Monday, December 3, 2012

Simpsonville missionaries target human trafficking

The stories the Simpsonville missionaries tell about their work in Nicaragua are horrifying.
Jeremy Havlin said he once saw a boy about 10 years old chained inside his home with a collar around his neck. Girls as young as 7 are forced into prostitution, he said. A boy was sold to his uncle, who abused him sexually and turned him into the family slave, Havlin said.
“It’s almost like a Cinderella story without the happy ending,” he said.
Havlin is the director of One by One, a mission organized under Discover Church in Simpsonville that reaches out to Nicaraguan children who suffer abuse, child labor, prostitution and life without hope.
The missionaries work in one of the Western Hemisphere’s most impoverished countries, a place they said is rife with child neglect and human trafficking. They have begun a push for what they said they need most — money, missionaries and interns.
For Brie LeBret, it is key to persuade churches and businesses to send teams to Nicaragua to see the conditions for themselves.
“Once you get connected with it, you can’t come home and not want to do something to help,” said LeBret, who is the director of program promotions.
Origins in downtown Greenville sent four members, who painted with former prostitutes and children for a week in September — a fitting mission for a church focused on the arts, said pastor J.D. Mangrum.
The artwork was later sold at a Greenville coffee shop auction, raising about $3,000 for One by One, he said.
“This was a neat chance for our people to go down and align what they’re passionate about with a good cause for justice,” Mangrum said.


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