Liberdade. For more than two and a half years this initiative took us to Brazil. All across this South American country, we worked to bring freedom to women and children trafficked and trapped in Brazil’s thriving commercial sex industry. Liberdade culminated during the summer of 2014; while the eyes of the nations were on the World Cup games, our focus was on the victims of exploitation. We joined our voices with the collaborative cry of intercessors who represented more than 500 churches in Brazil. During that time, we saw twelve prayer rooms planted—one in each of the World Cup host cities. Day and night we prayed for justice in the hearts of each of these cities. Throughout the 31 days of the games, we helped train more than 1,529 Brazilian abolitionists. Together, with our Brazilian partners, we reached out to more than 1,972 exploited persons during the entirety of the World Cup.
In the past, the injustice of trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation was largely unaddressed in Brazil. The Church was largely unaware of the severity of the problem and the nature of this injustice that saw so many young people lured into the clutches of oppression. Today, there is new hope. The landscape of cultural acceptance is changing and awareness is growing in all levels of society. We saw eyes being opened up all around us: from government officials to law enforcement representatives, in the schools and in the churches. The people of Brazil are waking up, and many of them are no longer silent in the face of this injustice.
The World Cup has come and gone, but the work of abolition that was started during Liberdade continues. Take a look at what’s happening in several of the host cities:
Rio de Janeiro: During Liberdade, a prayer room in Rio was planted in the prostitution zone known as Vila Mimosa. This district, infamous in selling women for sex, was previously unreached by the Church. Today members from churches across the city are meeting in the prayer room four hours a day, six days a week to intercede for those trapped in bondage. In addition, a weekly luncheon is hosted for girls working in the zone, and the team continues to lead outreaches on the streets each week.
Sao Paulo: Following Liberdade, the team in Sao Paulo has continued to pray. The team also started a network of ministries called Liberta Me. These new churches mobilize prayer and raise awareness about the injustice of human trafficking. They also provide support to organizations that are actively working in the field of abolition.
Brasilia: At the conclusion of Liberdade, the Brazilian team was given the keys to a chapel inside the National Congress. They host prayer meetings every day in the nation’s capital.
Curitiba: Since Liberdade, a new ministry called Nova Identidade was born. This initiative is providing outreach to exploited men and women three times a week. This work involves prayer walking in the prostitution zone, building relationships with those being exploited, and visiting the victims in their homes to continue discipleship and support.
Our journey through Brazil was long. We faced many challenges along the way. But our time was also blessed by Brazilian abolitionists who walked alongside us and are committed to continuing the fight for freedom in their home country. We also witnessed hope in the faces of many survivors and redemption from the One who heals. The continued works in these cities are a testimony to the power of prayer, awareness, and intervention. Please pray for continued revival in Brazil.