Redeemed Ministries is one of the few organizations in the nation that operates a safe house dedicated exclusively towards the rehabilitation of adult domestic victims of human trafficking. Redeemed owns and operates a 4-bed safe house in the central Texas area, where they have ministered to women who have been rescued from their traffickers. The house is not only a safe space for the women to reside but is also a place of healing and hope for the journey ahead of them. They have designed a one-year program to provide holistic healing addressing spiritual, physical, emotional and relational needs. They strive to have a family environment that provides safety and love for the women as they are healing. The women, who they refer to as “sparrows,” are provided with counseling, equine therapy, expressive art, Bible studies, recovery groups, life skills and self-sufficiency training. They strive to help point the women to true and full healing through Christ by teaching as he taught, through examples and love. After the year-long program is complete, the sparrow officially graduates and transitions into independent or semi-independent living.
We asked Redeemed Ministries regarding their actions to fight human-trafficking. Lauri Nevius, the Director of Operations of their Houston chapter answered us in a short Q&A below.
Q: Redeemed Ministries now have operations in 4 cities (Houston, Dallas, Austin, and Chicago). What sparked the birth of the organization?
A: We started reaching out to women in the commercial sex industry. Through our outreach efforts we realized that these women were being trafficked. One thing lead to another and with each step we've realized that we needed to help women if and when they were ready to exit the commercial sex industry. In 2010, we opened our first safe home. Since then we've learned so much about the trauma these women experience and the best practices for providing healing for them. In 2014, we moved our safe house operations to the country. We are already expecting God to grow this part of our ministry and provide healing to more women.
Q: In what way does Redeemed Ministries fight human trafficking in Houston? Does it look the same in the other cities as well or do you play several roles?
Our Houston and Austin teams are preparing to open 30-day shelter and assessment centers that will enable us to accept women straight from the street or jail, allowing them time to think clearly and make rational choices for their lives. We will be able to better identify those who need to be housed in our safe house and will be able to prepare them for our safe house or another program that will benefit their specific needs. We will be able to connect women with different organizations throughout the city specifically equipped to assist with identified needs, and we will provide specialized care for women seeking refuge from their traffickers.This will help the victims of trafficking currently being exploited.
Q: In having the experience and years behind you, what would you say is the toughest challenge in combating human trafficking?
A: The good news is that over the years we've watched God do some amazing things. We've seen awareness regarding sex trafficking increase in our community and we've been able to assist in changing laws (local, state and national). The toughest challenge is and will continue to be that broken men buy trafficked women for their pleasure.
Q: What is a favorite story or a victory you were able to see achieved in the life of Redeemed Ministries?
Q: How can the every day person join you in fighting human trafficking? What advice would you give for someone who wanted to really make a difference?