“Spare God’s children from sex slavery”, says Singleton
Opal Singleton, a crusader for Human Trafficking in California, believes that the church and the religious community can make a huge difference in the proactive prevention of Human Trafficking in their respective areas.
Singleton is the president and CEO of MillionKids.org. She trained over 35,000 officials from government and private sectors to prevent Human Trafficking in California; and the request for training has increased since the new laws on Human Trafficking were passed. She partners with the Riverside Country Sheriff and extends her outreach to churches and the religious communities in unifying efforts to train kids to stay away from pimps and prostitution.
Singleton emphasized that it is not about recovering from prostitution, but more on preventing prostitution. Love and acceptance prevent Human Trafficking. She said that parents too often neglect the chance to be the “Jesus and Mary at the well” in these situations. There is no love in these families, and this is where the church can play a very important role because the church is all about love.
Singleton added that the target population is within the reach of the church and religious communities. They are the runways, drug addicts and the homeless; they are the products of foster care, teen pregnancy and poor parenting; and they are school children.
“The church may already have existing programs, but they should include the awareness that they are highly vulnerable to Human Trafficking, and such should and could be prevented,” said Singleton.
Human trafficking victims do not raise their hands and say, “come get me”- they need to be identified. Likewise, victims will not report sex abuse because of shame-blame behavior. By the time they are deep in prostitution, they no longer want to be rescued. They are then heavily vested in the hands of their pimps where they feel there is no way out.
Singleton states that: “Pimping is not all about sex. It is about mind control, a strategy for manipulation. The church needs to explore the intrinsic value of fatherhood in preventing Human Trafficking. They must be the dads before the pimp becomes their daddy.”
In California, Singleton realized that gangs are recruiting girls in schools, and 60 percent are recruited by another girl. They enrolled in schools for the purpose of recruiting other kids.
Jan DeSpain, Formation Director of the Secular Order of Franciscans for Southern California, assists Singleton in her training and speaking engagements in schools and churches.
“We do this to cultivate the spirit of peace, fidelity and respect for human life, as a sign already renewed in Christ,” said DeSpain.
DeSpain stated that she knows the brutal lives these kids live through, and she will do whatever to help. She wants the kids to understand their value and importance. “They need somebody to believe in them,” said DeSpain. “But I don’t help to gain attention; it is our response to the call of Franciscans.”
Opal believes that human trafficking is given to us by God to put salvation and grace back to the family and in the church.
“If the church will not do this, I honestly believe that no one else can,” ends Singleton.
© 2014 Joe Quintana