EBF Anti-Trafficking Working Group Visit to Romania

EBF Anti-Trafficking Working Group Visit to Romania

Natasha Schoultz, Member of the EBF Anti-Trafficking Working Group - May 27, 2018

The EBF anti-trafficking working group met from April 2nd-6th, in Bucharest, Romania. We were very thankful to Oti Bunaciu and Cristina Bucur for arranging the visit for us, and showing our working group such wonderful kindness and hospitality.

One of the goals of our visit was to connect with local pastors and seminarians in order to share about ways that local Baptist churches in Romania, as well as theological schools, may become further involved in the topic of anti-trafficking. We recognize that in order to overcome this injustice it is necessary for the local church to be a welcoming community for those coming out of prostitution.

Romania, as one of the main source countries in Europe of women being trafficked, plays a key role in welcoming back survivors of “The Life” as it is called by those who are being prostituted. As field workers, we meet Romanians in the brothels and on the streets of various European countries, and are actively engaged in helping them to pursue a new life in Christ. However, when they return home to Romania, it is the local church which plays such a key and necessary role in the healing process. We were very inspired to see around 20 local pastors and others join us at the Baptist seminary in Bucharest, to converse around this topic.

One of the exciting projects that we visited, which highlights the way that local churches can become actively involved in anti-trafficking prevention efforts, is called “Project Ruth”. Mihai Ciopasiu the director of this project drove us around the low income, predominantly Roma, neighbourhood where the project is located in and explained to us how the school run by Project Ruth takes in some of the most marginalized children in Bucharest, who suffer extreme poverty and therefore vulnerability to being trafficked, and not only feeds and educates them, but also imparts Christian values and the love of Jesus. This project, very deeply connected to the local church, is making a profound impact in helping keep children out of prostitution through opening up alternative possibilities for them, through education. As we walked around the school grounds of Project Ruth, we saw many smiling and energetic children happily playing a game with a group of American youth who had come to serve the children that week! The children looked so happy and carefree, a world apart from the surroundings and homes they come from. At Project Ruth we saw the power of the love of Jesus, which transforms lives and brings true hope.

It is very encouraging to know that many Baptist theological students and pastors are beginning to think more deeply into the message of the Gospel which compels us to not only bring the message of Christ, but to also live out the life of Christ, through caring for the poorest of the poor. Talking with Mihai Ciopasiu he enthusiastically told us, “Remember the story of Jesus and the lepers in Luke 17: 11-19… Jesus healed them, and only one came back to hear the gospel message! For Jesus, He did a social act to improve their lives, and after that shared the gospel with one of the lepers who was open to hear it.”

What a beautiful picture of the Kingdom of God, and the possibilities that caring for those who have been trafficked, or who are vulnerable to being trafficked, holds for the Romanian church. There is so much possibility, and we were so encouraged as a group to see Romanian Christians and others taking strides in this direction. All glory be to God!


We are passionate about mobilizing Baptists to walk into the darkest corners of our world with the light of Jesus’ love. Our emphasis in the next three years is to promote anti-human trafficking activities as widely as possible within local Baptist conferences, councils, meetings and seminars. We would also like to encourage the various groups of pastors, women’s and youth departments within the EBF to use the EBF Anti-Trafficking Working Group as a resource for presentations, discussions and theological reflection. Contact us! We can provide speakers, material resources, expertise and consultation in this field for mobilizing your church communities.

  Photos: Lauran Bethell