Worship songs and impactful speakers help describe the nature of human trafficking

For ages, human trafficking has been a global issue. In the digital age, the abuse of victims in human trafficking has only skyrocketed. The APU organization “Free The Captives” wants to bring awareness to this problem.

On Friday, Nov. 3, “Free The Captives” and Christian band “Fearless” held a benefit concert on the Dillon Recreation Complex. The event had both worship from the band and speakers from various organizations that are hoping to both spread God’s word and stop human trafficking for good.

“Free The Captives” and “Project Cultivate” are both APU organizations that are focused on helping victims of human trafficking. “Free The Captives” provides awareness to the problem of human trafficking while “Project Cultivate” focuses on helping survivors adjust to a new life of freedom.

The goals of the two organizations are to help save lives from the horrors of human trafficking. Many victims and survivors find themselves confused and lost, trying to fight their way through a system that is constantly against them. These organizations do their best to give these people a sense of hope and belonging.

Many people are unaware that the problem of human trafficking is as large as it is. This was the case for sophomore Christian ministry major and co-president of “Free the Captives,” Haley Newman, who first started hearing about the dilemma when she was in her sophomore year of high school.

“I was completely shocked that I had gone 17 years of life without knowing what the issue was,” Newman said. “I couldn’t believe people weren’t talking about it.”

One of the speakers at this benefit concert was pastor Rick Clark. Clark encouraged people to use their calling to save people from this lifestyle. He shared a story of a victim who was framed for murder by her abuser. He encouraged students of different majors to come together to help prevent human trafficking within different communities. Statements like this especially resonate with junior sociology major Abigail Rickett, who is currently using her studies to help “Project Cultivate”.

“I get to specifically use my major and what I am studying in my classes to help understand this better,” Rickett said.

Clark especially encouraged nursing majors to work against human trafficking, especially considering how plenty of victims end up in the hospital at least once. Clark also described how the human trafficking situation has manifested itself next to Azusa Pacific University, with different local buildings secretly being involved in human trafficking.

“There is human trafficking going on less than third fourths of mile from this campus,” Clark said after telling a story about a local massage shop that allowed for “all types of massages.”

Human trafficking is more close to home than a lot of people realize and Clark wants to ensure that this dilemma does not go unnoticed.

“Redeeming Love,” a conduit for sex trafficking survivors, also spent time describing how many human trafficking victims go back to their abusers because they have nowhere else to turn to. The organization was founded from such a story, as the founder Charlene Heydorn met a young girl caught in human trafficking who almost escaped, but was convinced by her trafficker to stay with him. The organization aspires to give victims the hope they need so more girls won’t end up back in the positions that were causing them so much pain.

“We have to confront this as community,” Rickett said. “We have to confront it in a way that doesn’t just scare but it empowers us to do something about it.”

Each organization encouraged people to do research on what human trafficking is and what they can do to prevent human trafficking from continuing and expanding.