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Get Equipped To Win the Battle
We believe we can win the battle against human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. It’s a bold statement. Some may think it's absurdly unrealistic, but is it really so hard to believe?
As the modern abolition movement has gained incredible momentum over the past decade, abolitionists have come face to face with the striking enormity of this injustice. Rather than becoming discouraged in a spirit of defeatism, we must regather and recast a vision for victory.
We’ve invited an audacious collection of revolutionary leaders in the abolition movement who are ready to share their stories of breakthrough and strategies for victory. Come join a thousand passionate abolitionists as we encounter the Lord’s heart for justice and gain practical equipping to win the battle against commercial sexual exploitation.
The Man Who Inspires Us
As many modern-day abolitionists well know, when William Wilberforce led the charge in eradicating Britain’s slave trade he faced a formidable foe. He was scoffed at by his fellow members of Parliament and faced the overwhelming odds of fighting an injustice that was deeply embedded in the culture and economy of his time.
But year after year, even in the face of his failing health, he pressed on and shook off the despair of continual defeat that tried to choke out his resolve. After decades of perseverance, he finally won this historic victory through the passing of the Slave Trade Act of 1807 and the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833— first dismantling Britain’s slave trade, and ultimately abolishing slavery across most of the British empire.
We are blessed to stand on this side of history, to look back at the way one man of faith—together with an army of abolitionists behind him—changed the world. Like Wilberforce, we too face overwhelming odds. Human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation are embedded in the culture and economy of our time. But we, along with abolitionists like you, dare to believe that victory is once again possible.
Join us at Abolition Summit 2016 and get practical equipping for the fight as we recast a vision for victory.
What is Commercial Sexual Exploitation
Commercial sexual exploitation is, in many ways, synonymous with sex trafficking. It encompasses all forms of sexual exploitation for profit, including escort, street, and brothel prostitution, as well as pornography and stripping.
Main Session Speakers
Hear from these revolutionary leaders on winning the battle
Westside Family Church - Lenexa
8500 Woodsonia Dr.
Lenexa, KS 66227
What attendees have said
- “It was such a huge blessing to be able to meet with other organizations, to hear from incredible speakers, and to be trained up in the current goings-on of anti-trafficking movements all around the world.” Ryan S.
- “God used the summit to bring many puzzle pieces together, to more clearly direct me in the path He has chosen for me.” Deanna H.
- “I have been sharing Christina Rangel's testimony almost every day since the conference, and so many people are taking a stand against human trafficking in my community! The fire is spreading!” Andrea B.
- “Moving and motivating speakers, great community, sense of hope, breakout sessions that offered practical tools.” Lori H.
- “Abolition Summit radically changed my heart. Each speaker was phenomenal and I connected with each of their stories on a personal note. It was amazing to see hundreds of abolitionists, wanting the same thing, come together.” Liz S.
- “It was the best conference I have ever attended.” James S.
Registration is closed
- Only 25 slots available
- Priority seating
- Meet & greet dinner with Benjamin Nolot and other speakers
- New Exodus Cry shirt
- Digital download of complete audio set of Abolition Summit 2015
- 5 or more people
- Save $15 per person with Group registration.
- Host your organization's booth in our exhibitor space just outside the main sessions hall. Includes a 6-foot table, two chairs, and two complimentary full event registrations.
- 12:00pm — Registration opens
- 2:00pm — Session 1 Speaker: Laila Mickelwait Worship: Lauren Holmes
- 5:00pm — Dinner break (Prayer and worship room open)
- 7:00pm — Session 2 Speaker: Naomi Zacharias Worship: Misty Edwards
- 9:00am — Session 3 Speaker: Rebecca Bender Worship: Jonas Park
- 2:00pm — Breakout Sessions Breakout Sessions schedule coming soon.
- 4:00pm — Networking time
- 5:00pm — Dinner break (Prayer and worship room open)
- 7:00pm — Session 4 Speaker: Dan Allender Worship: Laura Hackett-Park
- 9:00am — Session 5 Speaker: Gene McConnell Worship: Brenton Dowdy
- 2:00pm — Breakout Sessions Breakout Sessions schedule coming soon.
