The Table Podcast

The Fight Against Human Trafficking

In this cultural engagement chapel, Drs. Darrell L. Bock and Christina Crenshaw discuss human trafficking, focusing on Crenshaw’s anti-trafficking work. Note: This interview was recorded live before social distancing requirements began in March 2020.

Timecodes
00:20
Crenshaw's involvement in anti-trafficking work
04:43
Reality of human trafficking in the U.S.
08:51
How can individuals confront this issue?
13:50
How can churches be involved in this effort?
17:38
Victims of human trafficking
20:32
Is it realistic to expect it to end soon?
21:52
Differences between labor trafficking and slavery
24:49
Are instances of kidnapping prevalent?
27:09
What to do if you are suspicious of a business
28:37
Defining what trafficking is and is not
29:17
How to not be overwhelmed by this issue
31:00
How can a church get started in helping?
Transcript
Darrell Bock
Our guest today is Dr. Christina Crenshaw, Lecturer of English at Baylor University in Waco. So she drove up to do this today. But she also is a fellow at the Hendricks Center. She’s worked with us over the past couple of years, and we’re gonna … our topic today is going to be human trafficking.

Christina, first of all, thank you for being a part of this, and for coming here to share what your experience has been.

Christina Crenshaw
Yeah. Thank you for having me.
Darrell Bock
And then, my first question always is, is how did a nice person like you get into a gig like this? So …
Christina Crenshaw
You told me to expect that one.
Darrell Bock
Yeah. That’s right.
Christina Crenshaw
Well, okay, to take you back a little bit into the journey of how I got involved in doing anti-trafficking work, I was teaching as an assistant professor out at California Baptist University. My husband and I were living out there. He had just finished his MBA, I finished my PhD at Baylor, and we moved out there to do what we thought were our dream jobs. Was two years into the tenure track, and realized that I was expecting my second son within 21 months of the first one. So, two kinds under two, and there was not a maternity leave policy. So I think the school has since gotten one, but, spent a lot of time praying, just listening for discernment, and really felt that I was supposed to take a little bit of a break, give myself a maternity leave.
Darrell Bock
So you took a maternity leave.
Christina Crenshaw
So I took a year long maternity leave. But the Lord knows me, and He knew that I needed something to work on, something a little bit outside the home to really feel like I was flourishing in that season. And in that season, shortly after I’d had my second, the A21 Campaign, Christine Caine’s organization, contacted me. They had some relationship with my church back in Texas at the time. And they said, “We hear that you have a PhD in Education. We’re looking for someone to help write and implement our high school curriculum, ‘Bodies are not Commodities.’ Would you be interested?” And so they contracted me for a couple of months, and I would drive up to Orange County and work in their office one day a week, and take the rest of the work home.

And it’s one of those topics that once you know, you cannot un-know. The Lord ended up calling us back to Waco, back to Texas, and Baylor graciously made some space for that for me to teach. But this then became my research agenda. I can’t say this started off. My dissertation was actually on how does the Christian world view make us agents of change, specifically in the classroom. But I would say that this is one of the ways that you become an agent of change, is by seeing the world’s brokenness, seeing the depravity that exists around a topic like this, and saying, “Where can I be light in the darkness?” And so that, thus began my research agenda with this and my engagement.

Darrell Bock
Okay. Just to bring us right up to the current time, you’re going from here, where, to do what?
Christina Crenshaw
Yeah. So usually I leave at 4:30 out of Love Field to go to a conference in San Diego. It’s a national anti-trafficking conference where people come and present their research. People form Harvard Medical School, coming to talk about victims that they have seen, and screenings that they’re using, professors from other universities. I’m actually … I’ve presented before on this curriculum, the A21 curriculum. We did a very robust study with 200 local students in Waco, looking to see if there were any gains in the curriculum. Were we able to run an ANOVA, run a T Test and see pre and post were there gains? And this time I’m actually happy to present on our coalition. We have a really great coalition in Waco, Texas, and it takes a team of people. This is not something you can combat in a silo.

