The opening scene of the play Apollonius of Tire quite shockingly depicts the rape of a daughter by her king father. The reader is horrified by the incestuous relationship until another father-daughter relationship is depicted.
The pair of protagonists portrays a loving father who protects his daughter at every turn, searching for her by sea and land.
Father and daughter are finally reunited only after she is kidnapped by pirates, sold to a pimp in the slave market, and forced to work in a brothel.
However, thanks to her own ingenuity, she saves herself from the sex trade and finds safety in the arms of her devoted father.
After it is revealed that she has been forced to work for a pimp in a brothel, her father kills the pimp and restores the freedom of the girls aged twelve and up, as well as the women, and gives them the means to recover and return home. .
The play Apollonius of Tire is based on an anonymous novel written in Latin about 1,500 years ago, a story that traveled through the ancient Mediterranean and made its way to England in William Shakespeare’s time.
The rescue of Apollonia’s daughter and the liberation of girls and women from human trafficking is a catharsis for all readers and modern activists.
Fast forward to 2022 and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow for his modern-day investigation.
According to the American Bar Association’s 2019 report, the number of people trapped in the vicious human trafficking industry has grown each year over the past decade.
An estimated 40 million people in the world today are bought and sold as modern slaves. Women, children and even men are kidnapped, exploited and abused in every country of the world every day.
The statistics are staggering. Human trafficking generates $150 billion worldwide, with the United States leading among other countries in demand. Approximately 70% of victims worldwide are women and 25% are children.
These numbers are just a few of the overwhelming number, and they are only growing. The struggle for the lives of these 40 million is now a growing concern for organizations, churches and leaders around the world.
The Tim Tebow Foundation is committed to advancing this fight for the lives of those who have been trafficked or are at risk of being trafficked.
In partnership with organizations both in the United States and abroad, the Foundation actively combats human trafficking in three ways.
First, they are proactive, believing that implementing programs aimed at preserving and strengthening healthy families is the key to reversing the trend.
Second, TBF is reactive. They work in conjunction with rescue organizations on the front lines, those who are actively involved in the literal rescue of those trapped in slavery.
Finally, the TBF team strives to support the long-term recovery of relationship survivors by providing them with the extensive resources they need to heal, including sharing the life-changing message of the New Testament so they can overcome the vicious trauma and abuse they have suffered .
In 2020, TTF has teamed up with Her Song under the guidance of the TTF Council to strengthen the work being done at the local level and raise awareness of prevention, save more victims and help more survivors to be released.
Equally important, however, is that by serving together, TTF and Her Song leverage the independent strengths of each organization to replicate the impact that is being made locally on a national and international scale.
Working with several other strategic partners in this campaign, the combined efforts of the Tim Tebow Foundation and Her Songs will increase the offensive against this insult to humanity.
In May 2021, the Associated Press reported that former NFL player Tim Tebow joined Tennessee Governor Bill Lee at the Capitol to announce a multimillion-dollar partnership to combat human trafficking.
Tebow, who is considering a return to football with an NFL team, is set to receive a $1.2 million infusion into his fund from the current Tennessee budget process.
The 2021 annual spending plan, which exceeds $42 billion, directs more than $5 million to Tebow’s organization and other anti-trafficking groups combined.
The funding will help the ministry as part of the Tim Tebow Foundation called Her Song, which works with other funded organizations to build safe homes in the state.
Tebow and Governor Lee explained, “We hope this will facilitate, engage and inspire churches, nonprofits, organizations and individuals to learn how they can be involved in saving women and children in Tennessee.”
Human trafficking must be stopped, and its ancient roots prove its resilience and inform today’s insistence on ending human violence around the world.
Mary Brown, author of Apollonius, King of Tyre, is an adjunct professor of Latin at St. Joseph’s University.