When did slavery end in the United States of America? If you answered January 1, 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln issued an executive order freeing them, you would be wrong. Slavery still exists. It still thrives, even in Austin. Margo discovered this during her freshman year studying International Relations at St. Edwards University. One of her professors expressed a passion for stopping human trafficking in Texas, specifically in Austin. Then, Margo was asked to meet with women who were victims of human trafficking being bought and sold in the brothels.
“It just tugged at my heart. The way that I explain it is that it made me so angry I couldn’t ignore it,” Margo says. “I had to do something about it.” Margo responded to that heart-wrenching experience by joining Redeemed Ministries, a local outreach program that visits brothels to share the gospel and resources with the marginalized and voiceless.
“Through God, it’s just really opened up my heart and has broken my heart for these women,” Margo says. “It’s shown me a new way that God can show grace and how God can use me.”
Margo’s experience prompted her to visit these women in an effort to share God’s love. Her visits to the women in the brothels have not always been welcome. At times, she and her co-workers have been insulted and thrown out.
The key, however, was persistence. Through persistent visits, persistent care, and persistent love, God opened the hearts of these women. One woman Margo works with began asking questions about how to know Jesus better. But she confided in Margo, “I’m just really ashamed. I feel like I’ve made God sad.” Margo took this opportunity to show this woman she has a choice: Stay captive to the life and abuse she knows or trust in Christ to save her from her sins and start a new life in Him.
Now, Margo has decided to forsake her comfort, safety and family to travel to East Asia after graduation to help human trafficking victims regain their freedom and humanity. When women are rescued, they are sent home, but there is a lot of work to be done with the local government and consulate to obtain visas.
Margo’s parents are struggling to understand and accept her decision. A first generation American, Margo was raised Sikh–her parents are from Punjab, India.
“I think a big reason is my parents had a hard life in India,” Margo says of her parents’ hesitancy. “They moved here so that I could be comfortable and live a good life. So when I had this conversation with my mom, she just kept saying to me, ‘You need to be comfortable. You need to be safe. I want you to be comfortable.’ And those two words she would just say over and over,” Margo says. “It’s a big, scary place that they don’t know anything about, and their youngest daughter is moving there.”
But Margo’s parents see how serious she is about her work. Margo hopes that over time they will not only see her passion for this ministry, but more importantly, that she is giving her life to God and not to anyone or anything else.
“It’s been a really big struggle trying to talk calmly with them and explain it to them, hoping and praying that they’ll understand,” Margo says. “It’s just teaching me a lot about how to respect my parents and obey them, but also understand that Jesus says we must forsake our family. And so learning how to balance that out…has been a big struggle.”
Margo will be in East Asia for one year. After that, her plans are uncertain and she’s leaving them to God’s will. Margo feels her calling is to work with survivors of sexual abuse and trafficking. She hopes that by sharing God’s love with them, more will come to recognize the salvation Jesus provides.