So looking at the different grants that we’ve received, we really do have one of the leading coalitions in the nation. We’ve gotten over $3,000,000 of grant money from the Department of Justice, and our Texas governor’s office, which is another conversation we’ve had, about what does that look like for the sacred, this anti-trafficking organization planted by a church, started by a church, to engage these secular, so to speak, public spheres of influence, and how do they play well in the sandbox? That’s been fascinating to see that happen.

Darrell Bock
Okay. So let’s take a dive into the topic. Now most people, when they hear human trafficking, they’re probably thinking, “Oh, yeah. That happens overseas. That’s in other places far away. That doesn’t happen so much here.” Simple question, true of false?
Christina Crenshaw
False. Human trafficking happens everywhere. And Texas is actually the second largest state for trafficking, California being first.
Darrell Bock
And it’s significant numbers, too, right?
Christina Crenshaw
Yes. So just, for a long time we didn’t know. This is one of those underground crimes where it is difficult to get actual reporting and data on this. Department of Homeland Security has good numbers. The Polaris Project, they have some pretty reliable data. But the University of Texas, just two years ago, did a pretty groundbreaking study, and they found that in Texas alone, there’s over 300,000 victims of trafficking. Most of that is labor, but even just within sex trafficking there’s 79,000 minors. And when people ask why Houston’s the number one traffic city in America, it’s because we have international airports, we’ve got freeways that run east coast/west coast. So because of … we’ve got ports are easy mobility that lends itself to … and the border. We share a boarder, so that lends itself to a heightened sense of trafficking.
Darrell Bock
So you referred in passing to labor trafficking. Talk about that a little bit. What is that? That’s a new category for me.
Christina Crenshaw
Well, trafficking is really one of the oldest crimes in history. I teach a class on this now at Baylor. This semester we have our first class on that. At first Baylor said, “Do you want to put it in an imaginative context, where we look at the historical sense of slavery up until now?” And I said, “No, I really just want to talk about contemporary issues.” But the truth is, it does have a very historical context, very historical roots, colonialism. It’s typical to talk about modern day without looking at retrospectively. But labor trafficking exists everywhere. We see it in massage parlors. We see it in nail salons. We see it, construction sites. It is harder to report, actually, than sex trafficking victims, because a lot of times, labor trafficking don’t identify. They don’t self identify.

Our detective in town … who we’ve spoken on many panels together. He’ll come to the class … will say, “When I’m doing triage, I’m always going to triage the 12 year old girl who is stuck in a motel over a 30 year old man at a job website. That’s just reality. But because of that reality, because they don’t self identify, and because … minors usually take precedence, it doesn’t get as reported as sex trafficking does. And it is harder to find and offer services to labor trafficking victims.

Darrell Bock
Okay. Now I’ll just point out, you see the number on the screen. If you have questions you want to type in to us, in about 15 minutes or so we’re gonna transition to those questions. So feel free to do that. And you can text in on the number that’s up on the screen.

So let’s talk about … we could go into more detail about how pervasive this is, but I think you’ve already suggested that it’s pretty pervasive. Let me ask two sets of questions, and you can take them in order. How has or is the church connected with helping in this area, and what kind of opportunities exist on the one hand? And then secondly, how can an average person on the street engage with this? Sometimes you hear advertising, that kind of thing, that says, “If you see anything strange, be willing to report it.” So, let me do in that order first. What is the, “If you see anything strange” all about?

Christina Crenshaw
If you see something say something. I don’t know if that is only relevant to human trafficking. I think I’ve seen that in other contexts, too. I’m gonna answer your question with story. And it’s really, it’s a hard story, but I think it really answers the question we’re talking about. We have a lot of vigilance on this issue within the United States. I’ve done a lot of international travel. I’ve done mission trips to Uganda and even just down to Mexico, to Greece, and to Tunisia. I’ve done lots of different trips overseas. And I don’t think I have seen this sense of justice. This is not necessarily a global shared sense of justice. We can talk all day about how that maybe comes out of our Judaeo/Christian values.

