Human Trafficking in Moldova: Q&A with Missionary Patrick Stitt

The Stitt Family

The Stitts (from left to right): Patrick, Kalyna, Finnian (2), Jack (3), and Levi (1)

I have the great privilege of knowing Patrick and Kalyna Stitt, who will be shipping out in June to be missionaries in Moldova. The Stitts will be working through the Home of Hope to curb human trafficking in the country and help bring spiritual and physical restoration to its many victims.

Human trafficking has been at the forefront of global discussion lately, and for good reason. Innocent women are being sold or duped into sexual slavery, and it is having a devastating impact on those involved. There are currently many high-profile efforts to eradicate the sex trade, but most have been highly ineffective and counterproductive. After all, sexual slavery is, in many ways, a cultural epidemic, and top-down organizations usually have a pretty difficult time influencing cultures for the better.

What I love about the Stitt family is how fully they embody the concept of Radical Individualism. Through their own pursuit of God, the Stitts have decided to leave the comforts of America and follow the voice of the Holy Spirit across the world. They are not dwelling in fear or cowering behind earthly securities, but are founding their family’s self-interest in what matters most to God. Such courage, faith, and determination is incredibly inspiring.

Patrick was kind enough to take some time to answer a few questions about their mission, as well as discuss the issue of human trafficking on a broader level. In addition to reading the following Q&A, you can find out more about the Stitts at their website by clicking here or you can donate money to their effort by clicking here or here. If you are interested in hearing Patrick and Kalyna give a more extended version of their testimony and ministry, you can listen to it on our church’s podcast.

Q: What initially sparked your desire to minister to victims of human trafficking?

Patrick: I suppose everyone is struck by the idea of slavery and oppression. In particular, I reflected on the suffering of the hopeless — those who are distraught but are without the means to ameliorate their situation. When I learned about the girls and women who are forced into the sex trade I realized that these poor souls were possibly the most forlorn on the earth. But as horrendous as their lot in life is, I realized I wasn’t the man with plan. What can I do? For many years I took the easy route of just feeling terrible about the suffering of others.

When I was in college God revealed to me that He was so able and even desperate to heal our deepest maladies, be they spiritual, emotional or physical. God showed me His broken heart for His daughters in bondage and and showed me that their full restoration and blessing was within His power and in the forefront of His desires. All He required to impel the Holy Spirit to the most needy was a willing conduit to share His message. Having experienced His love, forgiveness and redemption personally, I heeded God’s call to minister to His children.

Q: Why did you choose Moldova?

Patrick: Again I’m going to blame the Holy Spirit. When we were praying and asking the Lord where He wanted us to go He placed Moldova on our hearts. In relation to human trafficking, there are some striking reasons to go to Moldova. Moldova is what is known as a source country, which means that women are taken from Moldova and brought to another location.

Moldova is the poorest country in Europe, and because the people are so desperate to find work, many women and young girls fall prey to phony foreign job schemes. Slave traders take advantage of these women’s poverty and entice them to take bogus jobs in a foreign country. These vocations would give women guidance and optimism, often for the first time in their lives. But alas, the jobs are a front for despoiling these penurious girls into prostitution.

It is this deadly combination of poverty, ignorance and desperation that allows these vicious schemes to become so prominent in Moldova. Because of the predominance of this problem in this particular part of the world, Moldova is a country in need.

Q: Why did you choose to work through the Home of Hope? Why not just go through a secular organization?

Patrick: One can never contemplate the horrors that victims of human trafficking are subjected to. The physical and emotional terror creates injuries that are not immediately curable or repressible. In relation to such heinous atrocities there are no secular responses. What human can even begin to remedy these most distressed of women?

It is my firm belief that only through the power of the Holy Spirit can these women experience true restoration. The Bible promises us this in II Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” It is that tangible promise that sets Christ-based ministries above secular ones.

