By Phanuel Roxas | Advertising manager
In June 2012, the U.S. State Department released a report on human trafficking and estimated 27 million people are trafficked every year. LaChapelle hopes to be a part of the movement to abolish this form of modern-day slavery.
LaChapelle became aware of human trafficking after attending the Christian conference, World Mandate, in Sept. 2011. At the conference, he heard from one of the world’s leading sex trafficking abolitionists, Christine Caine. She addressed the audience on the global epidemic of human trafficking and highlighted that Houston is one of the largest ports for human trafficking in the United States. From that moment, LaChapelle made it a goal to get involved with a human trafficking ministry.
“The Houston Baptist University campus is literally six minutes away from venues, buildings and establishments enslaving dozens of foreign women,” LaChapelle said. “The Lord weighed on my heart a deep compassion to see liberation and freedom take place for these women.”
Lachapelle was notified by a friend of an opportunity to go to Chiang Mai, Thailand from Dec. 19 through Jan. 11, along with six other students from the Houston area to help minister to men and women involved in the sex trafficking industry.
The student-led group will be working with a Youth With A Mission International based group called Lighthouse Ministries.
The team will teach English to children in the villages of Chiang Mai and make it a goal to build relationship with them.
“It’s essentially the moments of their childhood before parents make the decision to sell their children due to poverty,” LaChapelle said.
From then on the team will go to the city streets, brothels, local bars, and karaoke parlors to build relationships with enslaved men and women and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Sophomore Richie Reitmann bought one of the shirts after LaChapelle told him about the trip.
“I know that a person stepping out can make a difference,” Reitmann said.
Senior Chelsea Wood who is involved with Redeemed Ministries, which is focused on commercial sexual exploitation in the Houston area, supports LaChapelle and his trip to Thailand.
“John’s trip has been a testimony of great zeal and fearlessness, revealing Christ’s faithful redemption, power and provision. I love to see how God uses each and every one of his children to fulfill the Great Commission,” Wood said.
LaChapelle said he hopes to see University students get involved with human trafficking ministries in the area. He added since Houston is such a large hub for human trafficking, it is very easy to find ways to be proactive.
“I would love for any students interested in helping fight sex trafficking. There are so many opportunities to get involved, whether it would be a hands on, active, venturing out to location, or simply being a prayer partner and intercessor for the cause of justice,” LaChapelle said.