But when we were traveling two summers ago over to Greece, to work in Syrian refugee camps, and we were there with an organization out of our church called Unbound, to inform people about human traffickers, and to warn them about people coming from camp to camp to perhaps coerce of force them into this sort of trafficking. We were on our way back. We were leaving Thessaloniki, going to Greece, and then going to DFW. And my husband and I witnessed a girl in line at the airport that we were fairly certain was being trafficked. And I’m not an alarmist. I’m actually usually one to take more of a … I was just a little more hesitant, because of my training. And so I kept trying to rationalize, like “Surely not. Surely not.” But she’s 12 years old, scantily dressed, and she’s with a man who’s in his 40s, and he is inappropriately touching on her and kissing her in line.

And so everyone sees it but looks away. No one wants to address it. So I go up to the gate agent and I say, “Hey. Do you see what’s going on?” I think she was more perturbed and annoyed that I pointed it out. But she called security. And when security came, the girl ran through the airport. She took off running. And that’s when my husband and I noticed there was a spotter in line, and he went after her.

So the three of them go and talk to security. And whatever their story is, it checks out, because they let him go. But then they are on our plane, and we’re watching the whole time. And I am just grieved in my spirit, and I’m praying, “What do I do? What do I do?” And I think, “Okay. When she gets up to go to the rest room, I’m gonna go back there.” But he went back there, too. So then I think, “Okay. Well, when we land, I’m gonna do something.” And I tell the flight attendant and she goes and tells the pilot … she actually went into the cockpit. And they’re like, “We can’t do anything.” And we land. And I think, “Okay. Well, when she goes into the rest room …” But he stood in the doorway of the rest room.

And I remember watching her leave the airport and just go off into the abyss, and feeling so defeated by that. But that, I think, was really the catalyst moment when I said, “Okay. I’m gonna use what influence I have, my sphere of influence, to do what I can here. I can’t kick down every door and rescue every victim, labor or sex trafficking. But what I can do is raise awareness.” And so that was a very empowering place for me to say, “Okay. This may not be within my domain of control, but this is. I can talk about this with my students in my Baylor classes. I can go to conferences and present research. I can partner with the church that says, ‘We want to start a coalition on our city that looks like bringing light into dark places.’”

And so I think that, even just on the big macro level, but even on the small micro level, that there are places within our sphere of influence where you can lend your skill set, your vocation to doing this sort of work. And every sphere of influence really is needed when we’re talking about combating a crime this multifaceted.

Darrell Bock
So I’m assuming there is a way to report this in the States in terms of when, if you were in this situation, say, in an airport here locally, it would be a different situation. Is that fair?
Christina Crenshaw
Yeah. That is fair. 911 is always a gold standard. You could call 911 and they could connect you to the national trafficking hot line. I don’t have a national trafficking hot line number memorized, but there is one where you can report. And we have, our coalition has a Facebook page that’s really just meant for announcements, but we get reports all the time through there. And then we send them to the McClain County Sheriff’s office.

So I would say, if you see something and you’re suspicious, to report it. But I would also say that not everything you see … some of it is just abject poverty or drug abuse, and those are populations that are most vulnerable to trafficking. But I see all the time, in rougher parts of Waco, the places where we really go to minister, situations that are just heartbreaking. But it’s not necessarily trafficking. It could be a number of other things.