- 4:00pm — Exodus Cry Info Meeting
- 5:00pm — Dinner break (Prayer and worship room open)
- 7:00pm — Session 6 Speaker: Benjamin Nolot Worship: Jon Thurlow
All main and breakout sessions will take place at Westside Family Church in Lenexa, KSRegister
Benjamin Nolot is the founder and CEO of Exodus Cry, an international anti-trafficking organization that works in the areas of prevention, intervention, and restoration. Benjamin has a passion for storytelling and was the director/producer/writer of the award-winning documentary, Nefarious: Merchant of Souls. Since the release of the film, Benjamin and the film have been highlighted by the 700 Club, Movie Guide, Relevant, Christianity Today, Variance, Charisma News, Prism, Christian Film Database, and more. Benjamin’s desire in life is to love God and to see God’s creation set free from the tyranny of oppression. He resides in Kansas City with his wife, Lauren, and their three children.
MAIN SESSION: A Call to Abolition
In this session Benjamin Nolot provides a framework for how to understand the global commercial sex industry and bring about its abolition.
Naomi Zacharias is the director of Wellspring International, a humanitarian arm of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. This initiative is devoted to providing financial grants to international efforts working with at-risk women and children. In this capacity, she has visited with women in vulnerable situations all over the world, including red-light districts in The Netherlands, India, and Thailand; shelters for victims of domestic violence in Asia and Europe; displacement camps in Indonesia, Uganda, and Pakistan; and areas of the Middle East offering aid to Iraqi refugees. She contributed a chapter on women and education in Zealous Love: A Practical Guide to Social Justice (published by Zondervan in 2004) alongside advocates and leaders like Dave Batstone (Not for Sale), Scott Todd (Compassion International), and Sean Litton (International Justice Mission). Zondervan released her book, The Scent of Water: Grace for Every Kind of Broken in March 2011. Her favorite part of life is her husband, Drew, who makes her ever thankful and always longing for tomorrow.
MAIN SESSION: What Does It Mean To Be Human?
For my talk, I want to take the opportunity to unpack the messages of what it means to be human: What does Pornography say it means to be human? What does Human Trafficking say it means to be human? What does the utilitarian worldview say it means to be human? And finally, what does the Christian worldview say it means to be human? The issue – the devastation – of pornography is complex and real. Yet this is no place for judgement or shame. This isn’t “his” problem or “her” problem – this is our problem, collectively. The global tragedy of sex slavery is impacting virtually every country, in ways insidious and obvious, and these worlds are intricately intertwined. As we explore how these various world views answer the question of what it means to be human, we can gain a clearer vision of the purpose, the richness, and the freedom we were intended to know in this life, as well as a better understanding of the One who created us with an identity far beyond our life experience.
Gene McConnell is the founder and president of Authentic Relationships International, a non-profit organization dedicated to liberating people from toxic influences and beliefs. For over 31 years, he has trained therapists, pastors, law enforcement, medical professionals, and others about domestic violence, sexual abuse, shame, and building and maintaining healthy relationships. Gene’s real life experience of brokenness and recovery has positioned him to develop highly successful programs that have helped hundreds face and overcome sexual addiction and relational brokenness. His program, The Power of Pornography, has been presented to over 80,000 college students across the country. As a sought-after speaker and program leader, Gene has been interviewed as a subject expert on several nationally televised talks shows like Montel Williams and others. His work has helped many men and women to escape the sex industry.
MAIN SESSION: Driven By the Consumption of Women
The culture of pornography stems from a complex belief system that conveys the objectification of and violence towards women and children is acceptable. Until we identify and confront the core issues that create and perpetuate this culture, we will continue the downward spiral that portrays women as sub-human objects. Through Gene’s personal story, this session will unveil the culture of objectification, how it distorts views of intimacy and diminishes respect for women in this "sex for sale" world.
