Pray the Pain Away: Gov. Abbott's Office Asks for Prayers to End Human Trafficking

Better get to prayin'.
Better get to prayin'. Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash
Circle up, prayer warriors. The governor needs your help.

Earlier this week, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the agency that regulates the booze industry, announced that it’s joined forces with Gov. Greg Abbott to end human trafficking. While that may be a surprising pairing for some, it gets even stranger when you hear about one of the proposed tactics.

Up until this Sunday, the Governor’s Response Against Child Exploitation (GRACE) initiative is hosting the second-annual “Week of Prayer to End Human Trafficking.”

"The Week of Prayer to End Human Trafficking is an integral part of GRACE's efforts to bring hope and healing to survivors and prevent this horrific crime," Texas first lady Cecilia Abbott said in a statement. "I invite Texans of all faiths to join us in prayer and action so that we can put an end to human trafficking once and for all."

TABC possesses the “unparalleled ability” to root out illegal goings-on at clubs, bars, restaurants and other businesses, the agency reports. Since 2013, more than 130 establishments have lost their liquor permits over accusations they'd taken part in organized crime, including human or narcotic trafficking and money laundering.

Most GRACE initiative participants will probably direct their supplications to Jesus Christ, but Texans of all religious backgrounds are welcome to pray for the end of human trafficking. The governor’s website suggests a prayer intention for each day of the week, so for those who’d like to follow along, here’s what’s on the menu for this weekend.
• Friday, Jan. 14 - Pray for Texans to have the courage and skills to speak up and intervene when they see behavior that puts others at risk.
• Saturday, Jan. 15 - Pray for every child to have access to safe, supportive mentors and role models.
• Sunday, Jan. 16 - Pray for discernment on the actions you can personally take to prevent human trafficking.
The Saturday prayer is particularly noteworthy considering how Texas' foster care system was described just this week as "going from bad to worse" by the same federal judge who has twice held the state in contempt of court for violating orders to make it better.  Divine intervention might be the only hope those poor kids have left.

Of course, human trafficking also is a serious, complex problem in the Lone Star State and beyond. In 2019, Texas ranked No. 2 in the number of human trafficking cases, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. (Some might argue that there are more practical approaches than just phoning in a favor with the Big Guy in the Sky.)

Still, while Abbott's at it, we’d appreciate it if his office petitioned the Lord to end the pandemic, fix the power grid and implement world peace. Amen.
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter