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February 5th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

The new Christian abolition movement

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Greensboro, North Carolina (CNN) —The truck-stop hooker is no Julia Roberts, the trucker in the cab with her no Richard Gere, and this truck stop off the highway could not be any farther from Beverly Hills, the staging ground for “Pretty Woman.”

The woman sports baggy shorts, a white T-shirt and frizzy hair. Her fat middle-aged pimp sits in a beat up red Honda, watching as his “lot lizard” moves from truck to truck, in broad daylight.  If this pimp has a cane it is for substance, not style.

She moves through the parking lot, occasionally opening a cab’s passenger-side door and climbing in.

The trucker and hooker disappear in the back for 10 minutes.

Danielle Mitchell watches from the other end of the parking lot and shakes her head.

“We know from talking to other victims and other agencies that girls are taken to truck stops and they’re actually traded,” she says, sitting in her car, a shiny silver sport utility vehicle, keeping a healthy 50-yard distance from the pimp.

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Mitchell is North Carolina human trafficking manager for World Relief.  World Relief is a Christian nonprofit attached to the National Association of Evangelicals and is best known for its efforts to combat global hunger and respond to disasters around the world.

Mitchell is trying to tackle a disaster in her home state.   And she is not alone.

Motivated in large part by their religious traditions of protecting the vulnerable and serving “the least of these,” as Jesus instructed his followers to do in the Gospel of Matthew, World Relief and other Christian agencies like the Salvation Army are stepping up efforts and working with law enforcement to stem the flow of human trafficking, which includes sex trafficking and labor trafficking.

“Jesus didn’t just go around telling people about himself.  He also healed the blind and healed the brokenhearted, he freed captives, and I think that it would be ridiculous to walk up to someone who is hurting and tell them, ‘Let me tell you about the Gospel,’ and then walk away while they’re still hurting,” Mitchell says.

In North Carolina, the result of those efforts can be seen in the number of victims of human trafficking being referred to World Relief for services, up 700% in 2011, Mitchell says.

“It’s not that North Carolina is all of a sudden trafficking more people,” Mitchell says. “It’s that we know what to look for and we’re actually identifying and rescuing them.”

Truck stops and sweet potatoes

North Carolina’s rich soil makes it an agricultural hub. It produces more sweet potatoes than anywhere else in the country.  The state acts as a crossroads for three major interstate highways. The mix of accessibility and low-paying farm jobs make a good working environment for traffickers, Mitchell says.

This truck stop is the type you think twice about.  It’s grimy and run down.

How badly do I really have to use the bathroom?  I bet I could hold out for another 12 miles.  That kind of place.

Mitchell walks in and politely asks the women behind the register if they have tape.

“Over there, honey,” the cashier says, pointing to a dimly lit portion of the store.

After paying for a roll of industrial packing tape, she tucks it in her purse and heads for the restroom.

In a stall on the far end, she shuts the door behind her and pulls out the tape and a poster with words in English and Spanish.

“Need help?” the poster asks. “Are you being forced to do something you don’t want to do?” There’s a toll free number, 888-373-7888, for the National Human Trafficking Hotline, run by the nonprofit Polaris Project.

More on the fight against modern-day slavery at the CNN Freedom Project

“A lot of times when girls are being trafficked they’re being controlled,” Mitchell says. “They’re often not allowed to get very far from their trafficker.  And we’ve found one of the very few times girls are alone is when they’re in the bathroom.”

She used to ask if she could hang posters in truck stop restrooms. Now she just hangs them.

That toll free hot line number is plastered on combs, lip balms and nail files that Mitchell and other anti-trafficking workers can slip discreetly to men and women they suspect might be victims. Slipping a potential client an anti-trafficking business card could be dangerous, even deadly, they say.

A comb, nail file and lip balm feature the number for the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

But it’s not the only way Mitchell gets in touch with victims.  Law enforcement is reaching out to her more and more.

When North Carolina law enforcement breaks up a trafficking ring, they call her.

She helps the victims get safe places to live, food and job training,  along with just being a conversation partner.