BREAKOUT SESSION: How to Stop Men from Engaging in the Sex Industry
The culture of pornography and objectification is everywhere, influencing our lives and the lives of our children. This visual bombardment has anesthetized humanity, perpetuating the acceptance of disrespect and dehumanization of women, men, and children. How does this culture of objectification escalate the problem of sex trafficking and what does real change look like? Join recovering addict, Gene McConnell, as he shares his own struggle with the consumption of women in the sex industry; the rises and falls of his recovery; and his journey toward genuine change.
Rebecca Bender founded Rebecca Bender Ministries (RBM) after escaping a life of sex trafficking in the United States. She is a nationally recognized expert on the issue of domestic sex trafficking. Seeking to raise awareness about trafficking misperceptions in America, Rebecca has consulted former President Jimmy Carter, Homeland Security, the National Director of FBI Conference, Shared Hope International, and more. She is the author of Roadmap to Redemption, a faith-based workbook for survivors and advocates. She currently mentors survivors across the world through innovative online services and engages many more through her trainings, books, consulting, and speaking.
MAIN SESSION: Journey Through Exodus
What happens when the Children of Israel finally escape Egypt's clutches is nothing short of a miracle. God's provision and protection should build their faith, but instead their slave mentalities kept them from reaching their promised land. Assisting victims of modern day slavery is no different. Rebecca Bender knows first-hand what that journey towards freedom and normalcy looks like, both in her own life and the hundreds of survivors she has helped find passion and purpose. Be prepared to dive deep into His word and leave better equipped to fight this crusade.
BREAKOUT SESSION: Finding Your Lane
The anti-trafficking movement is like a multi-lane freeway with many ways to combat modern day slavery. If not careful, we can try too many lanes and end up driving our cars all over the place, unintentionally hurting ourselves and others. Learn from leading expert, Rebecca Bender, the many ways to engage in the largest social justice issue of our times. Unearth tips on collaboration and how to give the right of way to one another. Discover areas you never thought of and how to build upon programs you already have! This is a must for advocates just starting to identify and explore their place in the anti-trafficking movement.
Dr. Dan Allender
Dr. Dan B. Allender has pioneered a unique and innovative approach to trauma and abuse therapy over the past 30 years. Having received his Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary, Dr. Allender went on to earn his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. Dan with a cadre of others founded The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology—where he later served as President—in order to train therapists and pastors to more effectively serve in the context of the 21st century. Dan travels and speaks extensively to present his unique perspective on sexual abuse recovery, love & forgiveness, worship, and other related topics. Dan is the author of The Wounded Heart and The Healing Path, and has co-authored several books with Dr. Tremper Longman (Intimate Allies, The Cry of the Soul, Bold Love, and Bold Purpose).
MAIN SESSION: Here We Go
Trauma steals from the heart the hope of restoration and joy. Simone Weil has said that only two things pierce the heart: affliction and beauty. Our labor with those who have been sexually violated must be the invitation for our wounds to be embraced as beautiful.
Don & Bridget Brewster
Don and Bridget Brewster are the founders of Agape International Missions (AIM), based in Cambodia. Their response to child sex trafficking in the village of Svay Pak, Cambodia, led to the building of a Restoration Home for rescued girls as young as 4 years old. Their work has grown to impact over 10,000 Cambodians annually, and Don is now considered an expert on the issue of sex trafficking. Both he and Bridget have been featured in the documentaries The CNN Freedom Project, “Every Day in Cambodia,” The Pink Room, Not My Life, and Exodus Cry’s documentary Nefarious. Don currently serves as AIM’s CEO alongside Bridget who works as AIM’s Director of Staff Care. They reside in Cambodia and visit their four children and twelve grandchildren throughout the United States.
BREAKOUT SESSION: Making a Global Impact Without Leaving Home
Evil is evolving. What can we do now to fight injustice? Get fresh-from-the-field updates on the war on human trafficking and learn to distinguish God’s command, call and compassion regarding the oppressed.
