Country music star, TV personality and Army veteran Craig Morgan is now lending his voice to the anti-trafficking nonprofit Exodus Road — because as a man of faith, he wants to use all of his life experience to do good in the world.
Exodus Road trains operatives to facilitate rescue missions for survivors of human trafficking by using "advanced technology to locate survivors and gather evidence for successful raids and arrests, impacting the larger systems of slavery," according to its website.
Due to his years of military experience, Morgan believes he's well-matched with the nonprofit.
"I was in the military for about 17 years and done a lot of things, so I had a particular skill set that I felt like I could offer my assistance to the organization, and I did,” Morgan shared in an interview with The Christian Post.
“In the process of doing that, I felt so strongly about what they were doing that I decided to get on their board and help promote the organization and try to assist in fundraising because this cost a lot of money to do this.”
Morgan was particularly intrigued by the organization’s mission to follow through with victims once rescued.
"The one thing that I loved about Exodus Road, and I think what drew me to them most, was the follow on,” he posited. “I've worked with other organizations in the past where we literally go in, snatch and grab and remove the victim, and then turn the victim over to either the government, or a church, or someone like that. That's not a bad thing, it's good that they're doing that. But with Exodus Road, when we start an operation, we're not just thinking about the individual and getting them out. We're thinking about where they're going to go, what they're going to do, how we're going to assist them in their life in the future.”
Many victims of human trafficking return to their captors if not assisted once taken out of compromising situations. Morgan praised Exodus Road for how they help victims develop skills to help them with everyday life.
"Exodus Road doesn't just focus on removing that individual and arresting the individual perpetrator, our emphasis is placed on the main players, the individuals that are responsible for that trafficking,” he said.
The organization's strategy, the musician said, is to dismantle sex-trafficking rings from the top down.
"We found around the world that in areas where [Exodus Road] had a huge impact, there's less and less of the ‘joes,’ per se. So in life in general, I think when you remove the temptation, it helps everybody,” the Tennessee native contended.
According to statistics from Traffick Watch, sex trafficking affects individuals of every age,
ethnicity and socio-economic background. At any given time in 2016, an estimated 40.3 million people are in modern-day slavery.
The work of Exodus Road has led to over 1,500 rescues and more than 800 arrests to date. They have over 70 operatives working in six countries combating human trafficking through “prevention, intervention and aftercare."
The "International Harvester" singer called this work "a very ugly thing," adding: “You have to really be strong in faith, in your relationships, otherwise you could find yourself being compromised."
"Think about where Jesus went," he added. "I'm not comparing myself or anyone else that works for Exodus Road to Jesus, by no means, my Lord and Savior is the King. But Jesus went to those ugly places. He went there. I feel like if we're going to help people, that's where we have to go."
In 2018, President Donald Trump signed a bill into law that expands the fight against human sex trafficking, known as the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. Since then, however, Morgan said the conversation has died down.
"I felt like about three or four years ago, we were on a path in this nation to fight this on a level that hasn't been seen since the inception of this country," Morgan noted. "We were really on a path, and I feel like we kind of got away from it again. So that's why it's important that everyone that has the opportunity to talk about it, raise awareness. There's some bad players out there in the world that we need to ensure that we alleviate their ability to do what it is they're doing to other people.”
In 2017, Morgan visited Thailand with Exodus Road. While undercover with the organization, he met with a group of South African women that were told they were going to be going to Thailand to work. They were offered jobs, shown beautiful videos of the hotels and told they’d be making good money.
"They got there, there were no hotels, none of that stuff,” Morgan recounted. “They took all their passports and told them they had to pay them this much money before they got their passports back. The only way they could do that was through prostitution.”
According to a 2002 report from the International Labor Organization, more than 1 million children alone are trafficked each year, with most of the planning happening online and the dark corners of the internet.
Exodus Road’s Operation SCOPE mission has provided police with evidence of traffickers exploiting children by using “pornographic photos of victims as a means of control, threatening to shame them by exposing the photos to their families.” The photos are then sold to porn sites while also being used to exploit the victims who are also coerced into prostitution.
As a man of faith, Morgan encouraged Christians to get involved in this fight rather than turn a blind eye.
"I don't believe that you can work your way to Heaven. I do believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross and was resurrected and ascended to Heaven, and for that, I receive salvation if I accept it. But I do believe that accepting that salvation in and of itself is not enough," Morgan explained.
He stressed that Christians should follow Jesus' example.
“You can't just say, 'I do accept you, Jesus Christ,' and then not do anything else," he said. "I'm not saying that I do these things to try to work my way into Heaven. … I want to get to Heaven quickly as I can. When I get there and St. Michael or St. Joseph meets me at the gates, I don't want them to say, ‘This is all the things that we wanted you to do that you could have been doing for God. Here's all the people that would have been saved, had you done what God asked you to do,' and me not have done it."
"So I try to do everything that I can when I feel led, when I feel the Holy Spirit, or when I feel that is something that Christ wants me to do," Morgan concluded. "I try to do as much of that stuff as I can. It's just that simple."
Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic