A local priest and two women will hold a fundraiser next week in hopes to raise awareness about the nation’s less known pro-life issue—human sex trafficking.
Father Dave Nix of Blessed John XXIII Parish in Fort Collins is joining Rachael Wright, 28, of Arvada and Grace Williams, 27, of San Diego to support Christian safe haven ministries and raise awareness of the prevalence of the sex trade.
“This is the hidden pro-life issue that God is calling Catholics to get involved in,” Father Nix said.
The Nov. 22 fundraiser at Howl at the Moon in Denver will raise funds for three Christian safe havens working to restore girls victimized by sex trafficking. The safe havens include Williams’ ministry Children of the Immaculate Heart in San Diego, Restore Innocence in Colorado Springs and the recently opened Amy’s House in LaPorte.
Their efforts are also to raise awareness about Colorado’s statistically high rate of sex trafficking, reportedly the state with the highest rate per capita of sex slavery and run-aways, who are most in danger of being abused.
In July, federal agents participated in a nationwide string and arrested six Denver pimps. Nine of the enslaved children saved in the state were among 105 recovered nationwide.
“It’s happening here and it’s happening to kids we see every day,” said Wright, who is in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program at Spirit of Christ Church in Arvada. “We should be so angry about this and we should be up in arms.”
In the United States, some 100,000 children are victims of sex trafficking and 2 million work as sex slaves worldwide. The FBI calls sex trafficking the “fastest-growing business of organized crime and the third-largest criminal enterprise in the world.” It estimates some 293,000 youths are at risk of becoming victims of the sex trade.
Protestant groups run many safe havens, but a Catholic presence in anti-sex trafficking ministry is needed, Father Nix said.
“The full healing and deliverance that can happen in the lives of these girls will only come through the sacraments and Mary,” he said. “If Catholics bow out of this fight, these kids don’t stand a chance.”
Father Nix said the goal is to expand the safe haven ministries, build the dignity of girls enslaved and increase Catholic involvement.
“We encourage anyone in the Archdiocese of Denver to support these ministries,” he said. “There is a glaring absence of a Catholic presence in this aspect of social justice.”
Fundraiser for Freedom
To benefit Restore Innocence in Colorado Springs, Amy’s House in LaPorte and Children of the Immaculate Heart in San Diego.
When: 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Nov. 22
Where: Howl at the Moon, 1735 19th St., Denver
Tickets: $20 each, purchased at www.eventbrite.com/event/8864248205
Includes: drinks, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction and speakers