A recent United Nations report estimated 1.2 million globally become victims of human trafficking annually. Another study, conducted by UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) discovers one in three juvenile runaways is solicited for sex within 48 hours of leaving home. UNICEF also estimates human trafficking to generate $150 million in profits every year with states such as California, Texas, New York and Florida having the highest rates.
This weekend one church in Fort Lauderdale is facilitating a conference to better understand and deal with this alarming topic. United Church of Christ Fort Lauderdale, 2501 N.E. 30th Street, is hosting a spring gathering, April 29-30, in which 84 UCC churches from across Florida are scheduled to participate.
Keynote speaker is Dr. Stephanie Goins, executive program director for Love146.org. Dr. Goins is expected to speak about the face of “modern slavery.” Six workshops are also scheduled to examine the topic, including an LGBTQ angle.
On its website, Love146.org president and co-founder Rob Morris shares a story of a mission to southeast Asia that resulted in a raid of a brothel where children were being sold for sex.
The number 146 represents one of the girls Morris and his team of investigators witnessed at the brothel.
“Her number was 146,” Morris writes. “She was looking beyond the glass. She was staring out at us with a piercing gaze. There was still fight left in her eyes. There was still life left in this girl....”