USA (MNN) — Buckner
International has been committed to transforming lives by putting Christ's love
in action for over 130 years. But last week, the ministry sealed that
commitment in writing for one marginalized group of people.
Buckner International and
Refuge of Light signed a three-year agreement last week to work jointly serving
female minors identified as victims of sex trafficking.
Refuge of Light, based in
Tyler, Texas, hopes to start construction for the safe-home early in 2013 to
serve girls 17 years of age and under. Buckner will oversee the operations and provide
staff members to work with Refuge of Light. Buckner staff will also assist in
case management and therapy.
Refuge of Light, which formed
in 2010, is dedicated to establishing a long-term safe home that provides
physical, mental and spiritual healing in an effort to overcome the
brutalization of modern day slavery, or sex trafficking, in the lives of
victimized girls in the United States.
"The beauty of this agreement
is that it allows both ministries to work together to fulfill the core values
of our separate missions," said Felipe Garza, vice president for expansion and
development for Buckner. "We are committed to being the presence of Christ for
the most vulnerable in our world, and no person is more vulnerable than a young
female who is victimized by the sex trade."
Within the United States, there
are an estimated 100,000 to 300,000 individuals trafficked annually. But there
are few resources for these girls who have been forced into slavery. There are
only a handful of shelters for them. The majority of the victims are young
girls who have fallen prey to the commercial sex industry at the hands of
perpetrators, according to reports from the U.S. government.
This new partnership will be
the beginning of restoring light into the lives of girls who have been smothered
in darkness. Pray for the ministries as they start up this project, and pray
for their future efforts to bring girl after girl to a relationship with