Andrew Comiskey (M.Div.) has worked extensively with the healing of the sexually and relationally broken. He is founder and Director of Desert Stream/Living Waters Ministries, a multifaceted outreach to the broken. Andrew’s ministry grows both out of his own commitment to overcome homosexuality and his experience as a husband to Annette and father of four children. He is author of Pursuing Sexual Wholeness (Creation House), Strength in Weakness (InterVarsity Press), Naked Surrender: Coming Home To Our True Sexuality (InterVarsity Press) and the Living Waters healing program. Andrew seeks to equip the global church to be whole and holy, a bride ready to receive Jesus.
BREAKOUT SESSION: Undivided Men
This workshop will address how readily we as men become divided by a host of sin and wounds. Disempowered, our sexuality can become a false means of securing power and significance. This workshop will highlight the wholeness Jesus wants for us and how to resume the road to an undivided life. If we let Him, He will transform our power into a gift, not a threat, to others.
Kim Biddle is the Founder and Executive Director of Saving Innocence, an organization committed to ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children. She helped found the Saddleback Justice Task Force, which focuses on aftercare resource development for caretakers of survivors in Third World countries, and has launched programs to advocate for at-risk youth and survivors of human trafficking in multiple countries. Kim works with local judges, police detectives, and social workers to create new policies that ensure survivors receive proper advocacy from rescue to rehabilitation. A lead expert and sought after speaker, Kim has trained hundreds of community leaders, spoken at major universities, and presented at national conferences on human trafficking and at-risk youth. With a Masters in Social Work from the University of Southern California and a Masters in Global Health certification from the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma, Kim has earned special certifications to work with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking.
BREAKOUT SESSION: Saving Innocence: The working L.A. model that is rescuing children, changing systems, and teaching us all about love
Helena Evans is an outspoken abolitionist and survivor of sexual exploitation. Having been prostituted from age 13 to age 40, her powerful story of restoration and transformation is prominently featured in Exodus Cry’s documentary Nefarious: Merchant of Souls. Helena offers a thorough perspective on the harsh realities of the sex industry, as well as the hope that is available to those who've been caught in it. She currently oversees outreach services to victims of sexual exploitation in England.
Laila Mickelwait is the Director of Abolition for Exodus Cry and the President and Founder of New Reality International. Laila has spent time working with the United Nations in Geneva and the World Federation of United Nations Associations Millennium Project. During her time with the Millennium Project she participated in research and writing for the annual "State of the Future" report addressing the 15 global challenges, which was featured in TIME magazine and endorsed by UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon. After receiving her Master of Public Diplomacy, in 2006 Laila founded New Reality International (NRI), a non-profit global aid and development organization focusing on the plight of orphaned and trafficked children. Laila subsequently joined Exodus Cry where she has presented and advocated for legislative reform at the United Nations, and to policymakers all over the world, concerning sex trafficking. Laila’s writing and speakinghave been published in outlets such as BBC News, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Charisma Magazine, and many others.
MAIN SESSION: The Abolition Battleground
"Abolition" is a very specific ideological, spiritual, and legal position a person takes. It has serious implications for language, life and the law. It also has a groundswell of global opposition. Come learn what it means to be an "abolitionist" today, and how to stand your ground in the midst of a heated and contentious international struggle.
Kezia Hatfield pioneered Exodus Cry’s Restoration Program and currently serves as its director. She oversees all facets of the program, which offers care for victims of sexual exploitation through trauma therapy, housing, social services, discipleship, and long-term support systems. Kezia received her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Azusa Pacific University in California. As a licensed clinical therapist, she utilizes a biblically-based treatment model of attachment theory and emotion-focused therapy for complex trauma. During years of overseas mission work and clinical education, the Lord established Kezia in a life of prayer, meditation on Scripture, and His passion for holistic restoration. She is compelled by the love of Jesus and acknowledges His supremacy over the healing process, recognizing that it is only through Him that a person is raised back to life.
