Prostitution. Sexual exploitation. Sex slavery.
Sex trafficking is a tragedy in all communities, and with their location along the I-5 corridor and abundance of strip clubs and adult shops, Portland is no exception. We believe that God has placed His Church in this community to be agents of His grace in bringing awareness, advocacy, prevention, healing and freedom from this depravity. Our motto is "get informed and get involved," believing that only through an accurate understanding of the root causes and societal effects of exploitation can we truly make a difference in stopping it.
We see communities where people are SAFE from sexual exploitation and experiencing ABUNDANT life in Jesus through the UNIFIED service of the Church.
Compassion Connect was formed with the belief that the Church is to be a transformational presence in the community, daily reflecting the Kingdom of God by addressing the needs of the whole person. We believe that there is more that unites us as Christians than divides us, and by working together as church communities our witness and impact is magnified.
Under the supervision of the board of directors of Compassion Connect, Inc., Abolition Now unites churches and collaborates with government agencies, anti-trafficking and other non-profit organizations to aid in the fight against sex-trafficking through advocacy, awareness, prevention and restoration.
In 2009, the East County Pastor’s Association visited city leaders to look at the issue of human trafficking. From the original meeting, a task force was formed to determine the best way the church could get involved with anti-trafficking efforts. A guide of anti-trafficking organizations and resources was created and given to the county for their use.
In 2010, the Adorned in Grace Bridal Shop was opened to raise awareness and funds for the prevention of human trafficking.
In 2011, the Abolition Now website was created to make the resource guide available to the public and to be a communication tool matching volunteers with anti-trafficking organizations who needed help. Adorned in Grace Design Studio volunteers began working with at-risk girls in apartment complexes and in a donated space in SE Portland. The Adorned in Grace prevention model focuses on bringing freedom and hope in place of generational victimization.
Since its inception, Abolition Now has developed several branches as God moves people with compassion to serve those affected by sex-trafficking.
Abolition Now Branches
Uniting the Church to serve our communities so that people experience the power and love of Jesus is the main mission of Compassion Connect and Abolition Now. Awareness happens while creating web content and a presence in social media. Our goal is always collaboration with community partners in the fight against human trafficking. The Abolition Now website, facebook page and twitter have become effective means of communication for those wanting to get involved to serve the most vulnerable. We also offer informational presentations to churches and pastoral staff. You can sign up for more info here.
Adorned in Grace
Adorned in Grace Bridal and Formalwear is a nonprofit retail shop in SW Portland and Gresham that raises awareness and funds for the prevention of sex-trafficking and support for its victims. The retail space is donated and the shop workers are volunteers. Proceeds from bridal shop sales fund all other Abolition Now ministries and support survivors in their road to healing.
SE Portland Design Studio
Prevention includes the hands-on work at our Design Studio, where mentors work with at-risk teens through fashion design and personal development activities. The mission of the Design Studio is to link arms and fabric with others who desire to bring the love of Christ to at-risk teens in low-income, high crime neighborhoods. By providing a safe place for girls to express themselves, and by showing Christ’s unconditional love, we inspire these young ladies to become advocates on behalf of their at-risk sisters and friends for the prevention of child sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Dress for Freedom
Portland, Seattle and Arizona Dress for Freedom is a special event for teenage girls living in foster care and other unstable living environments. It’s a fun-filled day of pampering and serves as an outreach opportunity to connect with young girls at perhaps the most vulnerable time of their lives. We want to tell and show them that they are incredibly valuable, uniquely created and deeply loved. Sexual exploitation awareness and prevention are also taught through personal testimonies.
Hands of Hope
Hands of Hope provides mentoring, prayer support and resources to the sexually exploited and those working on the front lines of rescue and restoration. Hands of Hope Mentoring exists to provide support for sexually exploited women that law enforcement, government agencies, advocates and other professionals cannot do as part of their job description.
Hands of Hope Resources: Restoration can begin once a person’s immediate and vital needs are met. Hands of Hope provides necessary resources to the sexually exploited, which is made possible through the collaboration of local churches, community partners and Adorned in Grace Bridal Shop funds.
Human Trafficking Prayer Initiative
For years, groups of faithful believers have gathered to pray for their cities, their neighbors, and their leaders. In December of 2013, God called several Portland leaders to step towards a wider goal of city-wide collaboration and support. The term Gospel Centered City Focused Prayer Groups was formed in order to define their emphasis on community and evangelistic prayer, and human trafficking is one of many battles that fall under these categories. These leaders realize that this is where the battle for the restoration of our city begins--in the prayers we pray for our leaders, our churches, our organizations, our neighborhoods, our schools. In prayer as well as action, unity brings strength.