The Manasseh Project is an outreach ministry of Wedgwood Christian Services dedicated to ending the sexual exploitation of young men and women in West Michigan.
Through community education and collaboration, the Manasseh Project provides support for victims of human trafficking and empowers the people of West Michigan to end modern day slavery.
Human Trafficking is defined as an act of recruiting, transporting, harboring or receiving a person through force or coercion, for the purpose of exploiting them. This can take on many forms but the most common of which are commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor at the financial gain of the trafficker.
The US State Department estimates there are roughly 1.8 victims of human trafficking – both forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation – for every 1,000 people in America.
Working from that ratio, the Manasseh Project estimates:
As believers in Christ, we recognize His call to justice. This means not only loving what God loves, but eradicating the things he Hates – among these are injustice, torture, and slavery.
To answer the prophet’s call to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God, we have begun to craft a structure to embrace both the things God loves – healing, community, and diligence – as well as combating those things He detests.
The Manasseh Project began shortly after our community watched helplessly as a child we knew and cared for was trafficked in our city. Despite all of our efforts to find her and offer aid, we were unable and ill-equipped to address her needs and trauma. My wife, Marcy, and I began to diligently research Human Trafficking both globally and locally.
Last September, we presented Wedgwood Christian Services, my employer, with a plan to aid those caught in Human Trafficking and educate our community as to how it is indeed happening in West Michigan. After months of progress, we are slowly moving forward with a public awareness campaign. However, The Manasseh Project is not only an awareness organization. Our mission is played out on four fronts.
Essentially, by educating and challenging both adults and children, we will address both the supply (children) and demand (adults) of the Human Trafficking supply chain in West Michigan
Your gift will help us move this project off paper and into the community. We believe that through diligent community education, compassionate care for victims, and the communities commitment to living slave-free lives, we can stomp out slavery in West Michigan.
I was introduced to human trafficking in Kindergarten by way of flannel graph. Many of us were. When Joseph’s older brothers sold him into slavery, he became the first well-documented trafficking victim. His story winds from slavery, to prison, to power with the ever-present hand of God leading him through his torture. As a young man in slavery, Joseph would have no doubt been exposed to forced labor, beatings, and perhaps even sexual abuse.
So, when Joseph is finally rescued from the prisons of Egypt and brought into power, he reflects upon the grace of God as he named his children. As he gazed upon his first son, he was filled with joy. When he considered what to name his first born, he thought of the present and of a future that held wonders. Joseph’s son was named Manasseh meaning, ‘It is because God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.’ Rescue and restoration. The Lord had given him a present and future despite the horrors of his past.
We named our mission The Manasseh Project because we believe in a new creation. We believe in rescue and restoration. We believe, like Joseph, that God can rescue the victims of slavery and cause them to forget their captors. They too can live as survivors – lifted from misery, resurrected to new life.