Since 2010, North Carolina has had a statewide coalition to fight human trafficking. Law enforcement officers are now trained in what to look for. The program includes rapid response teams made up of representatives from law enforcement, service providers, hospitals and charities. When a potential victim comes into a hospital or is discovered through an arrest, the team springs into action.

“Victims are not going to self-identify,” says Mitchell, who has since left World Relief and is considering going back to school after a lack of funding threatened to cut her hours to part time. “ They’re not going to say ‘I’m a victim of human trafficking.’ So the burden is really on the service providers and law enforcement and the community."

In North Carolina, the partnerships between those groups, she says, “have helped to rescue victims.”

Church and state in an unlikely coalition 

Christian groups working to combat trafficking are providing law enforcement with some much-needed relief.

“Because of the limitations of our work, we like to partner with organizations that can provide services,” says Kory Williford, a victim specialist with the FBI based in North Carolina.

“Human trafficking isn’t the only victim population we work with, so to have organizations who can provide care to our victims on a longer term basis than we are able to is huge,” she says.

“A lot of sex trafficking is occurring in this state” and labor trafficking is on the upswing, Williford says.

The FBI in North Carolina has been partnering with World Relief for several years.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Anand P. Ramaswamy, who focuses on human trafficking cases across the state from the federal prosecutors office in Greensboro, says he has been collaborating with local law enforcement on human trafficking.

“Those kind of cases have only recently been on the uptick,” he says. “As officers become more trained in what to look for, the number of cases goes up.”

The nation and the state are still working to catch up with the reality of trafficking, he says.

“Sometimes the victim was treated as part of the problem,” he says.  “In one instance a 16-year-old girl was charged with prostitution by local authorities.  So we have to go and sort of undo that.  That’s also the case where the person may have done something wrong, so they’re reluctant to come forward.”

Ramaswamy is keenly aware that his office and religious groups do not always have the same interests. His is in upholding and enforcing the law, while religious groups are interested in practicing their religion.

But the assistant U.S. attorney still believes in the partnership between church and state.

“On one hand the fact they’re a religious organization is not directly relevant,” he says. “However, if you look at the history of the abolitionist movement, it has always been religious communities and those are the people who are concerned enough to be active in it.

“And today with modern-day slavery the same is the case.”

The new Underground Railroad

Westover Church in Greensboro, North Carolina, is imagining what fighting modern-day slavery could look like. The nondenominational suburban church is cut from an evangelical cloth and has 5,000 members and a sprawling campus.

In 2011, the church started a ministry called “Abolition!” to fight human trafficking. It focuses on prayer, awareness and resources.

“In truth we didn’t know what we were going to do. We just knew we had a really strong passion for it,” says Dianne Stone, an "Abolition!" member. “We didn’t want to be a group that got together and said, ‘Oh we feel so bad for this.’ We wanted to do something and we wanted to make a difference.”

In a bright room off the sanctuary, Stone, Cambre Weller and Jennifer Craver, all members the group, explain why they got involved. They seem unlikely fighters against trafficking.

They could easily pass for a women’s Bible study group as they casually chat about their children and church activities before turning their attention to trafficking concerns in their area.

“It’s another thing to realize this is in your backyard and that’s our responsibility to address that and protect those who are being exploited,” Craver says.

What's the role of faith in fighting slavery?

Craver says the things they have learned about trafficking are horrible and keep her up at night. “I don’t want to know about trafficking, but I do know about it and as a Christian, I feel like I have to respond to that,” she says. “That is part of my calling.”

The group screens documentaries about human trafficking at other churches and sends out speakers to the Christian circuit. They also prepare emergency bags: canvas totes with a comb, brush, journal, pajamas, clean towels and other basics they learned that most trafficked women don’t have.

They keep a ready stash of bags for World Relief to distribute to victims, particularly those who are rescued during raids.

Mitchell says her faith has played a large role in her work to help victims of trafficking. “I don’t think I’m any different than anyone I work with, in vulnerability or dignity,” she says. “And man, I really believe that Christ saw everyone equally.”

