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25 to Thrive: The Church Working Together

Stepping Stones Network

Project Description

“Then I will give to the peoples [clear and pure speech from] purified lips
[which reflect their purified hearts], that all of them may call on the name of the Lord,
to serve Him shoulder to shoulder (united).”

Zephaniah 3:9 Amplified

Sex trafficking is likely the most horrific crime against humanity in our time.

Church Leader, will you give it 15 minutes of your time? If so, read on…

No doubt, a dark and uncomfortable topic. Many of us would like to avoid it altogether. Or maybe we think, “not my job.” But, Jesus came from heaven into this dark world to bring light and to overcome evil. It is our job, as The Church, to carry on His work.

...To be a voice for the voiceless and the vulnerable, who are at the greatest risk.
...To prevent the predators from reaching into our homes via social media.
...To help the men and women in our congregations who have been lured unwittingly
via the gateway drug - pornography.
...To restore the marriages that are being destroyed by its evil.
...To protect the children from becoming a body to be used.
...To restore the traumatized lives of victims through the power of Jesus.

Will your church join our 25 to Thrive Network to assist with this challenging work?

With the practical and financial help of the community and ten Lake County churches,
Stepping Stones Network has already launched…

An accredited Residential Recovery program for trafficked moms and their children
A 24/7 Hotline
Outreach and Case Management Services
Journey Groups for adults who need healing from abuse
Conquer Groups for men and who struggle with pornography
Education/Prevention content for men, women, co-ed young adult, youth
A holistic Day Recovery program (in development)

Philippians 2:1-2 TPT reminds us:
“Look at how much encouragement you’ve found in your relationship with the Anointed One! You are filled to overflowing with his comforting love. You have experienced a deepening friendship with the Holy Spirit and have felt his tender affection and mercy.

So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity—with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy.”

Those touched by this tragedy, inside and outside the church, need our love, friendship and overwhelming compassion.

Will your church join 25 TO THRIVE?

We have three phases you can engage in:

Phase 1 - By Dec. 31, 2020 - Raise $100,000 through church donations or pledges to support our accredited long-term Residential Recovery home for trafficked moms and their children and open our new Day Recovery Program. See ways to give financially below.

Phase 2 - Educate Church Leaders on the direct impact on their congregations.
Watch our 5 minute video to hear more: www.steppingstonesnetwork.org/call-to-action
Find Church Leader Resources at www.steppingstonesnetwork.org/resources

Phase 3 - Provide consistent therapeutic/healing groups, centrally or through your church, for men, women and couples who have been or are affected by the misuse of sex. See our services here: www.steppingstonesnetwork.org/resources

Ways to Give Financially

  • Mail a check to Stepping Stones Network PO Box 208 Grayslake, IL 60030.
    (We’ll avoid the fees and add your contribution to the fund manually.)
  • Give online through this 25 to Thrive Crowdfund page.
  • Collect $25 Walmart, Target, and Domino’s Gift Cards for our client hospitality.

Ways to Help Individuals Get Educated, Get Involved, or Give

  • Schedule a Get Educated presentation for your church.
  • Share this Get Involved link through your congregation’s communications channel. www.steppingstonesnetwork.org/Get-Involved
  • Allow your congregation to Give directly by sharing this crowdfund link. We’ll tally the total given by your church.

The Facts about Local Sex Trafficking
The United States is one of the top three nations of origin for human/sex trafficking victims (State Department 2019). In the Chicago area, 16,000-25,000 women and girls are sold for sex each year (2007 Cook County Commission on Women's Issues Report) with 75% of sexually trafficked victims aged 0 to 20 (Statista.com 2018). Prostituted women are commonly sexually abused as children and 91% of them tell no one about the abuse (Silbert, Mimi H. 1984). The typical victim is sold an average of 13 times per day and likely earns nothing (U. S. Department of State).

Predators pursue the most vulnerable children and the most desperate women, including single mothers. In most cases, these women are in their twenties and became vulnerable after spending most of their lives in the foster care system. Aging out of the system, they routinely become homeless, poverty stricken, and desperate.

According to those with outreach experience in the area, conservative estimates are that 50% of trafficked women in Chicagoland have at least one child, with some having as many as eight.
50% of these children will be sold in the sex trade as well (Willis, Brian from Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies 11, 2016). Both mom and child need rescue; yet the current long-term residential programs do not admit women with their children. Many moms would rather sell their bodies than be separated from their kids. Stepping Stones Network has stepped up to fill this gap in services, show it can be done, and inspire others to do the same.

About the Stepping Stones Network Residential Program
We provide holistic, structured residential programming for trafficked mothers and their prepubescent children, while also preventing these children from being exploited or sold. Our 12-18 month program, staffed 24x7, provides safety, community, beauty and basic needs. To help survivors achieve sustainable life change, we employ strength-based and trauma-informed approaches in the context of licensed therapeutic services, life and parenting skills, health coaching, education and vocational planning, and supportive relationship building. Child-care and therapeutic options are provided for children during the day, while their mothers set goals, develop practical plans and skills, and establish social and professional networks to rebuild their lives. Residence is at a confidential location in Lake County, IL.

Most residential recovery programs do not allow survivors to bring their children. We are only the second in the US to offer this option.

Thank You to the churches who helped lay the foundation.
Christ Church - Lake Forest & Crossroads
Willow Creek North Shore
Alpine Chapel
The Chapel
Journey Church - Beach Park
Gurnee Community Church
Christian Neighbors Church
Cornerstone Community Church
Fierce Church
Trinity Community Church
Lakeview Presbyterian
United Methodist Women of Libertyville
Waukegan Bible Baptist Church

Our Mission

Our mission is to educate and engage the community to prevent domestic (US-based) commercial sexual exploitation and to provide comprehensive, restorative care to survivors. Our vision is to create an engaged and compassionate community where sexual exploitation is not tolerated, human rights and dignity are valued, and the lives of both victims and perpetrators are being restored through God-centered relationships.


This project is supporting

Human Rights

67 days left

$40,972 out of $100,000
Complete