Close to Home: Confronting the Issue
by Macaylah Mutchler
Exploitation occurs closer to home than we may think.
Thankfully, organizations such as Northstar Initiative are passionate about creating a safe space in which local survivors can find rescue and safe haven.
Northstar houses several sex trafficking survivors at The Harbor, where they are “achieving educational goals, working part-time jobs, and learning how to live independently.” Since Northstar is a non-profit organization, they are constantly looking for donations and volunteers.
Near the end of September, a Myerstown-based company, Dutch Valley Food Distributors, encouraged their employees to spend the time-equivalent of an entire workday volunteering for an organization of their choice.
Jesse Mutchler, an employee of Dutch Valley Food Distributors whose heart is particularly passionate about sex trafficking, knew of Northstar. When presented with this opportunity from Dutch Valley, he immediately knew he wanted to offer his services to Northstar.
Once he was connected with the organization, it was decided that he would spend the day working on manual labor outdoors.
“I picked up a pressure washer at 8 am from a local hardware store and arrived [at Northstar] just before 9 am,” Mutchler recalled. “I had hoped to get some other things done around the property, however the house was massive, so it took me until 5pm to finish just pressure washing.”
As he worked around the property, he began to notice there were painted wooden sticks in the ground.
“As I knelt down and got closer, I realized that they were Bible verses written out by all of the survivors who had lived at the house and were currently living there,” Mutchler noted. “It was humbling to get a glimpse into the verses that brought them peace or comfort after having survived such a horrible time in their life.”
Mutchler further explained some were randomly spread out, but others were placed strategically in areas that were related to the context of the particular verse.
While serving at The Harbor, Mutchler observed the behavior of various survivors who were being housed there.
“Some of the survivors would come outside from time to time, and they seemed very dismissive or avoidant of me [and] I completely understand why they may feel defensive with a man on the property,” he commented. “I would respect them by moving to a different area until they went back inside. But turning that part into a more positive experience, it did become a trigger for me to start praying for them while I was working. This organization is doing amazing things.”
Serving at Northstar was an experience Mutchler will “never forget and always be thankful for.”
Beyond serving as a volunteer, many other opportunities are available when it comes to confronting the issue of sex trafficking. Kaylynn Bert, who holds an avid conviction toward advocating against sex trafficking, uses her social media platforms to avidly speak up about the issue.
“Social media is often a place of people’s highlighted reels,” commented Bert. “It’s time we wake up and see the ugly truth as well. When we have social media available to us 24/7, it should be a place we can use to educate ourselves as well as enjoy keeping up with friends!”
Participating in volunteer work and actively advocating for social issues on social media are two practical ways to begin confronting the issues. It is important to recognize that people can be, and should be, passionate about different issues. What one person might confront; the next will confront another.
Together, by addressing and confronting the various social issues around us, we can initiate and inspire change.
Macaylah Mutchler is a Communication Major (’21) at Lancaster Bible College. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.