Helen Taylor is the Intervention Coordinator and the Executive Assistant to Benjamin Nolot at Exodus Cry. Helen has helped Exodus Cry pioneer an online outreach model and recently co-authored an intervention training manual—which has been utilized both domestically and internationally—on reaching those caught in commercial sexual exploitation. In 2014, Helen helped lead Exodus Cry’s Liberdade initiative in Brazil, through which houses of prayer were established and outreach went forth in the 12 World Cup host cities. She helped train and mobilize 1500 Brazilian abolitionists from 500 local churches in prayer and outreach to the sexually exploited.
BREAKOUT SESSION: Core Values and Practical Tools of Outreach, Intervention, and Self Care
Are you an outreach worker or have a passion to reach exploited women in your city but feel unsure where to start? This breakout lays out the core values of outreach and intervention and provides the practical tools to start outreach (in strip clubs, jails, streets or online venues). It also unpacks the importance of self-care for those in the field and how we can sustain this often challenging work over the years without burning out. Gift bags provided for the first 30 attendees.
When Jon was seventeen he felt a calling to use music to draw people’s hearts into the Lord’s presence, which he believes is the essential purpose of music. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in sacred music from Nyack College, Jon came to the International House of Prayer (IHOPKC) in 2004 to attend a three-month NightWatch internship. Here he spent time in a prayer room from midnight to 6:00am each night. After this internship he joined IHOPKC staff, and has served faithfully as a worship leader for many years, leading a team of singers and musicians in six two-hour sets per week. He has since released or been featured on 18 albums. Jon and his wife, Kinsey, are thankful to be a part of the movement of worship and prayer that is spreading across the earth. With anticipation they look to the day when every knee will bow before Jesus and every mouth will confess Him as Lord.
Lauren Holmes serves as a staff member at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. In August of 2012 she left her home in Phoenix, Arizona to join the 24/7 prayer movement in IHOPKC, and the vision of prayer unto the release of God’s purposes on the Earth. She is a full time singer and worship leader in the house of prayer, and also works at IHOPU coaching student worship teams. Lauren is passionate about worship and songwriting, and her greatest desire is to magnify the great worth of Jesus, and draw others through music into doing the same.
Jonas Park has been a worship leader and songwriter at the International House of Prayer since 2008. His popular single, “Coming Home” was featured on Hold On, an album inspired by the documentary on global sex trade, Nefarious. Jonas has most recently partnered with fellow musician David Bollmann on their debut EP, Forward, released in 2014. Jonas and his wife, Laura Hackett Park, live in Kansas City, Missouri.
Originally from Texas, Brenton has been leading worship since 2000. Throughout his years of ministry, Brenton felt the Lord awaken a hunger for night-and-day prayer and worship through a series of spiritual encounters. In 2014, Brenton and his wife, Cara, came to Kansas City with their two children, where he now leads a worship team. Brenton and Cara are currently serving on staff at IHOPKC, where they are empowered to walk out their God-given passions for night-and-day prayer, songwriting, and serving the nations.
Misty Edwards has been a worship leader and songwriter at the International House of Prayer (IHOPKC) since its inception in September 1999. She currently serves on the leadership team at IHOPKC.
She has been actively writing songs since she was a teenager and continues to grow in this art while encouraging others to do the same. “I write songs by looking right at Jesus from my heart and actually singing to Jesus as a real person who is listening and moving to the sound of my voice,” she says. Through worship leading at conferences and her faithful years of leadership in IHOPKC’s 24/7 prayer room, which is streamed live around the world, Misty’s music has impacted thousands. She desires for believers to experience an intimate relationship with Jesus. “I pray that the songs I write would bring people not only into an intellectual understanding, but a true heart connect with God.”
Laura Hackett Park
Singer and songwriter, Laura Hackett Park, has been making music her entire life. She studied music theory in college and now works as a full time worship leader at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, Missouri. She is known for her prolific songwriting and popular tracks such as “You Satisfy My Soul” and “I Put On Christ.” Her latest album Love Will Have Its Day was released October 2014 with the help of Grammy-Award-winning producer Brown Bannister.