Darrell Bock
Okay. So let’s talk about churches and their involvement. And maybe the way into this is to say, you’ve mentioned the organization that you were originally connected with. What are ways in which churches can be involved in dealing with this area?
Christina Crenshaw
Well, I think that the public square recognizes that this issue is so big and so broad and so heinous that it is going to take everyone to really address it. And I don’t think it’s lip service when the Texas governor’s office says we need the churches. I think they recognize that this is a spiritual issue, that we, as the church, we have a network of people who can do prevention. They can do rehabilitation. And when we’re talking rehabilitation, it’s not just for victims. One of the things our coalition started was a rehabilitation program for the buyer and the seller, which is something we don’t talk as much about. It’s easy to have compassion and sympathy for the victim. But if we’re going to talk about being redemptive and restorative people, then that has to extend to everybody.

So we do a lot of pornography awareness trainings within our church. We do a lot of trainings about what it looks like to buy and to sell. And the Sheriff’s department comes in. We have former victims come in. So a lot of what the church can do is look for places where, where do I see brokenness, and where do I feel like I have living life inside of me, living water, that I can offer to this place? And it’s amazing how even the public square is receptive to that. Our Stop Demand school, that’s the rehabilitation program for buyers, is funded through the Texas governor’s office, and it is held by an organization called Jesus Said Love. I mean, only God could do something like that, right? So, I think that probably the Texas governor’s office wishes it was a different agency, but they recognize that the church raised their hand and said, “Well do this.”

Darrell Bock
Now they’re also, obviously, parachurch organizations and that kind of thing that work in this area. Can you talk a little bit about them?
Christina Crenshaw
Yeah. So technically our Unbound anti-trafficking organization in our town is a parachurch organization. It was started out of our church in town, but now has its own 501(c)(3). Jesus Said Love runs as its own parachurch organization. But then we have the Family Abuse Center. We’ve got National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. These are organizations that are not faith based in any way … also sitting at our coalition table.

As sticky and messy as it is to think about this, I remember having a coalition meeting, 100 community stakeholders, held at our church. The church is housing this city-wide meeting. And in the room, just a couple people away from each other, was the organization, Care Net, which is there to help pregnant women in crisis, and Planned Parenthood, in the same room. And I just thought, “This is such a really beautiful picture, what it looks like for community to come together, completely theologically, philosophically on different pages, but all here because we recognize that trafficking is stealing from the souls of our people and our children, and we’re not okay with that.”

So, this has been one of the most bipartisan efforts I’ve ever been a part of, in the sense of politics. But it’s also been one of the most unifying things I’ve ever been a part of, as far as we’re talking about church and state.

Darrell Bock
Now, let’s talk about the victims for a second. You’ve done a lot of talking about young girls, in particular. Is the young teenager the most vulnerable? Or does it span a larger age group, generally speaking?
Christina Crenshaw
Well, vulnerable is what traffickers look for. And so vulnerabilities can be socioeconomic status. They can be instability at home. Really, the more vulnerable, the kinds of kids who are already vulnerable to homelessness, to instability with food provision, those are the ones that are vulnerable to being trafficked. But even within that, there’s always … there are always outlier situations. We had a student who was in high school who was a cheerleader. A, B student. Her parents were going through a divorce. And she ended up meeting a guy who was 12 years older than her, and he ended up trafficking her out of Waco.

So that certainly does happen. But primarily speaking, it’s vulnerable populations.

12 is about the average age that kids are groomed by a trafficker. And typically traffickers are now reaching students, kids through social media, through different apps, through the phone, through Facebook. It used to be that … and this has, thankfully, been shut down … but there was a black market website, actually, that you could sell people on. It was just a year and a half ago that that was shut down, Batpage.com. But that was another place where people were going to look for people, sell people, perpetuate this. But traffickers have really just moved on to other platforms.

Most people who are trafficked have had some sort of trauma in their past, even if they’re trafficked as an adult. Very rarely do you see a situation where someone has fallen into being trafficked, particularly sex trafficking, labor as well, without trauma in their past. The statistics on how many have been sexually abused as kids are very high. And we’ve even heard stories of victims and survivors who will say, “This is what I knew of my childhood. Why would it be any different for my adulthood?” You see a lot of trauma bonding occurring with their trafficker. And so it makes it difficult for them to leave, because their needs are being met. So that, to say, it’s difficult to paint any one stereotype of who becomes trafficked. But I think the common thread they all share is the vulnerability. That they were vulnerable, and a trafficker preyed on that vulnerability.

