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New Jersey Church Fights Child Exploitation


Human trafficking, much of it involving young girls, is one of the largest illegal money makers in the world. Maria Rivera is leading a task force with over 20 members of Bridgeway Community Christian Reformed Church in Haledon, N.J., to educate and combat this persistent evil in our society.

Using a series of eight training modules developed by Love 146, an organization dedicated to ending child sex slavery and exploitation, the group is learning what human trafficking is, what its effects are, how people are lured into it, where it occurs both globally and locally, and what can be done to combat it.

For example, young girls are lured by newspaper or Craigslist ads offering a free trip and an education in the United States. Once they arrive, they are told they must pay for the trip before they can go to school and end up being pushed into prostitution instead.

By selling T-shirts, Bible bags, and bookmarks with the Love 146 logo, and holding car washes, the group has raised over $500 to increase awareness of the issue by speaking at high schools, colleges, and other venues.

Claudia Rivas, one of the coordinators at Bridgeway Community, “likes the training as it brings awareness to an issue people think doesn't happen in America.”

Maria Rivera has “a dream to see no child or individual being forced into this nightmare” and prays for the Lord’s help to end it.

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