Tomorrow, our Freedom Steps event is taking place – women right across the US are walking 5k for freedom. And the story below, about trafficking in Italy, explains why this event is so important in raising awareness of the millions trapped in modern-day slavery! There is still time to sign up and take part.

If you look carefully you can spot the women sitting alone along the streets in Pisa, Italy, waiting hour after hour, day after day.

Many of these women have been trafficked to the area from other countries and are forced to provide sexual services to the men who stop along the road.

Slavery in Pisa

The Freedom Challenge supports project workers who have a vision to bring freedom to the women and men trapped in sexual slavery in Pisa.

“Often even Christians do not know how to engage with these people,” explains the project co-ordinator. “But what would Jesus have done? Would he not have spent time with them to reach out to them with his love and forgiveness?”

The project workers moved to Pisa in September 2014 and spent many months getting to know the area, the churches, the local people and their needs. Most trafficking victims come from Nigeria, or from Romania, Bulgaria, Albania and other Eastern European countries.

There are also a large number of transgender individuals from Brazil who have ended up working as prostitutes as they struggle to find other work in Italy.

Spiritual and emotional support

In February 2016, the team started a weekly outreach on the streets of Pisa.

“No-one wishes to have a life like this,” is a phrase the outreach team have heard women say on multiple occasions. This has made the team realize that the women need a lot of support both spiritually and emotionally.

“The fact that many women have allowed us to pray for them and have opened up about their traumatic past shows us that we’re doing the right thing,” explains the team co-ordinator.

Though a lot needs to be done to help the women holistically, the team are successfully building relationships with the women while looking at ways to help those who wish to exit a life in prostitution.

Thank you for partnering with us and enabling us to reach these women with a message of hope and freedom!