BETSY ROUSE/OM (Cory Doctrow) Elyse knew she needed to do something. After having been in a community outreach program at OM Lifehope for the last nine months, busy with ministry, her world was turned upside down by a DVD she watched one night.
On the subject of human trafficking, the DVD featured Christine Caine of the A21 Campaign. “Christine talked about the fact that just having sympathy was not enough,” says Elyse. She was confronted with the reality that action was necessary. Elyse told her teammates about what she had heard, and all three felt they should do something in response. Jumping into the car, they headed to a brothel 10 minutes away from Lifehope.
“We got there and our plans that night were just to go out and pray,” explains Elyse. “But we soon realized it was more serious than we knew. As we prayed, we all felt like someone was standing on our chests.” The three stood across the street from the brothel and prayed together for those inside. “At that point,” says Elyse, “we decided we were going back every single night.”
Thus began a month of prayer, with a small group posted across the street from the brothel each night, praying for those inside. “When we were praying, there was this sense that ‘We’re not alone in this,’” says Elyse. “Even when pimps were angry and telling us to leave, I had no reason to be afraid. God was in our midst.”
One particularly painful night, one week after their praying began, the team witnessed young girls being delivered to the brothel. “It’s the difference between watching a documentary and seeing it right before your eyes,” says Elyse.
A month after praying began, the signs were removed, a notice was put on the door and the brothel was shut down. The team couldn’t believe it at first; they continued to pray another night before actually reading the sign on the door that confirmed it. Elyse smiles as she remembers her team’s response. “We were kind of like ‘Whoa! It actually worked!’”
Human trafficking can sometimes make people feel helpless. “You just feel like you’re their only voice,” says Elyse. “But I saw myself as important in this. This was my role.”
In the United Kingdom, there are untold numbers of human trafficking victims. Please continue to pray that more brothels would be permanently shut down, and for people involved in all aspects of human trafficking to meet living hope in Jesus Christ.