Lighthouse for Life exists to educate our community and empower survivors as we FIGHT to eradicate human trafficking in the Midlands of South Carolina.
Human trafficking is defined as “the use of force, fraud, or coercion to gain some form of labor or commercial sex act.” Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide – including in the United States, even right here in our back yard of the sweet, southern, neighborhood friendly Midlands of South Carolina.
Trafficking can happen in any community with victims of any age, race, gender, nationality, or socioeconomic class. Traffickers prey on the vulnerabilities of their victims and know exactly how to attract their desired target. People are dehumanized and reduced to mere “products” to fulfill the high demand coming from purchasers. The rampant use of internet pornography has served to fuel the fire of this demand, pushing users to always want more. At some point, the screen will not satisfy their desires any longer.
Yet, in this insidious darkness, survivors are finding hope in the Midlands and are afforded the opportunity for support in coming out of “the life.” Our organization is both survivor and trauma-informed. This means our approach is focused on how we can best meet the needs of our survivors as indicated by them, while considering the pervasive nature of the trauma they have experienced. Even helpful services can inadvertently re-traumatize if this perspective is not kept in view. Whether the need is housing, clothing, food, transportation, counseling, legal services, employment, or even tattoo removal, our goal is always to support our survivors through their healing journey at their own pace.
For the duration of their time being trafficked, survivors have been stripped of their own choices, so part of empowering them is helping them to regain the ability to choose and make decisions for their own lives. While in-kind donations are always welcome, monetary gifts help to provide what we need to come alongside our survivors as they embark on this long and difficult journey. From clothing to bedding to toiletry items to food, being able to choose these items for themselves is critical for survivors. It’s an essential step in the recovery process as they rediscover who they are.
While much of our ministry is focused directly on the support of survivors, we also have a place of influence in our community as we seek to educate those around us about the realities of trafficking, how to recognize the signs, and how to effectively help. We train medical professionals, law enforcement, church members, community members… anyone who will invite us in. If you are interested in having someone from Lighthouse for Life come speak to a group you are a part of, please contact us at email@example.com.
We believe everyone can and should play a part in helping to eradicate human trafficking. We all have spheres of influence, we all have vulnerabilities that can be addressed, and we all have a voice that can be heard to represent those who have been silenced. Will you join us in the fight?
LINZY LAIRD is the Public Relations Director at Lighthouse for Life. She has served in the faith-based nonprofit world for the last 12 years in both pro-life and anti-human trafficking ministries. She is a native of the Midlands of South Carolina and an active member at Three Rivers Baptist Church. Linzy enjoys teaching women how to study the Bible and discipling the younger generation.