Danielle Mitchell views her faith as integral to her work in fighting human trafficking.

“I could have been born in a brothel in India,” she says.

But there is a limit to how much personal faith she shares with clients.

“We’re completely client centered,” she says. “That means we’re not going to force our faith on anyone.  And I don’t talk to the clients about what I believe, unless they ask me.”

“If a client asks me and they want to go to a Buddhist temple, then I’m going to take them because that’s what they want.”

Prostituted not prostitute

Back at the truck stop, Mitchell explains that she hates the term “prostitute” and despises the phrase “lot lizard.”  She says it strips people of their dignity.

Instead, she refers to a “woman or man who is being prostituted.”  It is a slight change in wording that reveals a starkly different viewpoint.

“A lot of people think of sex trafficking or prostitution, they think it’s glamorous and that you can pinpoint someone who is selling sex or being sold for sex,” she says. “Usually it’s just average people who maybe aren’t taking care of themselves."

The prostitute, or woman being prostituted, or potential human trafficking victim, gets back into the beat up red Honda with the overweight pimp, who drives off, maybe after catching a glimpse of a journalist and activist watching them from a safe distance.

Mitchell calls the police to report what she just saw.

A few hours later, they call back and say the alleged pimp and alleged prostitute are long gone.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Church and state • North Carolina • United States

soundoff (1,631 Responses)
  1. Aelia

    I would just like to commend 'jj' for standing up for people who DO THE RIGHT THING. I'm with you all the way. it doesn't matter what religion this woman is, what matters is that she is helping people and doing what she knows is right. It doesn't matter if she's Christian or Jewish or Muslim or whatever. I wouldn't care if she was an atheist like me. She's helping people and actively doing good. I seriously doubt most of you haters have done as many good deeds as she has. I hope when she dies she thinks she's gone to 'heaven', because *if* there really is such a place (which I don't think there is) she would deserve to be there.

    February 5, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  2. SwilliamP

    What these Christians are doing takes guts and is no more pleasant than relief work after a natural disaster. It is noteworthy that they do not try to cram their faith down the rescued people's throats. We can't all do this type of intervention but it is a strong reminder we should not be fat, dumb and happy about human suffering, either..

    February 5, 2012 at 11:18 am |
  3. tony

    Just as large of a percentage of Atheists do the same. Goodness doesn't require a god in the background. Even Mother Theresa couldn't find god helping her in her good work and wrote as such.

    February 5, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • AnnaMaria44

      Ok, then provide a few examples.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • tony

      Most Western Governments, except the US of course, have police and other departments full of people dedicated to fighting criminals who take advantage of women. No religion involved. And no "christian" population whining constantly about paying a few bucks a year extra in "their money" as taxes to help the unfortunate in their own society.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Laura

      You are right, Tony, "doing" good should be a testament of humanity, not one religion. HOWEVER, it is really nice to see Christians putting their beliefs into practice rather than just spouting them off. So many Christians use their "faith" to hurt others when they should be helping.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • mike

      Me...I'm atheist and every other weekend I volunteer at the local homeless shelter and during Christmas I volunteer with Toys for Tots and Meals on Wheels. You don't have to be religious to volunteer your time. What she is doing is a very good thing and I applaud her for her efforts. But don't believe for one second it's only the Church and their flock that is out there doing volunteer work for the needy.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  4. Former atheists accepts Jesus Christ

    I'm glad Christians are making a positive difference in the world and telling everyone about the Good News of Jesus Christ. Look at this forum – all the mean, hateful and vile comments are coming from atheists. This is the reason why I gave up atheism – atheists live in their own little worlds and think they have figured it all out. In reality, they know nothing. All they can do here is passionately try to disprove the existance of God, tell Christians to stop all their good works, live their pathetic pointless lives, and die some day. If you think belief in God is a delusion, I'd rather live a delusional life – at least get to help the poor and feed the hungry. I pity atheists.

