NORTH WEBSTER — The issue of human trafficking has not been on most Americans’ radar for very long. It is seen in the media, from far away, mentally as well as physically.
But for Warsaw’s David Grant, national director of Destiny Rescue, that distance has been broken down by faith, and he has become a voice for the millions of children trapped in the world of sexual exploitation.
Grant is originally from near Pontiac, Mich. He came to Winona Lake to study music, theology and Biblical studies at Grace College, where he also met his wife, Marah, a Warsaw native.
After graduating, Grant served as a communications director at Winona Lake’s Christ Covenant Church. He then became director of worship, youth and creative ministries at North Webster United Methodist Church until 2012. Grant has also been a consultant for Creative Technology Solutions Inc. since 2009.
But it was during a breakout session at an event in Epworth Forest he attended with his wife Grant was introduced to Destiny Rescue. “She’s led me in a lot of areas related to women’s justice.” There he learned about people risking their lives, going into brothels to rescue children. “We had to be a part of it.”
It started with web design, helping with the sale of jewelry produced by rescuees. Then Grant travelled to Cambodia and Thailand on a “vision trip” for a closer look. There he saw the slum villages of Cambodia; one was located in a sewage run-off area, houses were built on stilts. “It breaks your heart to see that reality,” he said. At the same time he was introduced to the “beauty of the culture and the people.”
From there they toured the “KTV” bars, karaoke bars that serve as fronts for prostitution. In one city in Thailand, notorious for sex tourism, there are 20,000 brothels of all types catering to the thousands of foreigners who travel there from all over the world, fueling the exploitation.
“It just broke me,” admitted Grant, he prayed and struggled to keep his composure. When he returned to the U.S. he went to Destiny Rescue in North Webster and said, “Either you take me or I’m going to Thailand.” He transitioned out of the church and eventually into his current position as national director.
Destiny Rescue has blossomed. “We’ve seen good growth with our opportunity to set kids free,” Grant asserted.
Besides working to be a voice the kids, he also travels to Asia once a year where he has been involved with “soft rescues.” Men pose as customers and slowly over time hope to gain the trust of a sex worker outside of the brothel context. Eventually they are offered employment and a safe place to live. These men are “bait.” “You have to look like a devil to rescue an angel,” Grant explained. They have strict “hands-off” policies, keeping the girls safe for a while until they can escape. Afterward, the reintegration process takes up to three years for a 16 year old girl and includes vocational training.
Destiny Rescue has saved 1,494 kids during the last five years.
For more information, or to donate to Destiny Rescue, visit www.destinyrescue.org. According to Grant, “$12 is a day of employment for a girl in our program.”