September 19th, 2012 at 9:00 am
DALLAS – A group of 18 Texas Baptists groups have come together in an effort to help freedom ring through a new coalition of anti-human trafficking efforts.
The alliance, known as Freedom Ring, was convened by the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission and Woman’s Missionary Union of Texas. It brings together groups such as Traffick911 in Fort Worth, TraffickStop, Buckner International and Baptist Child & Family Services, Cornerstone Children’s Ranch in Quemado, Texas Baptists’ Go Now Missions, New Life Refuge, Hope for the Sex Trafficked, Hope Home Ministry, Perpetual Help Home, Pure Hope, Restore a Voice, San Antonio Against Slavery, Sara Johnson Music, Think Freedom Campaign, Texas Baptists’ Intercultural Ministries and Refuge of Life in East Texas in an effort to better network and coordinate efforts to end human trafficking.
CLC Director Suzii Paynter believes the creation of Freedom Ring is the result of the Holy Spirit working across the state. Texas Baptists have felt the call of God in their lives to respond to human trafficking through prayer, victim ministry, advocacy efforts, lobbying initiatives and a variety of support services targeted at helping trafficking survivors.
“For about three years, we have seen a real energy, passion and commitment about ending human trafficking,” she said. “This passion shows up in a lot of different places. I always feel when Christians work together, you better pay attention. That’s probably the work of the Holy Spirit when the same ministry emerges spontaneously in a lot of different groups within the Christian community. The connections are real and guided by the Holy Spirit.”
Freedom Ring members are communicating through a monthly conference call that includes prayer, networking and encouragement. Through connections, organizers hope new initiatives begin, methods are honed and ministries are lifted up. The Freedom Ring group continues to welcome additional ministries and plans to grow.
Members of the alliance will exhibit during Texas Baptists Annual Meeting Oct. 29-31 in Corpus Christi.
Freedom Ring also is promoting a fall concert tour featuring Sara Johnson to raise awareness of the human trafficking issue, connect people with organizations fighting the issue and raise money to help those in need. The tour began Sept. 14.
Carolyn Porterfield, who is the liaison between the alliance and WMU of Texas, thanks God for Texas Baptists statewide responding to trafficking. The issue across the state and around the world is so large that it requires a multitude of people working in a multitude of ways to stop it.
Freedom Ring seeks to provide an avenue through which people statewide can find a tangible way to respond to trafficking. The alliance’s website, www.freedomringalliance.org, easily connects individuals to practical responses to the atrocity.
“The scope of human trafficking demands multifaceted responses,” Porterfield said. “The Freedom Ring Alliance was created to bring together the vast resources of Texas Baptists that are doing something to stop this heinous crime in our state and to minister to those victimized by it. We are combating trafficking through educating the public, training and supporting law enforcement, caring for victims, advocating for victims’ rights, strengthening laws and showing the love of Christ. Prayer undergirds all these efforts. Our hope is that others will join these efforts. It will take all of us working from our strengths and passion to put a stop to modern day slavery.”