In this episode:
Marlene was missing for 8 months after a trafficker kidnapped her and took her away. Now she rescues others from trafficking, and she’s found hope and healing through faith. She's a "sur-thriver."
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When Dr. Marlene Carson was 15 years old, a neighbor couple befriended her, which led to a weekend away where she was trafficked. Days after that, her perpetrator kidnapped her for 8 months and took her away from her family. They had no idea where she was.
She didn’t finish high school when she was returned home pregnant. But later she would further her education and eventually get a doctorate degree.
She now rescues girls from trafficking through Rahab’s Hope of Ohio, and organization she founded.
Marlene believes she was targeted because of her charisma and friendliness. Traffickers might be drawn to people for their entrepreneurial spirit. She said it was her strengths, not her weaknesses that she believes made her a target. “The greatest level of your anointing can also be the greatest level of your attack,” she said.
Marlene Carson, SurThriver of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking, Member of the U.S. Advisory Council on Trafficking, Author, Coach, Founder of Rahab’s Hideaway, Inc. and CEO of The Switch Anti-Trafficking Network; is one of America’s foremost authorities on the subject of human trafficking. While many have a textbook knowledge of the perils faced by teenage girls and young adult women who are forced into prostitution. Marlene knows from her own personal experience. At age 15 she became one of the tens of thousands of girls and young adult women who are exploited daily. Through faith in Christ and sound biblical teaching, Marlene’s misery became a ministry to the exploited.
While Marlene was held in captivity, it was hearing her grandmother’s voice in her head that kept her going. She remembered the Scriptures her grandmother would recite and how she prayed. When Marlene returned home, she found peace and shelter in church.
“The resiliency that God has put in my heart and my spirit to keep going…against opposition and against all odds, just keep going,” she said.
As a member of the US Advisory Council on Trafficking, she consults with government agencies and advises on protocols for victims of trafficking.
In 2008, she founded Rahab’s Hope, which provides housing for people who are rescued. (There was a point when there were more rescue beds for dogs in her city than there were for humans.) The ministry helps people find employment and housing, connections to resources for addiction and more. Rahab’s Hope is about education and entrepreneurship. They make soaps, and they sell smoked nuts. They are in the process of expanding to a garden and greenhouse. She also has Rahab’s Hideaway, which is a crisis intervention ministry for victims.
The Switch – Curriculum for churches to help people, a social justice arm of the church to help traffic victims and people in transition to not go through the process alone.
Book: 12 Steps to Transform the Exploited Soul This book is about one girl’s destiny that leads to hope, freedom, and justice. It’s is based on a true story of how a mother’s love for her daughter drove her to get the answers that uncovered a deep dark mystery. How the love from a son exposed his father’s manipulation and deceit. How an officer that was commissioned to serve and protect neglected his duty and how the community failed to see it all.
The 12 steps are for volunteers in the church. This book promises to take you on a journey that will ignite a fire in your heart to fight for those who can’t fight for themselves, to be the voice for the voiceless, and it will open blinded eyes everywhere. It is time that the truth of sex trafficking be revealed, time to shift the blame from victim to the traffickers, and lastly, it’s time that communities turn back the hands of time to become the village again that helps to raise our children.
Read Marlene’s story in the Life Repurposed book
(Please note: books posted here on my blog are purely because I want to share them. Sometimes I receive free copies for review, and other times I purchase the books. Some I get from the library. Either way, any endorsement I offer here on the blog is simply because I want to talk about the book. )
Michelle Rayburn is the author of The Repurposed and Upcycled Life: When God Turns Trash to Treasure, as well as a small group Bible study to accompany the book. Learn more about these and her other books here. A sample chapter of the book and Bible study are available for free download.
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