    February 5, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • awtpSIM

      What we have here is a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black 🙂

      February 5, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      You were never an atheist, you're lying in the name of god.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Atheist #1

      Be warned! They will Lie for their God and Religion.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Former atheists accepts Jesus Christ

      Oh I was an atheist to the bone. However, as I grew older, I had a hard time accepting the fact that I decended from an ape-like creature (that's what the media wants us to believe). Furthermore, they're coming up with strange new discoveries in science and astronomy each day. I'm sure there has to be a lot more to life than we see with our eyes here on earth.

      After I attended medical school, I realized that DNA has been designed carefully by an extremely intelligent creator. The probability of amino acids assembling into proteins is impossible. The probability of DNA replication is impossible. The probability of DNA "correcting itself" during self-replication is impossible. It just cannot happen according to mathematical probability.

      In fact, my belief in God grew stronger by reading sciences books instead of religious books 🙂

      February 5, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • tony

      If DNA was designed, then there are likely a whole team of creators. That's the way we design things here on Earth. Following in all the those gods image . . . . .

      February 5, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Dan

      LOL...Typical! Somebody becomes convinced that there's a God and you immediately accuse them of never having been an atheist. Prove it! You really know what goes on in a person's head or heart? You're no atheists; you obviously believe you're God!

      February 5, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Frank

      The bottom is that Christianity is solely based on the GOOD IN PEOPLE, LOVING PEOPLE and HELPING PEOPLE. Thats what it is at its core. Even if you don't believe no decent human could argue that in the heart of every Christian is "GOOD"

      To prove it, Ill list the code of honor all Christians try and live by, nothing bad in it is there?

      ONE: 'You shall have no other gods before Me.'

      TWO: 'You shall not make for yourself a carved image–any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.'

      THREE: 'You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.'

      FOUR: 'Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.'

      FIVE: 'Honor your father and your mother.'

      SIX: 'You shall not murder.'

      SEVEN: 'You shall not commit adultery.'

      EIGHT: 'You shall not steal.'

      NINE: 'You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.'

      TEN: 'You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.'

      February 5, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • mike

      You don know to lie is a sin. But then again it really doesn't matter what you do I guess. You could be the most horrible person on the earth. Murdering people, stealing and breaking everyone of the so called commandments and still go to heaven as long as you repent and accept him as your savior. Why even live a good life if that's all it takes. Hitler and Stalin might just be sitting at the great table with him right now talking about what they did before they changed their ways.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Laura

      Yikes. Coming on a little strong, there. And you appear hypocritical. "Pathetic, pointless lives...." that's pretty hateful and judgmental. Are you the arbiter of right and wrong or is Christ? Or maybe you think you ARE Christ? This is what atheists don't trust about Christians. Some of them put themselves in a "superior" position, looking down on others while claiming to be humble. You can't be both. I am an agnostic and accept my own hypocrisy as part of human nature.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Laura

      One argument against intelligent design: cows. They have to chew their food twice because their stomachs can't digest it the first time? What a stupid design! This world is by no means perfect. If humans are so intelligently designed, why were we given the ability to choose between right and wrong (we choose wrong often enough). Animals don't have that defect. There are only two options for the intelligent designer: He is malevolent or indifferent to suffering. There is no way to argue that a benevolent, all-knowing being created THIS world intelligently. What about the apparent random occurrences of cancer in children? That was planned? For what reason? If you say "we can't know the reason, that is not our place" then we cannot POSSIBLY know the cause! That is arrogance.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  5. Sailorlal

    Nice to see Christians doing something useful.

    February 5, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • dave

      I would bang the blonde christian chick. Nice face and rack.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Dan

      Can't commend a Christian for doing good without being snarky, eh?

      February 5, 2012 at 11:39 am |
  6. Lee

    Modern day slavery is everywhere. In our city, state, country, & all around the world. In what we eat, wear, & use. People are just so ignorant & self centered to care or even acknowledge it. America is based on consuming more than we can support. We promote a horrible sense of life. Gooo FOOZBALL! -_- It has nothing to do w/ religion, it has to do with doing the right thing & not trying to be a "rebel" or "real american" understanding the world for what it is & trying to make a difference. I applaude this woman, shes a great contributor!

