Community Members From Across The U.S. Gather, Tune Into Live Telecast, To Pray For Victims Of Labor And Sex Trafficking

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Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice Holds Annual Pray for Freedom Event To Pray For The Over 21 Million People Living In Slavery Today

Hold the image of a daughter in your mind. Now picture a father standing next to her,” prayed Major Danielle Strickland of The Salvation Army. “We are sorry for what that image gives so many of us,” her prayer continued for fathers and daughters.

For nearly two hours, a crowd of men and women from across the nation gathered in the dimly lit sanctuary of Newport Mesa Church in Costa Mesa for the annual Pray for Freedom event. The gathering, held Saturday, January 23, was hosted by Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice and Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking.

The audience was quiet and introspective, but the reason they gathered was commanding. This 2-hour prayer vigil for freedom and justice opened with music from a student worship band called “From the Vine Music.” The band, from Vanguard University, released their first album in May 2015, and topped the iTunes Christian/Gospel charts in its first weekend.

Following a powerful worship set, the prayer leaders to take the platform began with Hyepin Im, President, Founder and CEO at Korean Churches for Community Development. Prayers for children, daughters, world leaders, the church, and other groups affected by modern day slavery followed—given by trailblazers in abolishing human trafficking. Mark Kadel, director of World Relief, Spokane; Beth Luthye, from Nazarene Compassionate Ministries; and Brittany Galloway, spoken word artist. Author of Refuse to Do Nothing: Finding Your Power to Abolish Modern Day Slavery, director of the SOCO Institute, and founder of the San Clemente Abolitionists, Kim Yim, prayed for immigrants and refugees.

With over 21 million people living in slavery, Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWJ) works diligently in their efforts to end human trafficking and the cyber-exploitation of women and children in Orange County and worldwide. California has the highest number of human trafficking cases reported in the U.S., and harbors three of the FBI’s 13 highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation: Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego.

“Hold the image of a daughter in your mind. Now picture a father standing next to her,” prayed Major Danielle Strickland of The Salvation Army. “We are sorry for what that image gives so many of us,” her prayer continued for fathers and daughters.

Priscilla Martinez, Hillary DeJarnett, and Captain Valerie Carr from The Salvation Army also took the platform to offer prayers for freedom and the oppressed. Local leaders offered meditations, including Orange County deputy district attorney, Bryan Clavecilla; Ben Zobrist, director of Adoration 1:11 at Pasadena International House of Prayer; Mandy Porter, Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAAST); David and Beth Grant, co-founders and directors of Project Rescue; and students from Vanguard’s Live2Free student awareness group on modern day slavery.

Jason Pope, technical advisor for The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO) closed the prayer and meditation portion of the program by thanking Dr. Sandra Morgan, director of Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWJ). Board member of GCWJ, Cheryl Pittluck, then called the audience to action by presenting tangible opportunities to volunteer with the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force.

“This event will motivate action, inspire thoughts, and offer ways to help,” said Pope, of Saturday’s event.

Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice will also host the upcoming Ensure Justice Conference, March 4-5, 2016, an annual event to educate the public about human trafficking prevention and aftercare.

About Vanguard University
Vanguard University (VU) is a regionally ranked, private, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies. Located ten minutes from Newport Beach and an hour from Los Angeles, Vanguard equips students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service. Vanguard is committed to academic excellence, boasting small class sizes that are designed to cultivate lasting professor-mentor relationships that enhance the learning process. The 2016 U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanguard #13 in the Regional Colleges (West) category, #10 for Best Colleges for Veterans, and #19 for economic diversity. The Princeton Review ranked Vanguard a 2016 "Best in the West" regional college. Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission, Vanguard offers more than 30 degrees and certificates through its undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies programs. Please visit http://www.vanguard.edu

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Holly Clinard, PR & Media Specialist
Vanguard University of Southern California
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