According to the U.S. Department of State, child/human trafficking is the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, behind drugs. Of the 600,000 to 800,000 people bought and sold across international borders, says the State Department, half are children and most of those are girls. This heinous problem is not limited to “the rest of the world,” but occurs in our own country. According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, nearly three million children run away each year in the U.S.—within forty-eight hours of leaving home, one-third of these children are lured into the underground world of prostitution and pornography.
At Bethany Christian Services, we have a long history of working with women and children who are vulnerable to human trafficking. In a recent event to raise awareness about the issue, I met a wonderful young woman who was first exploited sexually when she was only twelve years old. Today, Ilonka Deaton is a successful recording artist with a heart for women and girls who may have been similarly victimized. As you listen to our conversation I’m sure you will be moved by God’s power to transform the ugliest of evils into something beautiful and whole.
To read Ilonka’s personal story in its entirety, visit www.facebook.com/bethanyfans.