Waging War on Human Trafficking by Planting Churches Dai Hankey By Dai Hankey October 18, 2016
Acts 29 A diverse, global family of church-planting churches


We have often said in Acts 29 that if we want to dig a well in Africa, or look after poverty-stricken children in Brazil, then we should plant a church. The same logic motivated us in August of this year as our family left the church we had planted and a community we loved in the valleys of South Wales to move back to the capital city, Cardiff. We moved here to plant a new church in a challenging area of the inner city with the vision of reaching out to the broken with the good news of Jesus Christ. There are many issues that this community is contending with, including drugs, crime and poverty. Prostitution is also a huge issue here which, alongside a huge influx of refugees and asylum seekers, makes it fertile ground for one of the greatest evils of our time – human trafficking.

We wanted to combat human-trafficking. So we are planting a church.

We wanted to combat human-trafficking. So we are planting a church.

Human trafficking – the exploitation and trade of men, women and children – is the fastest growing global criminal industry in the world today and it is estimated that there are currently as many as 45 million modern day slaves, including here in Wales. This vile injustice has many faces, including: forced labour, criminal exploitation, sex trafficking, domestic servitude, child trafficking and organ harvesting. Human traffickers prey on the weak, the voiceless and the vulnerable and they use all manner of threats and manipulation to enslave their victims.

As my wife and I were seeking God for the most effective ways to impact the inner city with the gospel, we found our hearts increasingly burdened for those caught up, or in danger of getting caught up, in trafficking and sexual exploitation. This led to the birth of Red Community – a distinctively Christian response to trafficking and slavery that is grounded in prayer and seeks to both raise awareness and offer support to survivors of human trafficking here in Wales.

Since stepping into the fight against human trafficking the thing that has most encouraged my heart is discovering that all across the world it is the church that is leading the charge. And well we should be! After all – we share the same story! Were we not slaves to sin? Were we not crushed beneath the weight of shame? Were we not in the grip of the evil one, unable to escape his clutches? Did we not need a Saviour to invade our darkness, break our chains, deliver, cleanse and heal us? A Redeemer to pay the highest price imaginable to buy us back and make us his own? Paul’s beautiful grace notes surely strike a chord with every liberated child of God:

“So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:7)

Furthermore, it’s not just our story, it’s also our mission. Are we not called to a fast that includes loosing the bonds of wickedness, undoing the straps of the yoke and letting the oppressed go free? (Isaiah 58:6). And do we not follow a Messiah who came to proclaim good news to the poor and liberty to the captives? (Luke 4:18-19) So surely it is entirely appropriate that the people of God are taking their place in the frontline of this battle!

As the church shines the darkness is driven back. It has no choice!

Human trafficking is an industry of Satan that flourishes in darkness and shadow. What is needed is light and lots of it! And the church is that light! We are the light of the world. An illuminating city set on a hill. The people of God redeemed to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness and into his marvellous, glorious, liberating light. As the saints of God confront injustice the Father of Lights is pleased to act (James 1:17). As the church shines the darkness is driven back. It has no choice! And as we humbly seek to do justice and love mercy, divine light will rise like the dawn.

So may our churches shine like never before.

And may more and more and more churches be planted where darkness is deep and unopposed, because when churches are planted light spreads and dread scatters. May we see churches planted with:

May churches be planted where darkness is deep and unopposed so that light spreads and dread scatters.

  • Open eyes – seeing both the victims of exploitation and the perpetrators of injustice through the lens of the gospel. All need salvation!
  • Open hearts – seeking to love and embrace the broken with infinite patience as God works to redeem their brokenness
  • Open Bibles – obedient to preach gospel truth in love that confronts, heals cleanses, restores and gives true hope to the truly hopeless.
  • Open mouths – willing to speak out against injustice in all its forms and raise awareness about evils such as human trafficking.
  • Open wallets – committed to investing in ministries and planting churches (locally and globally) that are all about proclaiming the gospel, making disciples and impacting communities for Christ.

Our prayer as we set about this new inner-city church plant is that Jesus would build a gloriously, beautifully diverse family of grace where the wrecked and wretched, the abused and the formerly abusive, repentant and transformed, the deprived and depraved, the enraged and enslaved gather together at the feet of our Lord and Liberator – King Jesus. Would you join us in that prayer?

Dai Hankey Dai Hankey

If you’d like to know more about our new church planting adventure or the work of Red Community, you can find me on Twitter: @daihankey or email me: daihankey@gmail.com.

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