What do we do when problems like human trafficking seem overwhelming? Does avoidance work? Did God have something else in mind?
In April of 2016, the Haupt family took for us, a great leap of faith. We went "all in" on launching Sacred Roots Farm, a place of holistic healing for women escaping the sex trafficking industry.
Over the last several years, I have become increasingly aware of the effect that human trafficking and sexual exploitation is having on a generation of people in my home state of Georgia. I have been inspired by many other ministries that have made strides in fighting this evil that still largely remains in the shadows.
One aspect of this complex problem however, has troubled me more than others. Where do women go for a real shot at healing? That question is followed by a another. What does healing look like?
These questions led me to begin to identify some prominent problems here in Georgia. There are not near enough specifically-designed long-term recovery centers for women who have been trafficked and want out. Fewer than half of the over 300 women per year who want out are able to find long-term placement.
That is when I thought somebody should do something. I guess I have thought that somebody should do something for a few years. Then I came to the realization that God thinks I am somebody. What if it is I who should do something?
Since I am occasionally logical, once I started contemplating the question, I started counting the costs. The unpleasant part of this journey is that it led me to other questions.
What is the life of a trafficked woman worth?
What is the worth of her child?
As you read this you may think that these questions sound callous, but we all make these determinations. I received counsel from someone to not waste my time on a ministry to trafficked women because they are not worth the money it will cost. Globally, the monetary price of a trafficked woman is about $90. Obviously, there are many factors that traffickers use to determine her value (geography, ethnicity, age, etc.). I then realized that I like traffickers have an internal algorithm which I use to determine the worth of a person. It would embarrass me too much to list my factors.
These questions moved from abstract to deeply personal when a friend of mine asked me, "Are these women worth the rest of you life?" "Are these women worth what it will cost your family by choosing this path?" "Is this a good idea you had or do you believe that God wants you to do this?"
After this conversation, I went into the woods for about four days to sort this out.
I have come to believe there are three ways to determine of the value the life of a trafficked woman. One is a simple economical approach in which her value is determined by how much the woman can make for her pimp.
Then there is a second, more complex economical approach which incorporates potential societal contributions or societal costs. In this model we might include things like age, occupational potential, general health, likability or neediness or "worthiness," social connections, etc. I believe that we do this without much reflection, however, which is what created the angst that I experienced while in the woods.
Then there is a third approach to assigning value to people. What if every person on this planet has infinite value that is divine? What if they possess that divine value whether they believe in God or not? What if that divine value does not grow dim regardless of economic or social valuation? What if it is our role as Christians is to hold that divine value for people who can't yet see it or don't yet understand it?
I believe this divine value enables me to commit to a ministry to trafficked women for the rest of my life. They are worth what it will cost my family. This is something that God has called me to do. Even though I know I am called, I also know that for this ministry to succeed, God must call others as well. I trust that He will do that.
We are praying for 300 people by the end of the year who would support Sacred Roots Farm. If you believe that you are one of these people, please let me know. We would love to have you as part of the team.