    February 5, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  7. jj

    The neurotic anti religion types are so predictable. Here is this woman doing something to make a difference and the anti religious people can only criticize because it's her faith that's driving her to do it. Can't you people see how bigoted you are? I would love to see a list of atheist charities that are battling poverty, hunger, disease, etc. around the world. If it was even 5% as long as the list of Christian charities doing this kind of work I'd be extremely surprised.

    February 5, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Barb

      Not all anti-religious people have a problem with this. I against religion, I don't believe in God and I don't have a problem with it, as long as she's helping people that need it and want it. Atheist don't want religion pushed on them, so they shouldn't push their beliefs, or lack thereof, on anyone else.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  8. David

    HolyCow! I am amazed that anyone would knock the good work these people are doing. Whatever their motivation is, as long as it helps others (especially someone who is enslaved), why should anyone else care. Kudos to the women in this article and to all who help in this struggle.

    February 5, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  9. jaime

    if they r hungry we r called to feed them, if they r naked we r called to cloth them. its that simple we r called to help the gospels r just that simple is as jesus' love for us.

    February 5, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  10. Phil

    The solution is to just legalize it. Then you take all the shady characters out of the picture.

    Funny how with the religious types, that option is already off the table.

    Makes you wonder with the real agenda here is.

    February 5, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Dan

      Sweden legalized it and trafficking skyrocketed. They have now gone back to the very "Puritan" ways of making it illegal and arresting the Johns and trafficking is becoming less common. Legalizing marijuana isn't working either, by the way. Dealers don't want to deal with bureaucratic red tape, so they go back underground. You legalization nuts are wrong. Nothing bears out what you say.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • andy colsen

      you are an i d i o t. this is the problem of our society today. we keep legalizing stuff to get rid of crime. why not legalize everything unless someone complains that they have been negatively affected by anything.. the law would be simple right and there would be far less crime.

      do you know how much the goal posts have been moved in recent history.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • AnnaMaria44

      I've lived in Europe. Legalization isn't working there.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • mike

      I'm sure you lived in Europe. You do understand then that they don't work truck stops then right. Where in Europe did you live? If you lived in Eastern Europe I'll bite and go along with the fact that it's horrible what they are doing. But if you go to Amsterdam or even Frankfurt it's completely different they way it's handled. I think your lying about where you lived, unless your basing your "living" off being station in the military.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Michael

      mike- Your getting the whole equation wrong. The protestants believe if you say I believe, they are saved. Go to the original, One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Church. The Catholic Church has always stated that you have to put the money where your mouth is to get to Heaven. "Not by faith alone is man save, but by good works...". Protestants have really degraded the name of Christ by teaching error.

      February 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  11. 21k

    the pimps need to go to jail, or experience some horrible death. so what this woman is doing is commendable. but it is not a religious issue, it is a law enforcement issue. however, somehow the righteous xtians in the gop seemed to ignore the fact that about half the counties of nevada license brothels. how's that for hipocracy? maybe they should have told nevada to shove their caucus up their exit holes. oh, i forgot, newt was on the roster. figures, xtian republicans.

    February 5, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Fixed That For You

      "Atheism is no more a religion than not collecting stamps is a hobby."
      "Atheism is no more a religion than bald is a hair color."
      and so on.

      Nii Croffie, get thee to a logic class toot sweet, sweetie.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Fixed That For You

      "Atheism is no more a religion than not collecting stamps is a hobby."
      "Atheism is no more a religion than bald is a hair color."
      and so on.

      Nii Croffie, get thee to a logic class toot sweet, sweetie.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:28 am |
  12. lee s

    SO you have to be christian to do good things? Please. BS. Is all this is. If youre doing something because its the right thing to do thats great, if your doing it to prove you are "holier than thou" your just as bad as the people your trying to change. If you have to say your faith is what made you see the wrong that was being wrought on people you are still blind.

    February 5, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • jj

      And lee, what exactly are you doing to make a difference in the world? how about at least commending somebody for doing good instead of spewing your religious intolerance for a change?

