RICHFIELD - Young women and little girls are being sold for the purpose of sex in countries around the world - including the United States.
A Snyder County woman is ministering to those forced into sex trafficking both abroad and at home.
Kristen Kreider of Middleburg is a missionary with Compassion First in Indonesia and will be a house mother/mentor for a new restoration home for sex trafficking victims here in the United States. The new home will be located at an undisclosed location in Juniata County.
Photo submitted by KRISTEN KREIDER
Kristen Kreider styles hair with young women in Indonesia.
A meeting about the restoration home possibilities will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in the fellowship hall of Richfield Mennonite Church. The meeting will feature Jeanne Allert, founder and executive director of Samaritan Women, which is the group leading the ministry of the home.
Kreider first became involved with the mission while staying in Indonesia in 2013. The 2011 Midd-West High School graduate said she felt "called by God" to serve in some capacity in Indonesia. In January of last year she made her way to the country and admittedly "wandered around blindly" for the first couple of months. Kreider had been to the country in 2010 to meet a child she had sponsored with Compassion International. She had kept contact with some of the translators from that trip, and one of them hosted Kreider at her home when she returned in 2013.
One Sunday last March Kreider said she was in church in Indonesia and was introduced to two Americans who were with a group known as Compassion First. The group's goal is "providing long-term, hope-filled solutions for victims of sex trafficking," according to its website. The couple asked Kreider what skills she had. Kreider noted she was a cosmetologist who had attended McCann School of Business and Technology in Sunbury.
It turned out the organization needed someone to train young women in that field for the sake of finding employment for them.
Kreider then began working with the young women - all under the age of 18 - who had been victimized by the sex trafficking industry.
The website humantrafficking.org explains that most girls sold into the industry are between the ages of 10 and 17. The number one cause of this forced labor is the lack of employment opportunities and poverty in Indonesia. Compassion First "seeks to always employ long-term strategies while engaging in transitional care for these victims," its website indicates.
Kreider worked with Compassion First until she returned home in May for a summer visit here in the United States. She returned again in September to Indonesia to work with the young women by directing and organizing activities for them.
She stayed until November. During this time, her relative, Penny Ehrenzeller of McAlisterville, felt called by God to help with a sex trafficking ministry. She had been praying about this for more than a year. Ehrenzeller and her husband Steve felt they would have the opportunity to do something locally and recruited the help of Kreider, who had already served in the mission field.
"During the past three months God has opened every door," Kreider said of the local effort.
Part of the Samaritan Women ministry is to open restoration homes safe havens for the young women.
Kreider, who will live in the home in Juniata County once it is established, said Saturday's meeting at RMC is meant to "bring awareness to the area of what is happening here in the United States.
"We want people to pray about how to be involved," she said.
More details will be given at the meeting as Allert leads the session and reveals what is needed to make such a home a reality.
An additional meeting pertaining to the ministry in Indonesia will be held 6 p.m. March 16, at Niemond's Independent Church in Richfield. Mike Mercer from Compassion First will give an overview of the ministry overseas.
Kreider, who is opening her own salon later this winter in Richfield, will return to Indonesia for a month in October to serve with Compassion International.