What Christian activist Raleigh Sadler discussed during his human trafficking presentation

Zach Barlow | Asst. Photo Editor

Christian activist Raleigh Sadler said during his presentation in Hendricks Chapel on Tuesday that people often associate human trafficking with sex trafficking. However, it is estimated that globally only 22 percent of trafficking is for sex — the other percentage is for labor.

No one in reported history has ever kicked down the door of a brothel wearing a cardigan, said Raleigh Sadler, a Christian activist and speaker for victims of human trafficking. But that is exactly what Sadler plans to do.

“I’m supposed to fight human trafficking, but I wear a cardigan,” he said.

Sadler gave a presentation, “Who Cares About Justice? A Conversation About Human Trafficking and Justice” in Hendricks Chapel Tuesday evening to about 50 members of the Syracuse University community.

Devon Bartholomew, associate chaplain of Hendricks, introduced Sadler, who is the executive director of LetMyPeopleGo, an organization that mobilizes local churches to fight human trafficking by “loving those most vulnerable,” according to the organization’s website.

Sadler’s mission has taken him to many churches and colleges across the nation, has given him the opportunity to speak at the United Nations and has allowed him to write for publications including The Huffington Post and Baptist Press.

“Regardless of your belief system, this message that Raleigh is bringing to you tonight will challenge you to intentionally love the vulnerable,” Bartholomew said.

Sadler began by defining human trafficking as the exploitation of vulnerabilities for commercial gain. He said this happens every day under people’s noses while people continue to go on with their lives.

It is estimated that between 20 and 30 million people are held in slave-like conditions, Sadler said. He added that there are more slaves in the civilized world than there have ever been recorded in history.

“With these numbers alone we should be reminded that this does not face one nation, one people or one religion,” Sadler said. “Human trafficking is a human problem.”

He urged that people must work together to fight the injustice that is occurring both locally and globally, even though their motivations may be different.


Zach Barlow | Asst. Photo Editor


Sadler’s perspective was shaped by Christianity. He said that because of his relationship with Jesus Christ he felt in a particular moment that he had been called to do something about global exploitation.

Since then he has sat with friends as they have shared with him their stories of exploitation, worries about relapsing into prostitution and eating disorders caused by their abusers.

He proceeded to tell the story of one of his friends, Shandra Woworuntu, who was trafficked for sex and is now a member of the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. Sadler compared Shandra’s experience with the biblical story of Joseph.

“Shandra’s story is a reminder that no matter what they meant for evil, God continues to mean for good,” Sadler said.

Sadler encouraged the audience to set up Google Alerts so that they can become more informed about vulnerable people in their community.

He added that people should become aware of what the signs of human trafficking are and how to properly respond when they suspect somebody is a victim of trafficking.

“One of the best ways is to get to know the people of your community … People are more broken than they appear to be,” Sadler said. “We are so messed up and we spend the majority of our time denying it.”

Throughout the talk, Sadler emphasized that people associate human trafficking with sex trafficking, although it is estimated that globally only 22 percent of trafficking is for sex with the remaining percentage being for labor.

After Sadler’s talk, he opened the floor to questions from the audience, during which he spoke more about how to spot and intervene if a person suspects trafficking is occurring, statistics on human trafficking and his goals to expand his message.


Top Stories