2022 Leadership Institute: Trafficking in Our Backyards


In the 2022 Leadership Institute seminar, “Trafficking In Our Backyards,” Bonnie Gatchell began by reporting some statistics about the sex industry in the United States.

“The average age of entry into the sex industry in the U.S. is 12, and many people think that is actually high,” she said. “Seventy percent are girls who have aged out of the foster system and have nowhere to go. It’s important to see women in strip clubs as the victims they are. No girl wants to be a stripper when she grows up.”

Gatchell said the primary reason women leave the sex industry is “one trusting relationship encouraging them” to live a different life.

“Traffickers are really good at recognizing vulnerable people. The church needs to be better.”

Gatchell is a Teaching Elder in the Presbytery of the East and is the co-founder and Executive Director of Route One Ministry, a Boston-based non-profit organization that serves women who are sexually exploited.

The Leadership Institute is part of the EPC’s 42nd General Assembly, June 21-24 at Ward Church in Northville, Mich.



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