Louisville—”It just ignited this passion in me for fighting human trafficking and for the real people who are a part of this issue,” Lily Murphy, a 19 year-old, soon-to-be college freshman, said of her recent six month mission trip fighting human trafficking.
Murphy, who attends Sojourn Community Church’s Midtown campus in Louisville, took a year off after graduation from Christian Academy in Louisville to “join the frontlines of missions,” she said.
Through the organization Youth with a Mission (YWAM), Murphy spent three months receiving a missions education in Los Angeles during the day and spent her Friday nights with Justice 180 from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m., talking to prostitutes on the streets, praying for and with them, handing out information to help them get off the streets, and giving out goody-bags with scripture and lip gloss.
After the three month educational portion was over, the outreach portion focusing on human trafficking began.
“We went to an area called La Merced, Mexico City. There was probably a prostitute every couple feet along this five square-block area. We would just go and talk to them,” Murphy said.
She continued, “We gave them roses and Christmas cards on Christmas Eve, and we would pray for them, and just hear their stories and ask them where they’re at with their life, where they want to be and what their dreams are.”
In Mexico City they would also “hang out” with underage girls who were rescued from a life in the sex industry and placed in a safe home.
“Each day was just something new that we did involving the human trafficking that is going on in Mexico,” Murphy said.
In Costa Rica, the ministry was similar. However, there was a brothel, where the team spoke to some of the men who were visiting it.
“The men at the brothel were interesting because it was mainly American and Canadian men who had traveled to Costa Rica for sex tourism,” Murphy said.
“It was crazy to see how many people would come to us and tell us their whole life story,” she recounted. “It was just like the presence of God made people feel safe, and a lot of people were really open to us.”
While in Costa Rica, her team held church services called “Casa Agape.”
“We would have prostitutes and homeless people and men who had come to Costa Rica for sex tourism all in the same church service,” she said. “It was crazy to see this crowd of people come and hear about God’s love for them and worship in the same space.”
“I think first and foremost, it’s obvious her incredible growth in her faith,” said Lily’s aunt, Tamara Murphy, a member of First Baptist Church of Shelbyville.
“I think one thing she learned was that everybody has value,” she added. “It doesn’t take a whole lot to show God’s love and hope in Christ and to give that person value in that.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever not be involved in fighting human trafficking,” said Lily, who will be attending University of Kentucky in the fall. She intends to major in marketing and minor in photography and “stay involved in human trafficking awareness, and use my own skills in ways I think I can help.”
“There is never going to be a point in my life where I can say that I don’t know what is going on in human trafficking,” she said, “and that I won’t be actively working against it.” (WR)