Italy (OM/MNN) — The abolitionist William Wilberforce once said, “If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large.”
A fanatic is one who exudes a passionate single-mindedness that causes all other things to pale in importance.
Operation Mobilization is inspiring people of Italy to become fanatics about an issue that is much more comfortable to ignore.
The documentary Nefarious: Merchant of Souls calls Christians to become fanatics–for Jesus and for the justice that He would have us uphold–by educating its viewers about the atrocity of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. It calls for not merely “interested bystanders” but sold-out fanatics for the restorative love and healing that Jesus has to offer.
The team at OM Italia’s Tesori Raggianti (Radiant Treasures) have taken up this call to become fanatics: not only for Jesus, but for this cause.
This anti-trafficking ministry was launched in October 2012 to become an advocate for the oppressed in the region and to educate and mobilize the community. It takes its name from Psalm 34:5, which says, “Those who look to Him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces” (NLT).
On Sunday 27 April, Tesori Raggianti held its first public screening of Nefarious in the local theatre of Torre Pellice. The event was advertised widely during the preceding weeks, and the team was excited to see that the group who turned out included pastors from various churches and members of the churches in the area, as well as some non-believing community members.
Tears flowed freely among those in the audience as they witnessed, through the film, the tragic realities of the global commercial sex industry and the lives restored by the love of God on screen.
The screening was followed by a short presentation specifically about what this issue looks like in Italy and how Tesori Raggianti is responding.
“There are approximately 50,000 victims of commercial sexual exploitation in Italy today,” Erika, Tesori coordinator, explained to the audience. “Only 1%-2% of those victims are rescued.”
Erika went on to outline the ministry’s three focus areas: prevent, protect, and pray. The prevention stage involves awareness campaigning and programs, aimed at both the wider community and those at risk. The protection stage includes street outreach and victim contact, as well as training for anti-trafficking workers in the areas of after care and the healing process. And finally, the prayer stage consists of mobilizing a broader base of people in prayer, both locally and internationally, through regular prayer meetings and newsletters.
The event was capped off with a time of food and fellowship, which facilitated conversations about next steps and how the community can continue to be involved. People from a number of denominations expressed interest in participating in a regular prayer ministry. Some members of a men’s ministry will be discussing how they can get involved and educate and encourage other men in the community to make a stand for this issue.
Tesori Raggianti also plans to host more screenings of the film in the coming months. In addition to these awareness and education programs, Tesori Raggianti will host a training conference at the end of May to further equip anti-trafficking workers in the area of care and restoration.
The ministry also aims to commence street outreach in the fall.
Please pray for the victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. Pray for the members of this community, that they would continue to be passionate about this cause.
For more about the ministry of Tesori Raggianti or the issue of human trafficking and sexual slavery, click here to visit the Web site.