Darrell Bock
Now how long have you actually been working with this?
Christina Crenshaw
Well, so my youngest is six, so I guess six years. It was right after he was born. So it’s been about six years.
Darrell Bock
Let me turn to some of the questions now.

This is a question, I guess, aimed at what someone might be called an idealist. It says, “Do you believe that the End It movement’s goal of seeing human trafficking end in our lifetime is realistic?”

Christina Crenshaw
That’s a tough one. No one wants to say no to that, right? I would say there … a friend of mine, Victor Boutros, who started the Human Trafficking Institute in D.C., a Baylor graduate, he and his partner, John Richmond, who is the Ambassador to Trump for anti-trafficking work, started this organization. And he says his goal is to decimate human trafficking, because deci, meaning the word ten, ten percent. So his goal is to eliminate global trafficking by ten percent. So that feels like a much more attainable, realistic goal.

I do think, for purposes of the Passion movement, which is what End It movement is coming out of, it really does rally students. My students aren’t quite as interested in the measurable outcomes as they are the movement. So I really am thankful for the movement behind anti-trafficking work. Can we obliterate it? We haven’t in all of human history. But I do think that we can make a difference. I agree we can decimate it. Yeah.

Darrell Bock
Is there a technical difference between labor trafficking and slavery?
Christina Crenshaw
Well, we call human trafficking modern day slavery. So I would say in those semantic senses, probably not. Trafficking itself, there has to be an element of force or coercion or fraud. Those are the three definitions, and that somebody has been exploited for profit. So Texas, for example, has very clear definitions on the difference between illegal immigration and trafficking. The areas are very gray. Oftentimes somebody comes willingly, and then they are forced or tricked or … and become trafficked. That happens often. But for purposes of definition, someone who voluntarily comes, vs. somebody who was dragged, it has a difference in what we would consider trafficking.
Darrell Bock
So, I take it that the difference is that in some cases the offer is an offer of money, theoretically for services rendered, and then the services change, if I can say it that way.
Christina Crenshaw
Right. And that often happens. They’ll pay a coyote to come across. That coyote ends up becoming their trafficker or sells them to a trafficker. Trafficker withholds their papers, and then forces them to work back for a wage, a bonded debt, and they aren’t able to ever really climb out of that bonded debt. We had a case just last summer in Waco. It was, the restaurant was called The Vegas Buffet. And it always looked suspect. But people would go there, eat there. And our Sheriff’s department did an undercover operation sting where they went in several times, looking for certain things. And it turned out that the people who were employed there were victims of labor trafficking. They had had their passports confiscated. They slept on mattresses in the back, and worked 12 hour shifts for six days a week. And so that was a clear example of labor trafficking. That is not what they thought they had signed up for.

And then often with an illicit massage parlor, we’ll see that, too. Labor trafficking forced to work, but then also this concentric overlap with sex trafficking. So, yeah.

Darrell Bock
In telling that story you talked about a coyote, so I’m saying some of the instance involve the way in which immigration is handled and takes place, and the vulnerability of a person coming into a new culture with no resources, et cetera, and they’re just looking to be able to survive.
Christina Crenshaw
Right. And then they don’t always know where to go for help. Yeah. So it is true that some people come under what they assume are authentic circumstances, and then end up being tricked and trafficked and trapped. So that certainly does happen, as well, particularly with labor trafficking.
Darrell Bock
It says, “Are the instances of kidnapping or women being followed in public as prevalent as social media makes those seem? If so, what are the best ways to be on guard?”
Christina Crenshaw
So, I have heard our Sheriff’s department answer this. Joe Scaramucci is our human trafficking detective. And he would say that no, it’s not nearly as prevalent as social media makes it out to be. It’s not that kids are not kidnapped. I grew up in the 1980s and 90s, stranger to danger, assumed everybody was out to kidnap me. It never happened. But I was thankful that there was this vigilance, and making sure that I stayed at home and my parents, and knew where to go for help, that sort of thing, because it does happen. But that’s not the primary way that people are trafficked. Typically, these are kids who are runaway. One in five kids who are in he CPS system will be approached by a trafficker, and then often trafficked. And that, actually is a statistic that makes me really sad, because those are kids that we even have tabs on in our system, in our CPS system. But because they’ve fallen through the cracks they, again, have these vulnerabilities, and nobody is really meeting that need.

