Rescue Upstream Battles Against Human Trafficking


Rescue UpstreamHuman trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation is an illegal, underground business that’s become a global problem difficult to extrapolate a solution. Or is there?

How do you combat sexual exploitation in all its forms, especially prostitution and trafficking of women and children, in particular girls, when many victims don’t come forward for fear of retribution? How do you fight against this evil when the definition of “trafficking” has been muddied, even made controversial amongst governments, and the international research done on various cases cannot be distinguished between illegal migration and people smuggling and trafficking a person against her will?

Left to mankind, as much as we feel equipped to study, combat, or prevent human trafficking from happening, all we have is organizations compelled to lend a helping hand. And as compassionate as it may be, and as many good people with big hearts are making significant efforts to combat trafficking, the evil continues. So, what are we to do?

The numbers grow daily. Every second of the day there is a new cover story of a sex trafficking victim added to the list. Some were rescued and restored. Others less fortunate became a lifeless tale or a number without a face.

The statistics don’t lie — even though the reports vary from one organization to another. In 2001, the FBI estimated 700,000 women and children were trafficked worldwide, UNICEF estimated 1.75 million, and the International Organization on Migration (IOM) merely 400,000. In 2001, the UN drastically changed its own estimate of trafficked people in 2000—from 4,000,000 to 1,000,000. The most cited statistics on trafficking come from the U.S. State Department’s annual reports on trafficking in persons. According to the 2005 report, 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, with 14,500 to 17,500 trafficked into the U.S.

The reports and fact sheets are alarming, but the good news is there are ways to join the fight against modern-day slavery. Together, we can be a voice. And it starts with prayer.


Rescue Upstream

On September 11, from 6pm to 8pm, Rescue Upstream, a South Florida based non-profit organization, whose goal is to “eradicate human trafficking and the root causes that fuel this awful injustice,” is partnering with Journey Church East in Boynton Beach, for an evening of interactive prayer and worship “to see those whose dignity are violated by others set free and restored.”

Rescue Upstream’s mission is contagious. And it will certainly motivate those who attend the prayer and worship night to get involved in the fight against human trafficking by raising their prayers to the Lord’s throne, and by simply becoming educated and donating time and money to the fight.

“We are ordinary people, but we can make an extraordinary difference in the lives of those suffering,” says Char Talmadge, associate director of Rescue Upstream. “Rescue Upstream isn’t just a club or a gathering or a plan on paper,” she says. “We are a movement of people ready to put our hands and feet to action in order to end human trafficking.”


Hope House

Even in a smaller scale, as in serving our local communities, Rescue Upstream can’t do this job alone. They partner with different organizations, not only to help abolish human trafficking, but also to stop child abuse and help restore the lives of the victims. One of those organizations is Hope House, a ministry of Hope for Freedom, which is an anti-human trafficking initiative of Christ Fellowship Church in Palm Beach County whose focus is on caring for young women coming out of sex trafficking. The girls in Hope House are between the ages of 12 and 17, and they are currently raising funds to create awareness in the local communities.


You can help

As Rescue Upstream’s website cites, “You don’t need to change your life, quit your job or become an activist. You can make a difference right where you’re at, in your own sphere of influence.” And it starts with prayer—bringing to light the root of the problem.

“Human trafficking at its core is an evil issue; it’s a moral issue; it’s a spiritual issue,” says Talmadge. “God says in His Word: ‘The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but the Lord.’”

This immorality comes from the human heart; therefore, human trafficking is a heart condition. “Our only remedy for a sinful heart is Jesus Christ,” says Talmadge. “All of these people are victims, even the traffickers, who are the evildoers. Of course, they need to be made accountable for their crimes, but I don’t believe they woke up one day and said, ‘Gee, I want to be a human trafficker when I grow up.’ They are just as waived by their sins as the victims are. They are lost too, and Jesus came to save the lost.”

The battle against human trafficking cannot be fought by one person, but requires all of us to come together as one and stand for justice. One voice. One loud cry to the Lord’s throne to bring healing and power to His people.

For more information about Rescue Upstream and their September 11th prayer and worship event at Journey Church East, please contact [email protected].


Maritza Cosano is a freelance writer/editor, writing teacher and author of young adult books. She offers editorial and publishing services for writers and can be reached at [email protected].

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