Each year, 300,000 Americans are lured into sex trafficking. Casey Coleman was almost one of those girls. Today, she’s a counseling student at Asbury Seminary and plans to work with women in crisis and recovery centers to teach them to live loved.
“My heart for people, specifically women, is for them to develop a holistic view of love and a good theology of sex,” she said. “I want to help them understand how loved they are by their creator and experience what it looks like to live loved.”
Until the ninth grade, Casey lived to make others laugh. She didn’t care what it took. When she turned 14, guys started noticing her for the first time. She started seeing herself through their eyes. Her first dating relationship as a sophomore twisted her view of love to lust.
“It was the first guy who ever wanted me,” Casey said. “I just threw myself into this relationship.”
After breaking up, Casey dated her best friend. In her mind, he was Mr. Right, the one she’d waited for years to meet. His rejection left her searching for acceptance, self-worth and affirmation. Her high school boyfriend offered all three, but the price was higher than she realized.
“I was his personal porn site,” she said. “That was how I felt secure and wanted.”
Casey started looking up strip clubs. She reasoned that if she could make money doing what she did for free, why not? She never worked in a strip club and credits God’s prevenient grace.
“With the decisions that were in front of me, with the age I was and the culture I grew up in, I could have picked up the phone and life could look completely different,” she said.
Through her own experience, Casey learned that sex trafficking is not just for those with a low socio-economic status. According to Polaris, a leader in the fight to end modern day slavery, 20.9 million people are victims of human trafficking. Since 2007, the National Human Trafficking Hotline operated by Polaris, received more than 22,000 reports of sex trafficking incidents.
“It could have been anyone, and it could have been me,” she said.
In college, Casey worked for BreakAway Ministries. There, she encountered the joy, peace and love of Jesus through relationship. Because God changed her life, she now wants to help other women experience life and hope.
“I want to help Jesus in the ministry in the healing of their hearts,” she said.
During her time at Asbury Seminary, Casey interned at a safe house in Houston, working with female survivors of trafficking called Sparrows. When her internship was complete, the Sparrows pooled their money and bought a cake. One Sparrow stood and looked at Casey.
“With tears running down her face, she thanked me for living life alongside her,” Casey said. “She was just so thankful that I was there and was present.”
At that moment, Casey realized God was calling her to this type of work, even though she didn’t feel equipped. She decided to pursue a M.A. in Mental Health Counseling and expects to graduate in 2018. She hopes to counsel and continue to earn the certificates needed to aid in the recovery of trafficked victims.
Prepare for the Call
Learn more about how Asbury Seminary can help prepare you for your call. Fill out the form below to get started!