God Reports
4/30/13 at 01:51 PM 1 Comments

Woman who fights sex trafficking makes shocking admission: ‘I have a favorite trafficker’

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Annie & Jeff Dieselberg

By Mark Ellis

For the last 18 years, Annie Dieselberg and her husband Jeff have lived in the red light district in Bangkok, where they have inspired many with their efforts to rescue women and children exploited by the worldwide sex industry. So a few did a double take when Annie made a candid declaration recently.

“I have a scandalous confession: I have a favorite trafficker,” says Annie, founder and CEO of Nightlight Foundation. “You might ask, how someone who passionately fights to rescue victims of human trafficking could like a trafficker let alone have a favorite?” she asks.

Nothing diminishes her scorn for an industry that exploits and destroys millions of people in its greedy quest, with many innocents unwittingly caught in its tentacles. “Some of these people are victims and some are the exploiters,” Annie notes. “It would be easy to draw the line in the sand to clearly establish the acceptable and the unacceptable; the lovable and the despicable; those worthy of grace and those to condemn.”

These black and white characterizations have become more difficult for her. “It was easy, until I met Lionel, one of many characters in the drama of human trafficking. Exploitation is wrong – no ifs, ands, or buts about it, but hating an individual simply because of what they do becomes much harder when you know them by name,” she admits.

“Lionel is a nice guy but I hate what Lionel is doing. I hate it that he cooperates and is complicit with the selling of women. I hate it that the women under his supervision are being exploited and destroyed through this heinous crime. But since I know and like Lionel, I can’t just hate him and condemn him because of what he does,” Annie says.

Jesus offered redemption to a host of despicable characters, who were seemingly unfit for heaven. “I think it is in this tension that the gospel begins to look authentic,” she says. “The line Jesus drew in the sand was a line that erased our right to judge, to condemn, and to exclude those who sin from grace or salvation.”


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