human trafficking awareness

The Hayes Endowment: Working Together to Change Lives

The Judith and David Hayes Endowment to Combat Human Trafficking was established in 2006. Since then, over $20,000 has been granted to organizations all over the world. These grants help Christians respond to human trafficking by providing education and awareness, housing and counseling for victims, as well as job skills and business development support for victims coming out of trafficking.

When you give to the Hayes Endowment, you are helping human trafficking victims find hope.

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The Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans recently received a grant and was immediately able to put it to use. “The day we received the grant from the WMU Foundation, we got a call from the National Human Trafficking Hotline,” explained Kay Bennett, executive director of the Baptist Friendship House. She spoke to a young woman who was being trafficked out of a hotel in New Orleans. “Due to receiving the grant, we knew that we would have funds to be able to get her a ticket to get her safely to Florida.”

The young woman has cerebral palsy and walks with the help of a cane. “It broke our hearts to think that someone could be so cruel to sell someone in her condition. It broke my heart more to realize that someone would buy her when they could see that she had a disability,” Bennett continued. Because of the grant they had received hours before, this young woman made it safely to Florida and is doing well. She told Bennett, “I have my Bible and a new beginning.” 

The grant has also helped the Baptist Friendship House purchase supplies for the ladies who work for their new WorldCrafts artisan group. “It is a blessing to be able to teach our ladies a trade and for them to earn fair wages,” Bennett said. “I am amazed how sitting around in a non-threatening environment and doing the pottery helps our ladies to open up and share.” When these women share with each other, that’s when healing starts. 

David George presents Kay Bennett of Baptist Friendship House with the Hayes Endowment award.

David George presents Kay Bennett of Baptist Friendship House with the Hayes Endowment award.

When you give to the Hayes Endowment, you are making a difference.

Dolores Kiser is a long-time donor to the Hayes Endowment. Her eyes were opened to the horrors of human trafficking and the heartbreaking stories when she first saw a story about it in Missions Mosaic. She wanted to help but wasn’t sure how.

The first thing Kiser did was begin to pray for the victims she would read about each month in her magazine. “I made a list of things to do to raise money. One was to ask my grown children to give money to the Hayes Endowment instead of giving me gifts for Mother’s Day, birthdays, and Christmas, which they now do,” Kiser explained. “The Lord is making a way for me to give.”

When you give to the Hayes Endowment, you are partnering with others to share the love of Christ.

There are still victims out there who need our help. Your gifts can change the hopeless to the hopeful as more people come to know Christ. The WMU Foundation grants money from the Hayes Endowment both nationally and internationally each year so that more and more victims all over the world will be free. Please visit wmufoundation.com/stoptrafficking to learn more or to give.

“We are honored to partner with you as we assist trafficking survivors, create awareness, provide trainings, and advocate for stricter laws,” Bennett said. “It takes all of us working together to change lives and change our world.”

How Baptist Women Fight Against Modern-Day Slavery

Slavery is an ugly part of our world history. It is something that should have ended long ago.

But for the millions of people held captive in our world today, slavery is alive and thriving. Human trafficking generates billions of dollars of profit every year. That's a lot of money and a lot of victims.

It's tempting to imagine that trafficking only happens in faraway countries. It's easier to think of the millions of victims living somewhere else, in places that are much different than America.

That's not the reality. Trafficking does happen in third-world countries. It is also happening in the United States. It is not confined to "bad" neighborhoods. It happens in our "safe," middle-class communities too.

These statistics represent real human beings. There are millions of individuals, many of them children, who are held captive for the purposes of sexual exploitation or forced labor.

Each victim has a name. Each one has a story.

Tajuan McCarty grew up in Georgia, in the so-called "Bible Belt," and was trafficked for the first time at the age of 15.

Over the next few years, she was trafficked all over the United States. Like so many young girls, McCarty was just looking for support when a trafficker took advantage of her.

Eliza (name changed for security purposes), a young girl from a poor Eastern European country, was lured from her home with the promise of a career and a steady income.

She signed a contract that was written in a foreign language. She was trying to escape poverty but found herself at the mercy of her captors in a foreign land, her passport taken away and no means of escape.

If there are millions of people who are held captive in our world, then we are still fighting a war to end slavery.

There are Christian organizations all over the world reaching out to trafficking victims. Some groups are survivor-founded, like McCarty's organization, The WellHouse in Birmingham, Alabama.

Other groups, like Turlac Mission in eastern Europe, minister to victims in countries where the hope of Christ is desperately needed but the gospel is not always welcome.

The WellHouse and Turlac Mission are two of the organizations that have received grants from the Woman's Missionary Union (WMU) Foundation's Hayes Endowment, which was established to provide a Christian response to human trafficking in the United States and around the world.

The grant from the WMU Foundation made it possible for The WellHouse to provide trauma counseling, medical assistance and housing to trafficking victims. The WellHouse also rescues victims from all over the United States, helping them escape dangerous situations.

Turlac Mission used their Hayes Endowment grant to purchase sewing machines. They set up a ministry teaching sewing skills to Moldovan women and giving them the ability to earn an income.

"The victims are discouraged," said Oleg Turlac, founder of Turlac Mission. "Many think there's no escape, but we've seen many situations where people have shown compassion. There is a way out. Christ is the only answer because otherwise, this is too much of a burden for a woman to bear."

The WMU Foundation's goal through the Hayes Endowment is to support Christians who are working to prevent human trafficking, rescue victims and provide counseling and safe housing. It also provides Christians with a way to proactively fight human trafficking.

"We intentionally make two grants per year from the Hayes Endowment," explains David George, WMU Foundation president. "One grant goes to an international group, and the other to an organization in the United States. When people give, it makes a difference globally."

Yes, human trafficking is an overwhelming problem. But do not for one minute believe you are powerless.

If we are to be known by our love for one another, let's pray for trafficking victims. Let's give to those who are rescuing and counseling and helping.

Let us, the followers of Christ, refuse to ignore those who are held captive and abused. As long as there are victims and as long as Jesus wants us to love our neighbor, let us continue to fight human trafficking.

This article first appeared on the EthicsDaily.com website as a part of a series on how local churches and nonprofits are (and can) work to fight against human trafficking.