That is what traffickers are looking for. And they end up befriending them. We call it grooming. They become friends with them. Kids become dependent on them. We even have this term that we use within our circle of conversation with this, but they call it “survival sex,” where a minor will actually choose to sell herself. But then, of course, she’s under 18. It wasn’t a choice. We still deem it trafficking. But it’s this exchange for getting their needs met, whether that’s Maslow’s hierarchy of emotional needs, or we’re talking actual food, shelter kind of needs. So it’s a very convoluted, complicated situation. But rarely is someone just kidnapped. It really is more they befriended them, and then ended up exploiting them.

Darrell Bock
So sometimes, at the front end, it can look like there’s consent, when in fact there isn’t consent.
Christina Crenshaw
Right. And just to be clear, if they’re under 18, it doesn’t matter.
Darrell Bock
It doesn’t matter. Yeah.
Christina Crenshaw
Right. By terms of legal definition, it does not matter.
Darrell Bock
Here’s an interesting question. “Is it appropriate or helpful to ask a nail technician or massage tech, et cetera, if they’re working there on their own free will? And if the answer is no, then what? What would be the next steps?”
Christina Crenshaw
That is a hard one. Hats off to this person for being brave enough to ask that person. I think you border on you don’t want to be offensive, if they are there and they’re not under some sort of suspicious auspice or guise, they’re there by their own volition. But I would say in that sense, I would probably call the Sheriff’s office, or I would maybe call a hotline. And just if you see suspicious behavior, that’s what I would say needs to be … The correlation. If you see suspicious behavior, erratic behavior. One of the things that tipped off our Sheriff’s department was that somebody had gone to this Vegas Buffet, was looking for the rest room, went through the wrong door, and then saw a mattress in the back. That’s not normal, to have a mattress at a restaurant. Called the Sheriff’s department. Then they did an investigation. It takes months to build a case, I’ve learned. Lots of surveillance, lots of going in, interviews, that sort of thing, to actually build a case when you’re doing a sting operation.

So if you’re suspicious and you see something, again, maybe call somebody and say something. But I wouldn’t necessarily assume that everybody working in a nail salon is not there by choice.

Darrell Bock
We probably should have done this at the beginning. “Please define what trafficking is and is not.”
Christina Crenshaw
Okay. So we talked a little bit about that with illegal immigration. But really, it’s anybody who is exploited for profit. So when we’re talking about labor trafficking, we’re talking about the exploitation of people through their labor, when we’re talking about bonded debt, when we’re talking about sex trafficking, so anybody who is exploited in a forced situation and is … and they’re body has been commodified, and they are no now being sold for profit.
Darrell Bock
How do you not get overwhelmed by the vastness of this issue?
Christina Crenshaw
I get asked that a lot. And here’s what I think it is. I’ve done a lot of reflection over the years when I get asked that. I focus mostly on the preventative side, prevention education, teaching high school students, teaching Baylor students. It feels actually more empowering than defeating or fatalistic. I will say that I do have to take breaks. I get articles sent to me all the time, as you can probably imagine, friends and colleagues. I read one at the beginning of the year, Washington Post, about how the FBI is asking every entity with which it works for help. They are so overwhelmed with the amount of images online that they can’t even keep up. So they’re having to enlist other tech agencies for help. And so I think that that, it does get disheartening. But I pause and I come back to this place where I say, “This is redemptive and restorative work.” And it’s a place where you can see clear brokenness, and a clear opportunity for restoration. And so what I see, not always in the micro day to day, but when I step back and I look at the macro landscape, I can see the gospel at work in this. And so that gives me hope.