The Home of Hope is a place where Christ’s healing power is sought every moment of everyday. The results speak for themselves. Many women who were despondent only months ago now have a joyful optimism that even their peers who have suffered less do not have. Through the power of Christ, they are breaking the bonds that have existed for generations. What secular organization can offer so much hope?

Q: Do you see this problem as solvable without the hope of Christ, or is the Gospel an essential component to achieving victory?

Patrick: As I said before, this problem cannot be subjugated without the Gospel message. In this increasingly secular world, people believe that they are an accidental material mass, that sex is removed from morality, and that sacredness is an outdated restraint. Compare this to the teaching that we are purposely made in the image of God and that He desires us to live in monogamous loving relationships. Infinitely more important is the fact that Christ can heal the women who have been so viciously assaulted. No matter how deep the wounds are the Holy Spirit restores even the most distraught hearts.

One area that we often don’t contemplate is the fact that even those who are enslaving or violating these women can also turn to God in repentance. The power of God can give people the strength they need to turn away from oppressing and violating young women. We need to pray for the women who have been enslaved but also for those who sin against them. Through the power of the Christian message the hurting can receive restoration and the repentance of the propagators can bring about the cessation of slavery once again.

Q: As far as other efforts to extinguish human trafficking, what obstacles do you see on the global front? Are most people taking the proper approach, or do you see a lot of ineffectiveness?

Patrick: Anti-trafficking is such a hot topic right now. There are a lot of people out there talking, talking, talking and doing nothing. There are a lot of people out there raising money for projects and the money is not going to what they are saying it is going for. So many people want to talk about it. Few people want to get involved in the issue by working with the women who are affected. Hence, practical ministry is hampered by fundraisers with large advertising budgets.

There is also a moral curve. To truly fight human trafficking one has to embrace the worldview that certain behaviors are evil. Victims of human trafficking are usually forced into prostitution, pornography and other immoral enterprises. As secular governmental approaches refuse to condemn such evil practices they grow increasingly acceptable around the world and the girls who end up on the doorstep of the Home of Hope are the natural byproduct of such a worldview.

Reports are now showing that brothels are being built to follow United Nations bases. There have even been cases of U.N. workers participating in trafficking by opening brothels. This may seem like hypocrisy, but unless you condemn the philosophy of treating women like animals, you naturally will lean toward that very action.

Unless we see all women as precious children of God and are willing to denunciate pornography, prostitution, and promiscuity human trafficking will continue to grow in acceptance and practice.

Q: You are leaving a stable job and a comfortable life in the United States for somewhat of a risky endeavor. Tell me a little bit about the decision-making process you and Kalyna went through. Were you ever tempted to change your minds and stay here instead? This is a pretty big sacrifice for you and your family.

Patrick: It hasn’t been a simple process. I imagine every father wants their children to have as much security and opportunity as possible. By moving to Moldova we’ll have to make some sacrifices. But what more can I say? The Lord called us to work in Moldova. The decision came down to this: Do I want my children to be raised in comfort or to be raised to follow the Lord? One thing life has taught me is that there is no greater place imaginable than to be walking in the will of the God.

A major element in going to the mission field is raising support. This hasn’t been the best economy to ask people to give away money and it’s taken a lot longer than it would have a few years ago. At times we went months without taking in any support. At times we considered our plans were erroneous and almost quit from discouragement. We desperately wanted to serve but here we were failing in our initial task of raising our budget. Eventually this turned around and due to the provision of God and the incredible generosity of our financial partners we made our budget.

Q: What is the best/easiest way for people to donate money to your mission?

Patrick: You can go to our website

There are several options on how to give on the web site. Thanks for considering.

Mission to MoldovaI’d like to thank Patrick for taking the time to offer his thoughts, and thank you all for reading. Remember that you can still donate money to their effort. Every little bit counts.

Click here to donate.

Click here to find out more about the Stitts.

Click here to hear more about their testimony and their journey to Moldova.

(Note: Mission Moldova graphic provided courtesy of Courtney Feia.)

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