Attend a Community Forum on Sex- Trafficking and its Victims
in Washington, DC and Beyond!
Thursday, May 8, 2014 from 7 to 9 PM
Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church
900 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001
Please check-out the event flyer here and share with your contacts!
For more information, contact Bill Hillegeist at email@example.com
Be informed—be inspired—take action!
The following is adapted from the speech given by Bill Hillegeist
at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church on April 27, 2014:
So recently, I have gotten into prostitution.
Now DO I have your attention?
Seriously, we have all heard or read Pastor Donna’s comments about her frustration, anger, and sadness seeing sex workers and their pimps on our neighborhood streets in the early morning hours when she arrives at church.
I first became involved with this issue of sex trafficking as a member of my condominium board at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, just up the street. Our residents complained about seeing sexual activity in our back alley and having to run a gauntlet of sex workers and their pimps when they went out for early morning runs or walks. I, too, have seen them when I arrive early to our church shower ministry.
My first reaction was, frankly, “Shame on these immoral women that are selling sex for money!”
Then I started to learn more about prostitution. I attended meetings of my Advisory Neighborhood Commission and workshops hosted by advocacy groups such as DC Stop Modern Slavery. I listened to police, under cover agents, and detectives describe sex trafficking and I have seen several documentary movies about this seedy subject.
Honestly, my attitudes have dramatically changed. I now see most sex workers as victims – women, men, and yes, underage girls and boys – lured, sometimes kidnapped, or otherwise coerced into the business of selling their bodies for money.
I believe that we as a church and faith community can do something to help these victims. To that end, the Serve Team, Pastor Donna, and I are presenting a Community Forum on Thursday May 8th from 7 to 9 PM in the Fellowship Hall here at our Church.
We have invited local businesses, hotel managers, residents, city council members, and others to see a very disturbing documentary movie, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls. Then we will have discussion about specific opportunities that we have as a faith community to help sex victims and combat sex trafficking in our neighborhood and in our city.
I am here to tell you this will not be an evening where you will go home feeling happy. Rather, we hope you will leave having learned about this sordid business and inspired to take action. We will offer you several ways you can do that.
My personal journey was not one I expected to make, yet I have become passionate about trying to do something to help victims of human trafficking. I hope you will join us on May 8th to listen, learn, and act. It is part of our church’s mission to reach out into our community with compassion and determination to help others. This is another opportunity for us to do just that.”