ATLANTA, GA (ABNS 02/01/08) - American Baptist International Ministries' Global Consultant, Lauran Bethell called on all Christians to address the international crisis of women and girls who are trafficked into prostitution, during a panel at the Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant meeting in Atlanta on Jan. 31, 2008.
Trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation typically grows out of economic need where teenage girls are required to help their families earn income to help provide for food and basic necessities, according to Bethell. She calls for all Christians to, "reach into the dark with the light of God's love" to address this problem.
As an American Baptist International Ministries' missionary, Lauran Bethell helped establish the New Life Center in Chaing Mai, Thailand, which serves young women and girls who are sold, tricked or willfully drawn into prostitution. The New Life Center provides Christian education as well as literacy and job skill training. In 2001, Bethell moved to Prague, Czech Republic, where she now serves as International Ministries' global consultant to encourage and facilitate Christ-Based ministries which address the exploitation of women and children.
Joining Bethell on the Sexual Exploitation panel was Charity Marquis, director of Night Light USA. Located in Los Angeles, Night Light USA was formed as an extension of Lauran Bethell's ministry in Thailand and is creating a market for jewelry made by Thai women who have fled the sex trade. Also participating were Rev. Lia Scholl, director of Star Light Ministries that serves women who work in the sex trade and strip clubs in Richmond, VA, and Susan Omanson, director of the Be Free Ministry, which serves women in the sex trade in Sioux Falls, SD.
The New Baptist Covenant is an informal alliance of more than 30 ethnically, geographically and theologically diverse Baptist organizations that have come together to form an authentic and genuine prophetic voice for Baptists in North America. The Covenant event, inspired by prominent Baptist and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, has participants who have committed themselves to their obligations as Christians to fulfill the biblical mandate to promote peace with justice, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, care for the sick and the marginalized, and promote religious liberty and respect for religious diversity.
Andrew C. Jayne American Baptist Churches USA Mission Resource Development http://www.abc-usa.org/