Illuminate the Darkness
Mar 1, 2020 | by Nancy Newbrough
It is hard to believe ten years have passed since I started the journey of reaching out to women who have been victimized by human traffickers. Both a serious crime and basic human rights violation, human trafficking is characterized by the use of force, coercion or fraud to trap a person into slave labor or sexual exploitation. Those women, children and men who are the most vulnerable have little-to-no strong family relationships or social safety networks. Houston is among the top cities in our nation notorious for this ever-growing evil!
A decade ago I joined a group of Christian women whose mission is to show the love of Christ to these victims. My first exposure was to women working in brothels (places to engage in sexual activity with a prostitute). We continue to visit these brothels on a monthly basis. Over the years I have noted a considerable change in the ethnicity of women working in these establishments. In the beginning it was a mixture of Thai and American. We no longer see American women in the brothels; the majority now are Chinese with some Thai and Vietnamese.
Our goal when visiting these women is to show them that they are loved and have not been forgotten. We take them a small gift and leave a card explaining that there is a God who loves them and has so much more for them. Whenever possible, we ask for permission to pray with them. The most requested prayer is for safety. Recently, a precious lady wept while we held her hands and lifted her before the Lord. She told us of her loneliness and her thankfulness for our visit.
Our latest focus has been on females working the streets. Younger women in their 20’s are usually on the streets during the day. But it is my understanding that many even younger girls are out late at night, presenting a security concern for our volunteers. But God is at work! We have just recently connected with an organization that is willing to provide late night security so we can start seeing these, too. The most amazing thing we have heard from these “street ladies” is that they enjoy seeing us because we are not there judging them -- we are just loving them!
While not intending to be doing outreach in strip clubs, we recently went inside what appeared to be a bar in the area -- only to find out that it is also a strip club. The women who work there have welcomed us. Our goal currently is to organize a Bible study with them! We are trying to figure out how to make this work for all involved.
A church in the area where our outreach is concentrated has contacted us about conducting a night of community prayer. These trafficked women would be invited – but also the young men in the area as well as local businesses. A young man concerned for these victims has been in contact with our group about building a community around these women. What that would look like we are waiting for God to reveal as we meet and pray about it!
A few of the ladies we have ministered to have left the area, but remained in contact with us. Realizing the deception in their lives, they are some of the few who have the freedom to move on. But due to the language barrier and lack of local resources, those who have escaped are limited. We believe that will change now because of our new connections in their community.
God has been teaching us about being obedient to this call He has placed on our lives! Every meeting of our group, every outreach we undertake and every time we go out to minister is bathed in prayer. With each small step of obedience, we see more and more doors of opportunity open up as we move forward. This has given us the confidence to start our own non-profit. To make this possible, a minor change in the name of our organization was necessary. Previously, we called our group Unveiling the Darkness. Our non-profit is now registered as Illuminate the Darkness. The final 501c paperwork should be completed in the next couple of weeks.
My heart grows more each and every day for the women (and men) who are affected by this lifestyle. I know without a doubt that this ministry will always be a part of me. How exciting to see what the future brings as we allow God to lead the way forward!
… He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives and release
from darkness for the prisoners…
(We are always looking for others to join us in this fight –
please contact me at )