Religious Organization Brings Awareness of Sex Trafficking in Macon
The International House of Prayer (IHOP) showed a sex trafficking documentary on Saturday at the ACM 16 in hopes of bringing awareness to a problem they believe is in the area.
More than 100 people watched “Nefarius, Merchant of Souls,” in order to learn about the sex trade not only overseas but here in the United States.
"We really need to raise awareness, just for the issue that it is going on that trafficking is not somewhere else but it's even in Macon," IHOP Worship Director Jason Carr said.
The documentary details the everyday struggles of women caught up in the fastest growing criminal industry in the world according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. However, activists like Sister Elizabeth of The Middle Georgia Alliance to End Regional Trafficking want to bring attention to the problem in this area.
"You only have to drive down from here to Florida to see the number of spas and massage parlors to know there is something unusual the number between here and Florida,” Sister Elizabeth said. “Why are there so many here? You go to other parts of the country, you don't see that. What's going on here?"
That's a question many religious organizations like IHOP are trying to answer. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Atlanta ranks as a top destination for trafficking with about 400 girls moving through the region each month. A study by an anti - sex trafficking organization finds more than 7200 men in Georgia participate in sexual activities with minors monthly.
The problem isn’t just in Atlanta.
"Just from talking to a woman who was rescued, who'd been involved, who was traffic into the city of Macon, she estimated maybe half of the girls in these spas have been trafficked against their will,” Carr said.
Outside the theatre, people signed cards that will be sent to congressmen asking them to strengthen sex trafficking laws. Religious activists say they hope the movie inspires people to think about the civil rights issues and seek answers from God.
"People begin to pray, it comes to the forefront of their mind and they kind of carry that with them where they go,” Carr said. “People they talk to, and they just begin to speak about it more openly."
Every Tuesday between2 p.m. and 4p.m IHOP holds a prayer for the people affected by sex trafficking.
Sites of organizations fighting sex trafficking and slavery in the United States and around the world.