FORT WORTH?Seminary students in Fort Worth, Texas, are fighting for the abolition of sex slavery, calling churches and residents in the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth to take a stand during the upcoming Super Bowl.
Sex slavery binds 100,000 to 300,000 young girls and boys within the United States in the chains of forced prostitution every year. Within the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex alone, more than 250 girls are bought and sold every month as slaves in the sex market.
As crowds flock to the area during the week of the Super Bowl, pimps will transport an estimated 12,000 minors to the area and force them into prostitution. In response to this surge in sex trafficking, a group of students at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary are calling Southern Baptists in the area to help break the chains of sex slavery by opening their eyes and ears during the week of the Super Bowl.
“Our goal is to raise public awareness, because we feel that when the public sees this, they won’t be able to close their eyes or cover their ears anymore,” said Southwestern Master of Theology student D.L. Frugé.
According to Frugé, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex competes even with Las Vegas as one of the major hotbeds of sexual slavery, especially during large events like the Super Bowl. However, he is not without hope for the young girls enslaved by sex trafficking.
“In Fort Worth, we have a huge opportunity to make an impact right now,” Frugé said. He and his wife, Katie, have joined several other Southwestern students to form a grassroots advocacy group called Lose the Chains.
During a recent chapel service at the seminary, the group challenged students to inform their churches of the plight of these enslaved girls, and to help them see what they can do to break the chains of the sex trade. In a message on their website, www.losethechains.com, the group calls church members to watch for the signs of sex slavery in their communities during the Super Bowl.
“Pimps have a lot of tactics, one of which is to rent home in your neighborhood, turning them into brothels,” says the website, designed by David Wallace, a student in the College at Southwestern. “They’re most vulnerable in our neighborhoods because hundreds of thousands of church members live in these same neighborhoods. Pimps aren’t expecting Christians to have an eye out for them.”
According to Frugé, Christians can stand against sex slavery by calling 911 if they spot signs of sex slavery in their neighborhoods.
Another member of Lose the Chains, seminary doctoral student Mindy May, joined Deena Graves, the founder of advocacy group Traffick911, during a panel discussion on the Southwestern Seminary campus, Jan. 27. May, who is slated to discuss the issue of sex trafficking in various venues, desires to develop a better understanding of how to meet the emotional and spiritual needs of girls freed from sexual slavery.
During the panel discussion, May described her research about sexual slavery in the United States. While examining research documents and governmental legislation on the issue, she said, she was shocked by the absence of church involvement in responding to this issue. Both May and Graves said that Christians must stand against sex slavery.
“We believe this is grieving the heart of God,” Graves said, “and if we know this is happening to children, and we don’t do anything in response to it, then we’re accountable for that.”
Jason Smith, another member of Lose the Chains and a Master of Divinity Student at Southwestern, said the church must face this issue, ultimately, because young girls enslaved within the sex trade-and the men who manipulate and abuse them-need the Gospel.
“There is a really big kingdom effect that can be made in this situation,” said Smith, who is a member of Lose the Chains alongside his wife, Amanda. “We really want to see these girls not only be freed from slavery, but spiritually freed and spiritually healed. We want these girls to know the love of Christ.”
To learn more about sex trafficking and the way that Christians and churches can respond, visit www.losethechains.com or www.traffick911.com.