Saturday morning was a beautiful day — Not only was the weather perfect, but we launched this year’s initiatives for Plymouth’s Anti-Trafficking Ministry. We’ll be partnering with three well-know organizations: ECPAT (End Child Prostitution and Trafficking), who we already have a relationship with through Christian Help and the Underground Thrift. Sanctuary For Families, leaders in the field for over 20 years, working with domestic violence and trafficking victims right here in New York City. Restore, a smaller, new agency that gives counseling services and runs a safe house for trafficking victims, again right here in New York.
Monday morning I found in my in-box an email from Dorchen Leidholdt, a lawyer who is the director of the Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services for Sanctuary for Families. Dorchen has literally written the book that judges read to learn more about trafficking, and how to treat its victims when they enter our legal system.
“It was so great to meet with you, your fellow congregants, and the other anti-trafficking activists in that extraordinarily inspiring space. We need to be as bold, strategic, and effective as Henry Ward Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe in order to abolish contemporary forms of slavery. I’m so excited to think about how we can leverage their legacy in the service of 21st Century victims and survivors.”
That hits the sweet spot. It took me a year to find the right partners for Plymouth as we begin this new work. ECPAT, Sanctuary For Families and Restore are a great fit for us, as we will work hands-on in our own city to help those who have been so grievously hurt.
There’s a phrase that sticks in my head from a Sunday School song that we sang when I was a kid: “Whatsoever you do, to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” This morning I may search for the gender-neutral translation of that bible passage, but I think you get the idea: when we work with our hands to reach out to women and children so badly treated by our own neighbors, in our own community we reach out and touch the divine.