LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- It is an issue affecting all kinds of people across Kentucky, maybe even someone you know. So far this year there have been 33 human trafficking cases reported in the state, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
This week, a young minister is traveling around the Bluegrass, trying to put a stop to that.
Raleigh Sadler says human trafficking can affect anyone, even the person sitting next to you in a pew on Sunday. That is what he knows so he says that is where he started, using love as a way to combat human trafficking.
He is the founder of Let My People Go, a non-profit that seeks to fight human trafficking by empowering churches to love the people vulnerable to seeking love in bad places. He found his passion as a college pastor. He says he remembers being struck to the heart when hearing about trafficking at a conference.
“I need to do something, but I’m thinking I wear cardigans. I’m not going to kick down the door of a brothel,” Sadler said.
He turned instead to pastoral ministry. He says he sold everything he owned and moved to New York, only to realize churches were not doing as well as they could to work against trafficking.
“There are many who go into churches who are vulnerable who have been, or could be, exploited who we don’t notice,” Sadler said.
Noticing those people is what Sadler is training a network of churches to do. Now, he is trying to extend that network to Kentucky. Members of the state’s baptist convention of 2,400 churches say it aligns well with work they are already doing.
“It’s a New York City problem, but it is also a Lexington, Kentucky problem. It’s a Louisville problem. It’s a small town problem in Kentucky,” Paul chitwood, Executive Director and Treasurer of the Kentucky Baptist Convention said.
“The vulnerable are all around us and part of the job as a pastor is to raise awareness of the vulnerable,” Nick Sandefur, the Senior Pastor at Porter Memorial Baptist Church said.
“Everyone has a responsibility to fight human trafficking whether you’re in law enforcement or a church pew. You need to love the person in front of you because that’s the only way we’ll put a dent in human trafficking,” Saddler said.