See how members of our community are using their hands and feet to join Lighthouse for Life in standing against human trafficking in South Carolina.
"My name is K.J. Atwood. I'm a '17 Wofford College graduate with degrees in Biology and Economics, currently working in marketing and branded merchandising
with HALO Branded Solutions. I was first exposed to anti-trafficking efforst the Fall after graduating, living and working with a ministry in Santiago,
Chile. After several months abroad, growing in my depth of understanding and love for Jesus, and being equipped to raise awareness and fight against
human trafficking, I was eager to return state side and apply myself to the local mission. I came home with a three-fold motivation for working against
human trafficking. My experiences in Chile, having friends and people close to me in America that were victims and thirdly, a deep and recently re-vamped
relationship with Jesus Christ - knowing His immeasurable desire to restore and redeem all things.
I first discovered Lighthouse for Life through a google search. I made a note to follow up with the organization, but before I had a chance, I was introduced to a member of the L4L staff through a friend, Shane Johnson, Director of Ezekiel Ministries, during a meeting at The Haven. From there, I immediately emailed Lee Disbrow, the behind-the-scenes, do-all workhorse who keeps the L4L volunteer engine operating at full-force. I signed up for a few different volunteer opportunities, including a volunteer training session and working a table at a local advocacy event. Since then, I’ve been able to reach out and connect with several members of the anti-human trafficking network that’s taking form across South Carolina.
One thing I’ve quickly learned is that a high percentage of traffickers are men, though the group fighting against trafficking is composed of a relatively very low percentage of men— especially young men. The aversion men have is common: shame from their past, knowing that their former struggles with lust, at its roots, isn’t all too different than the one that men who are buying and selling women struggle with. This guilt, coupled with a sense that this is a strictly “women’s issue”, has greatly depleted the male anti-trafficking workforce. However, men play as integral a part as anyone else in solving this issue. In addition to the reality that there are many men who have been and are being trafficked, men coming in and working in this field sets a new standard for male conduct. Men can step into a role-model position for younger men, filling a unique niche and speaking out against the dangers of pornography and the seriousness of the sex trade. Men are able to display a healthy level of love and attention to a group of women that have been exposed to some of the greatest atrocities of men. And lastly, each man has his own web of connections, resources, and abilities that he can use to fight against and raise awareness about the issue (like a keyboard he can write a short post on a website with... like this one). There is a place for you to step in and help as long as there’s still a problem left to be solved. So, I encourage you men— take up and answer the call to action, the problem is much closer to home than you may think ."
SAVE THE DATE
August 7 - Pack the Park
The Freedom Bag Ministry is back in business!
Freedom Bags are given to agencies all over South Carolina who work with girls who may be victims of sex trafficking. They are full of items to make each girl feel valued and cared about. These helping professionals use the Freedom Bags as a very important tool to build rapport and show kindness to these potential victims. You can find out all the details of our Freedom Bag ministry on our website.
So far this year we have distributed around 70 Freedom Bag in South Carolina. This picture is a perfect example of a Freedom Bag. Special thanks to Ms.
Robin Mustang for donating this particular bag very recently!
Man in Columbia (Lexington County) arrested for having sex with minors in exchange for meth. We are very proud of the hard work and dedication of Law Enforcement to fight this horrific crime.
You can read the full report here.
Our recent School Resource Officer Training went so well. Attendees came in from all over the state, including Gaffney, Tega Cay, Orangeburg, and Batesburg to name a few. Special thanks to Lexington Police Department and Training Sgt. Rick Hazewinkel for partnering with us to host this training. We also want to thank FBI Agent Hamelryck, Homeland Security Officer Livreri and Springdale Chief of Police Kornett for being special guest speakers. This training is a great example of how we truly are better together!
Romans 13:17 says "Give honor to whom honor is owed." Lighthouse for Life owes an OUTSTANDING amount of honor to Mr. Bob Healy. He is a humble servant who is actually highly responsible for so much of the progress the state of South Carolina has made in this fight.
Bob Healy introduced our Executive Director, Jen Thompson, to Andrea Wind in December 2014. At that time, Jen was teaching school and Lighthouse for Life was less than 6 months old.
Then, on February 10, 2015, Bob single-handedly brought together a Human Trafficking Awareness Event at his home church, Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church in Lexington. This event featured Attorney General Alan Wilson and Human Trafficking Survivor & Advocate Tajuan McCarty. Around 200 people were in attendance and many of them have since gone on to focus on fighting human trafficking in various ways all over the state.
Bob is an incredible ambassador for Lighthouse for Life and has been the greatest single influence in cultivating our relationship with his home church, Mt. Horeb U.M.C. Now, over three years later Bob is still fighting human trafficking on a daily basis. He has a passion unlike most and is highly engaged in bringing light to the true root of human trafficking by calling attention to the issue of demand.
Mt. Horeb U.M.C. became the second church to donate to the ministry on a recurring basis and is now our largest financial partner. The church supports Lighthouse for Life in so many ways beyond finances. Pastor Jeff Kersey and his team have bravely spoken truth about human trafficking from the front on numerous occasions. Lighthouse for Life has also been blessed to partner with the youth and women's ministry to bring awareness. We have been able to host community training on campus at no cost. Mt. Horeb's Director of Business Operations, Nate Gibson, has greatly assisted in organizational development as well.
The examples of our partnership could continually be listed. We are excited to see what the Lord has in store for the future. However, this month we want to intentionally give honor to the man who planted so many seeds all across the state bringing so many together. Only time will tell what we believe to be a great future harvest from the results of your labors, Bob. We love you and thank you so much.
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