I think if I wasn’t seeing that redemptive process, and I couldn’t see the stories of victims who have become survivors, I don’t know if I could continue. But when you see the gospel in the work you’re doing, in the larger narrative, it really gives you the wind you need to keep moving.

Darrell Bock
Okay. Now this may seem like a strange question, but I’ll take a shot at it anyway, and that is, “Let’s assume I’m in a church and the church doesn’t know anything, hasn’t done anything, et cetera. So how do you get started, or what advice would you give to create a space so that the church could walk into this kind of an area?”
Christina Crenshaw
Well I would say, first, don’t feel like you need to reinvent the wheel. There’s a lot of great organizations out there. I imagine even locally you could find some. Unbound, that I work with in Waco, has global offices. They have some domestic offices, too. The A-21 Campaign. Traffic 911 is located here in the Dallas area. So I think reaching out to somebody you feel is like minded enough that you would trust to bring them into your church, and ask them to speak on it. They’ll do fund raiser drives. We have a big one coming up in March where Chick-fil-A has partnered with the organization, and we do a fun run. Kids get involved. They do a nugget run. [Laughter] I know, it’s cute. So, I’m giving my students extra credit for volunteering, that sort of thing.

So I think that once you find an organization you trust to bring into your church sphere, that there’s gonna be natural ways to partner. Again, fund raisers, raising awareness. If you have a gift of teaching and education, they need trainers. They need trainers to go into the community. So first I would start with who do you see doing this work that you would trust to partner with? And let them tell you what their needs are.

Darrell Bock
Let’s use A-21 as an example. Tell us a little bit about what they do, and how they work in this space.
Christina Crenshaw
Yeah. So A-21, their headquarters are in Orange County, but they work globally. I want to say they have about 15 different offices globally. A lot of what they do domestically is awareness campaign. They work with the End It movement. They’re at Passion Church a lot doing that. So a lot of their efforts are more awareness. You can jump onboard with them and do an awareness campaign in your city, in your school. They have this anti-trafficking curriculum now. If you’re an educator, you know educators, you can encourage that to be integrated into the classroom. They have some rehabilitation centers, but as best I know, those are overseas. So if you were a social worker, and you wanted to volunteer time to do that.

But a lot of it is just raising awareness campaigns, fund raising, donation. Even within our city, thinking about the myriad of ways that students get involved, they want to be the ones kicking down the doors and riding in the back of the patrol cars and saving people. And there is a time and space for that. But it also is a good opportunity to remind students you need training for that. You have to grow into the right to be in that space.

But yeah, I want to share this story real quick because it just moved me. A student of mine, I asked on the first day of the Human Trafficking class, “How did you guys hear about this? How’d you get involved?” And one of my students said, “When I was a senior in high school, I was in a dance competition. And one of our competitors did an entire dance dedicated to ending human trafficking.” And the room got really quiet. And I just thought, “I will never again say that that is lip service, that anybody can fight trafficking.” I just remember that resonated so deeply with me. Anybody can lend their vocation to fighting trafficking. So really, whatever it is your skill set, accounting, they need accountants. More economics numbers on this. Really. We estimate it’s $150 billion industry. We need people who have an economic mind to figure out how do we break this down. How do we prevent the business transaction side of this.

