Exodus Cry Reaches Victims of Human Trafficking During the World Cup
by Blaire Pilkington
On June 12, 2014, the World Cup began in Brazil. As soccer teams from all over the world are gathering to play in this prestigious event, teams of abolitionists from Exodus Cry’s Liberdade initiative are uniting in the tournament’s host cities. Liberdade, the Portuguese word for freedom, is a movement created to bring freedom to women and children trafficked in Brazil. Through this initiative, our goal is to serve as Jesus’s hands and feet by reaching out to victims in the country’s notorious red-light districts and praying for an end to sexual exploitation.
Years of poverty and inequality have provided the conditions for sex trafficking to flourish in Brazil. Statistics estimate that 250,000 to 400,000 children are sexually exploited within Brazil’s borders each year. Girls, often younger than 13, are sold to men for as little as 10 reis each ($4.50 USD). Increased demands for sex by workers at World Cup construction sites and a surge in tourism have added strength to an already powerful tsunami of exploitation. In a nation that supports a flourishing commercial sex industry and lacks anti-trafficking laws, it is imperative that we join together in prayer and action against this injustice.
Since 2012, our team has traveled to Brazil to launch Liberdade. The initiative focuses on prayer, outreach, and the training of Brazilian abolitionists. During our travels to each of the twelve cities slated to host the World Cup, we raised awareness through screenings of Nefarious: Merchant of Souls, a documentary that exposes the disturbing realities of modern-day sex slavery. We also sought legislative reform through meetings with key officials and forged powerful connections with passionate individuals who are committed to serving the oppressed, not only during the 32 days of the games, but as part of a permanent network. While the World Cup has been a focal point for Liberdade, the groundwork has been established for long-term service to victims of oppression as well as comprehensive reform in Brazil.
But it was our time spent with precious women and children living in crowded brothels or on the streets that punctuated the critical need. With limited opportunities and a prominent cultural acceptance of sexual exploitation in Brazil, girls like Amanda* believe that prostitution is the only way to survive. Night after night in a cramped cubicle, Amanda is visited by countless men. This endless cycle of exploitation has chipped away at her dignity. As we shared with her the truth about her value as God’s child, we could tell that this was a revelation she had never heard before.
Tragically, Amanda is just one of many young women and children we met with a similar history. Often, these young people are orphaned or have no support from family members.
Stories like Amanda’s confirm the urgency for Liberdade. Without intervention and restoration, the victims’ chances for a future outside of the sex industry are nonexistent. As the World Cup descends on the nation this summer, Exodus Cry is partnering with Brazilians to pray and fight for the lives of exploited women and children. Through twelve houses of prayer and strategic outreach, our goal is to reach 1,000 women and girls and offer them avenues of escape and refuge through local safe homes and church communities.
Exodus Cry, based in Grandview, MO, is built on a foundation of prayer and is committed to abolishing sex slavery through Christ-centered prevention, intervention, and holistic restoration of trafficking victims. We invite your support of Liberdade through the following methods:
Awareness – Learn more about the trafficking situation in Brazil through our Field Guide. Share this information with your friends. Consider hosting a screening of Nefarious: Merchant of Souls to raise awareness about sex trafficking in the United States and around the world.
Join Us in Prayer – Our Liberdade Prayer Guide invites you to join with thousands of abolitionists by praying about a designated issue on each of the 31 days of the World Cup.
Give – Your donation will support Exodus Cry’s efforts to bring freedom to the women and children trafficked in Brazil and around the world.
Stand with us as we shine His light of hope into the darkness.
*Name has been changed to protect privacy.
U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009. http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Brazil-2.htm.
 Fabiano Barretto, “Brazils Sex Tourism Boom,” Global Garbage, 30 July 2010, http://www.globalgarbage.org/turmapontocom/2011/01/06/brazils-sex-tourism-boom/