Human trafficking devastates millions of lives each year. When I meet victims of trafficking and hear their stories, my heart breaks and I know that yours would break as well. It is such a tragedy, and we must do all we can to both help its victims and prevent it from happening in the first place.

The statistics are staggering. An estimated 40 million individuals are in modern slavery today; 71 percent of them women and girls. Assessing the full scope of human trafficking is difficult because cases often go undetected, and they include everything from sexual exploitation to forced labor. It is a $150 billion annual business.

The best way to address this great problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place. That’s why AMG’s child and youth development efforts are so needed and so effective. When you show the love of Jesus by sponsoring a young girl or boy, you not only provide for the physical needs of the child, such as food and clothing, you also make it possible for precious little ones to be educated and have the tools they need to earn a living. And indeed, based on the outcomes we observe, our child and youth development program is very successful in equipping children for a brighter future while protecting them from being trafficked.

But there are those times when it is necessary to intervene after someone has been exploited or trafficked. That’s why our coworkers in the Philippines, Pakistan, Spain and Greece come alongside victims of sexual abuse and trafficking and seek to restore them as image bearers of Christ.

First, they seek to rescue them from the situation they are presently in and place them in a safe environment where the love of Jesus can start to bring healing. Then they seek to teach them basic life skills, from properly interacting with other people to managing home finances to having the skills to secure a job and earn a living. They also focus on emotional and spiritual healing by teaching biblical truths and sharing the love of Christ.

The process takes a long time, from several months to even years. But in the end, it is amazing to see the difference it makes. And the most amazing result is when these individuals become committed followers of Christ and live their lives for His glory, despite the trauma they have experienced.

You and I can make a difference in the lives of those who have been victimized by human trafficking. Will you prayerfully invest in such a life and see it restored in Jesus’ name?

Tasos Ioannidis