      February 5, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Obligatory Steven Weinberg Quote

      "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil—that takes religion. "
      -Steven Weinberg

      February 5, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Bannister

      Nobody said you HAVE to be Christian to do go things. However, people who ARE Christian (or Buddhist or Hindu, etc) often do good things in the context of their faith. Having a close-knit community (like a church) often inspires people to challenge each other and go that extra mile.

      So no, you don't have to be a Christian – but I'm sure those people who were rescued aren't complaining!

      February 5, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Toby

      Obligatory.. Thats the dumbest quote ive ever read. So non religious people cant do bad things? I dont get the logic..

      February 5, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by Toby is a fallacy of Inductive Conversion.

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/

      February 5, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      It is strange when atheists think they hve no religion. Atheism is the official religion in China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba and is the estblished religion of several Westerners for which they will do everything good or evil to promote. Agnostics are very rare rather rabid atheists abound.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Fixed That For You

      "Atheism is no more a religion than not collecting stamps is a hobby."
      "Atheism is no more a religion than bald is a hair color."
      and so on.

      Nii Croffie, get thee quickly to a logic class toot sweet, sweetie.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • rg

      lee i agree with you 100% but save your breathe your trying to explain something that requires logical thinking which we alll know is a sore subject for religous people.

      the ignorance of SOME religous people is sickening, who are to judge athiests? You speak as if you know all, yet i have never met one of you who didnt condradicted themselves. save it for your fellow fallowers and quick ear raping the open minded.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Hmm this thing about allow me to do what I want 'cos I'm grown up sounds so childish. Well emotional maturity is in short supply and among atheist very rare indeed. U need emotional maturity 2 b rational. Religious people n spiritual people fare better. If it says 'ATHEIST' they know it isn't 4 them

      February 5, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Nii Croffie

      Emotional maturity is required for rational thinking so I wonder why emotionally immature atheists here think they re being rational. It beats all imagination.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Prior posts by Nii Croffie contain both ad hominem and circu-mstantial >ad hominem fallacies.

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/

      February 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
  13. Carrie

    “We’re completely client centered,” she says. “That means we’re not going to force our faith on anyone. And I don’t talk to the clients about what I believe, unless they ask me.” “If a client asks me and they want to go to a Buddhist temple, then I’m going to take them because that’s what they want.”

    It appears like a lot of folks commenting negatively about this woman blew right past these statements or some of the other detail in the article. I respect her action on behalf of others. She is not trying to impose her religion on anyone, she is trying to women, children and men who are being held against their will and abused for someone else's gain. What I find interesting is that those expressing the most anger against her did not seem connected at all to to the reality and horror of human trafficking. I guess they just don't care...

    February 5, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Ed

      You're right, but their responses are to be expected.

      In the 60's, Mattel manufactured a toy "Chatty Cathy" doll that spoke one of maybe a dozen phrases when someone pulled a ring attached to a string in its back. It didn't think or reason, it just replayed sounds stored within.

      Many (most?) people who post on here aren't much more than Chatty Cathy dolls, but, in true high tech fashion, their payback isn't triggered by a ring on a string, but by words in an article or a post. They skim until they find a buzzword that sets them off, then spit out their programmed response, as oblivious to the world around them as the doll.

      For some, it's the word "Afghanistan" or the names "Obama, "Romney," "Clinton," "Gingrich" or "Paul" that sets triggers the hidden playback device within. Put one of those words in a post, and they will spit out a variation of every other post they've made on the subject - no matter the context in which the word was used.

      For others, it's "religion." They aren't reading the article and they certainly aren't thinking; they're just doing the only thing their limited skills allow them to do: regurgitate stored text.

      Don't be offended, and don't dislike them. They can't help it. Somewhere along the line they were programmed to say certain things when they hear or read certain things. They can't help it. It's sad, really.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  14. funnyguy

    yay they're doing something good.

