Ky. Baptists focusing on human trafficking at annual meeting

Published: November 1, 2016

Florence—Kentucky Baptists are calling on state law enforcement authorities and prosecutors to do all in their power to end the atrocity of human trafficking.

Messengers to the Kentucky Baptist Convention's annual meeting Nov. 15 in Florence are focusing attention on human trafficking, a $32 billion illegal industry that ensnares an estimated 27 million people worldwide, including in Kentucky, where advocacy groups say children as young as 2 months old have been victimized.

A proposed resolution to be voted on calls for Kentucky Baptists to educate themselves and others about human trafficking, how to prevent it, and how to minister to those who have been victimized by it.

Already, the Kentucky Baptist Convention has made it an internal policy to not do business with hotels unless they agree to help fight human trafficking by providing training for their employees on how to spot and help victims of human trafficking.

"I anticipate this resolution will pass unanimously at our annual meeting," said Kentucky Baptist Convention Executive Director Paul Chitwood. "This is a horrendous crime that must be addressed. Human beings should not be treated as property and used in forced prostitution or involuntary labor. It's an atrocity that must be dealt with."

The resolution points out that children are twice as likely as adults to be trafficked, with the average girl groomed for prostitution being between 12 and 14 years old.

"We encourage Kentucky Baptists to support agencies and ministries which help rescue and rehabilitate trafficking victims," the resolution says.

The resolution also calls upon Kentucky Baptists to support public policies at the local, state, national, and international level which combat human trafficking, to support hotels and motels that train employees to recognize and report suspected incidents of human trafficking, and affirms the work of people in law enforcement, education, medicine, counseling, and other professions who address human trafficking.

Foster care & adoption

Convention messengers will also consider a resolution encouraging church members to consider adoption.

At last count, the state had custody of nearly 8,000 children who had been removed from their homes because of abuse or neglect and were in some type of foster care. The eye-catching number led to Mount Vernon Pastor Neal Thornton to propose the resolution.

Thornton, chairman of the KBC's Public Affairs Committee, said the scripture calls on God's people to provide homes for orphans.

"We understand we have a Christian responsibility to provide physical care to those in need and to adopt orphans as we have opportunity," the resolution says.

The resolution also urges Kentucky Baptists to support the ministry of Sunrise Children's Services, which, since 1869, has been taking care of orphans in the state. Sunrise is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and receives funding through the Cooperative Program and through special offerings from the state's 2,400 Kentucky Baptist churches. (KBC)