The Good Life
Using the beautiful game to teach the dangers of human trafficking.
One wouldn’t think soccer and human trafficking could be played out on the same field. However, Ambassadors Football, formerly known as Ambassadors in Sports, has developed a program to teach kids about human trafficking in a captivating way: through a soccer game called, “The Good Life.” The goal of the game is to juggle the ball across the field without it touching the ground and by only using feet, not hands. Nearly impossible to do - which is why the coaches encourage the kids to take the “easy” route along the sidelines. Once lured over to the hands of these “pimps,” they soon discover the hard and tedious exercises are not so “easy.” Only one 10 year-old girl, out of more than 60 kids, made it through all four stations of the “easy” route, only to discover she had then become a recruiter for the trafficker and would never reach “The Good Life.”
After grueling exercises and much deception, the kids were split up into smaller groups when the coaches revealed the true purpose of the game. At first, the kids were shocked to learn they had been deceived and tricked by people they trusted, but were eager and attentive to learn about human trafficking - a word most had never heard before. A scenario unfolds of “Susan,” a 14 year-old, who begins dating a 19 year-old guy that preys on Susan’s vulnerability and lack of self-esteem while promising to fulfill her needs. The talk ends with communicating the importance of how to recognize unhealthy relationships, tricks and methods traffickers use to lure kids in, who to trust and who to call for help, and how to be an advocate for their friends who may be trapped in this life. Kids were given a cool bracelet imprinted with “The Good Life” and the human trafficking hotline number and told they could call or text the number for help if they ever find themselves in a trafficking situation.
So why use a soccer game to teach kids about Human Trafficking? God uses all kinds of ways as He comes down to our level to reach us where we’re at. Ambassadors Football, an international Christian organization, began teaching kids about human trafficking after discovering it was a problem in every country they went to while doing soccer camps. “As coaches and community leaders, you have a responsibility to help keep the people around you safe. This is one way that you can do that” says Leah Wheeler, former coach of Thailand’s Chiang Mai Thunder Eagles women’s pro team and now Ambassadors’ Northwest representative.
Prevention and Awareness events don’t always yield immediate results. The hope of this event was to equip our junior high school group to recognize dangers in their vulnerable teen years ahead (according to the US Department of Justice, reports have shown that the average age a child is first sexually exploited in the US is 13 years old). Not only did we accomplish this, we also learned that two teenagers who came to the event confided in their mentors afterwards that they could now identify friends in their lives who are potential victims of sex trafficking. Without educating teens about human trafficking, most assume a friend is just making bad choices rather than understanding she is a victim of a crime.
All of the coaches who came to Good Shepherd Community Church on Tuesday, July 9th, to teach youth about human trafficking, were not only professional soccer players from Spain, Netherlands, Ireland, Brazil, Thailand, Germany, and Japan, but they are Ambassadors for Christ! Their incredible heart and passion for sharing the love of Jesus and concern for the safety of His children is truly inspiring. Please keep this team in your prayers as they represent the next generation of Jesus’ disciples all around the world.