    February 5, 2012 at 10:59 am |
    • Dan

      You people kill me. You whine and cry and accuse Christians of all sorts of things, claiming that they do no good, but when you are offered proof of Christians doing good, you get all snarky and sarcastic or accuse them of ulterior motives. Please.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  15. Sheldon Traver

    In Salem, Oregon, Corban University started the Cinderella Campaign in an effort to fight human trafficking. The idea is for any organization putting on a Cinderella performance to give part of the profits to a non-profit that fights human trafficking. The school raised more than $5,000 for Shared Hope International during seven performances.
    http://community.statesmanjournal.com/blogs/midvalleyarts/2011/12/05/corbans-cinderella-earns-5k-for-charity/

    February 5, 2012 at 10:57 am |
  16. jaime

    avails much. BUT James also tells us that "faith without works is dead" (James 2) many "christians" and "churches" feel the need to just pray and shove "religion" down the throat of the non-believer but thats NOT what a disciple is called to do.

    February 5, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • jj

      goodness sakes can't you put away your hatred for religion even for a moment and at least acknowledge this woman is doing good??

      February 5, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Toby

      If someone believes they know the right answer, they will try to share it.. Sometimes over zealousy.. Look at athiests, they do it all the time.. Is just human nature.. Whats the problem..

      February 5, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • danlamb

      Seriously... I don't understand all the religious hatred comments on here. This lady is out doing some really amazing things – and all we can do is put down her religion?

      February 5, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  17. TheMovieFan

    It is nice to read a story about Christians who actually read the contents of the Bible between the Old Testament an Revelations.

    February 5, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  18. Paulina

    Punish the clients. Every man who is using them is slime.

    February 5, 2012 at 10:55 am |
    • rick

      they pay for services. if it bother you, do not participate

      February 5, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Toby

      True. But some men just dont know. Look at the ignorance on these boards for example. Some people just dont get that most of these women are slaves

      February 5, 2012 at 11:13 am |
  19. Believer

    I didn't believe in God before, however, God told me to stay from American women and American cars (they both need a lot of maintenance). God is always right and now I'm a believer.

    February 5, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • funnyguy

      that's a pathetic reason to believe but it's funny. lol.

      February 5, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  20. bspurloc

    stories about people doing things because it is the right thing to do dont make head lines. so if she was not 'christian' she would not do this? if she was muslim we would be bashing her. religion is a virus, europe has the antidote but the usa it is still trying to inquisition us.

    February 5, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Toby

      Ive read many stories about muslims doing good things, whats your point? Ive also read stories about people doing great things with no mention of religion. So whats your point? Religion is a virus? So is mankind. And europe is no better off without religion. Have you seen whats going on in europe? Wheres your utopia? How is everyone so much better off?

      February 5, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • AnnaMaria44

      "Europe has the antidote?" Please- try living there for a while, you may change your mind on that. Personally I became tired of the constant rioting, burning of neighborhoods over ethnic differences, and cafe bombings.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • cigarlover6

      So Toby, how has religion benefited you, other than playing with your head and mind?
      Do you really think, the fruits of modernization you are enjoying and taking for granted, appeared because you believe in some 'god' or as the muslims say 'allah' or a hindu say 'bhagwaan'?
      Its the human work ethics and spirit (not the kind you like) that causes it. So stop giving credit to somethign that doesnt exists just as to make you feel good about a cult.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Dan

      You obviously don't watch CNN's " Inside Africa" or "Inside Asia." They are always running stories of people from other places doing the same kinds of things. They just ran one recently about a Muslim man who runs a hunger relief organization in South Africa. They also run stories about non-believers doing the same. How many Christians are on CNN's "Hero of the Year"? Bashing for the sake of bashing is just childish.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Todd

      Why is this story evoking such anti-religion rhetoric? Multi-Faith organizations are involved in anti-trafficking efforts as well. All of you who pound the keyboard in relative anonymity and spit vitriol because the protagonists in the story are from Christian agencies should stop for one second and ask yourself "What I have done, really done, not thrown money at, but done to help another person completely unknown to me without any agenda other than to lift that one person's spirit?" If you have to stop and think even for a moment, you are upset with the wrong people. Point the accusing finger towards yourself and thank God that some of his followers actually pay attention to the correct commandments.

      February 5, 2012 at 11:57 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.