Breaking down doors is only half the battle.
At AIM, part of our work is kicking down brothel doors to rescue children and arrest traffickers. But we also look at the heart. It’s easy and natural to be baffled by the issue of trafficking: how could someone traffic another human being? A child? A family member? But, when we saw young men and boys dealing drugs and falling into the business of exploitation because it seemed like the only way to earn money to eat, we realized the situation was more complicated than it seemed. These kids needed help and they needed to be lovingly transformed by Christ.
Svay Pak, Cambodia is the location of many AIM programs, including The Lord’s Gym. The gym serves as a haven that provides a space for men and boys in the community to train in martial arts while simultaneously being mentored and ministered to by Coach Bird. The love of Christ is evident in Coach by the way he loves these young men. He wants to see them succeed and believes that the culture surrounding exploitation and trafficking can change in his city and in his country. That is why he pours his energy and heart into all he does at The Lord’s Gym, watching out for the guys he trains because he knows their options are limited and the temptation for destruction is high.
Through Coach Bird and the training they receive, the young men are taught that a life of integrity and honor is possible and, for the first time, they start to think: “Maybe I can have a different future.” When Coach invites them to church or leads Bible studies, they come to know the true heart of God. By the transformative power of Jesus, they see that a life of trafficking and exploitation is not their only option.
One young man at the gym decided to follow Christ. He gave up a lucrative career in trafficking to become a construction worker. He started making a fraction of what he did before in order to live a life of integrity, honor, and respect. Others have gone on to become national champion fighters, modeling to a much larger audience what it means to be a real fighter: one who protects women and children rather than exploit them.
Putting an end to the evil of child sex trafficking means shutting down brothels and arresting traffickers. But it also takes a transformation of the heart by showing those who are on the path of destruction that they have the opportunity to live a life they can be proud of instead. By creating a common ground at The Lord’s Gym, Coach Bird is forming relationships that are changing the community!
WATCH MORE BELOW:
Deidre Pujols, and her husband Albert, are a powerhouse duo in the world of anti-trafficking and awareness. Founders of Strike Out Slavery, Deidre and Albert took the fight against trafficking to MLB in 2017 after learning that modern-day slavery is the fastest-growing criminal industry. Deidre has a passion for giving a voice to the voiceless and advocating for those in need.
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