Darrell Bock
Now, I’ll ask a question I get asked when I get interviewed all the time, and I almost never have an answer for it, but we’ll go. Is there anything I’ve left out, anything else you want to say that we haven’t addressed?
Christina Crenshaw
And do most people say, “No. That about covers it?”
Darrell Bock
Yeah. Exactly right.
Christina Crenshaw
I don’t know that I would say there’s anything that we haven’t addressed. I would say that if you are doing work with vulnerable populations, then you are indirectly also working to end human trafficking. There’s so much concentric overlap with, again, homeless kids, and hunger.
Darrell Bock
Refugee ministry.
Christina Crenshaw
Refugee ministries, yes. Absolutely. So I think if you’re working in those spheres already, then know that you are part of this abolitionist movement to help end trafficking. That again, we can’t do this in silo. We need everybody who is walking with the broken and the vulnerable to help raise awareness.

A book I want to recommend really quickly, my students just read. It’s Raleigh Sadler’s Vulnerable. And they just read it. It’s a faith based perspective on what churches can do to end human trafficking. But in there he talks about how really, at the end of the day, we’re all vulnerable. We’re all vulnerable. That’s why we need Jesus. But when we approach it from, out of my vulnerability I want to walk with your vulnerability, you watch the gospel transform lives. So that is a really great book on this topic.

Darrell Bock
Okay. Say it one more time so people get it.
Christina Crenshaw
It’s called Vulnerable. I’m not sure what the subtitle is, but Vulnerable. And Raleigh Sadler. And he is the founder of Let My People Go, out of New York, who does this kind of work. But it’s been endorsed by a lot of great people, so you can read the endorsements, the reviews. But it’s a good book on what does it look like for the church to walk with people who are vulnerable, specifically vulnerable to trafficking.
Darrell Bock
Well let’s thank Christina for spending time with us. [Applause] Wish you well as you address the conference, and trust that that’ll go well. It’s been great to have you as a fellow on the Hendricks Center team.
Christina Crenshaw
Thanks. It’s an honor to be here.
Darrell Bock
Let me pray to close us. Father, we do come before You, and we’re just reminded of how broken our world is, and how there are people who are not only vulnerable and at risk, but are being taken advantage of in ways that are even horrific to contemplate. And yet other people are quite comfortable in using and abusing people in this way. And our prayer is, is that You would keep us sensitive to what goes on around us that sometimes we may want to shove away and not have much to do with, and not think very much about. And yet, in the context of what the church is about, is an opportunity for really restorative ministry, that might rescue not only a person’s body, but a person’s soul. And so we ask You to make us sensitive in this regard, and to encourage our communities to think about an area like this, of something that’s so pervasive, and that in doing so we might bring honor to You, and in the process of seeking to be of help, see people rescued out of a trap that is so debilitating. We ask these things in Jesus name.
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Christina Crenshaw
Dr. Christina Crenshaw is a professor, researcher, writer, and human trafficking fighter. She teaches faith and writing, vocational leadership, and human trafficking courses as a Lecturer at Baylor University. She has also co-published and presented on human trafficking curriculum research in peer reviewed journals and at academic conferences. Dr. Crenshaw recently completed a Cultural Engagement and Leadership Fellow with Dallas Theological Seminary’s Hendricks Center. For the last five years, Dr. Crenshaw has worked with several anti-trafficking organizations such as The A21 Campaign, UnBound Now, The Texas Governor’s Human Trafficking Task Force, The Heart of Texas Human Trafficking Coalition, and Operation Mobilization’s Freedom Climb. Prior to moving to Waco, TX, she lived in Southern California and held an Assistant Professor position in English and Education at California Baptist University. Dr. Crenshaw dedicated the first four years of her career to teaching as a high school English teacher. Those early experiences birthed a soft spot in her heart for vulnerable youth.
Darrell L. Bock
Dr. Bock is senior research professor of New Testament and executive director for cultural engagement at Dallas Theological Seminary. He has authored or edited more than forty books, including Jesus according to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels, Jesus in Context: Background Readings for Gospel Study, Studying the Historical Jesus: A Guide to Sources and Methods, Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King, Who Is Jesus?: Linking the Historical Jesus with the Christ of Faith, and Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus: A Collaborative Exploration of Context and Coherence.
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