bible colleges and universities.
“The AG Kentucky Ministry Network and Light for the Lost are raising the funds to produce new literature with both a spiritual and openly compassionate component,” David Grant says.