Minister recruiting Bluegrass churches to use love in fighting trafficking

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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.

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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.

 

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Veronica Jean Seltzer joins ABC 36 as Anchor/Reporter. On most weekdays, you will see her reporting the news. VJ hails from a small horse farm outside New York City and most recently comes from South Bend, Indiana where she reported for the CBS and Fox affiliates. VJ holds a Master of Science in Journalism degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Tufts University. Her passion for journalism runs deep. It began as she studied graffiti as an ancient form of communication in Athens, Greece. While a student journalist in Morocco, she learned her most important journalistic lesson: good stories are about people. VJ loves life in and around Lexington. She feels most at home among horses and a diverse community of fascinating people. She enjoys reporting during the week and on the weekend she strives to bring her neighbors the news that matters most to them. VJ enjoys going to neighborhood events, exploring, horseback riding, skiing, sailing, and good movies. Look for her out and about in the community! VJ invites you to reach out to her with story ideas or just to say hello! Find her on Facebook at Veronica Jean Seltzer ABC 36, tweet her @VJS_ABC36, or email her at VSeltzer@wtvq.com. She looks forward to hearing from you!