In honor of his birthday, outspoken Christian athlete Tim Tebow issued a plea urging Christians around the world to join him and his charitable foundation in saying “no more” to human trafficking.
The baseball player and former NFL quarterback wrote an op-ed published by Fox News last Friday — on his 33rd birthday — explaining the horrors of human trafficking.
The former Heisman Trophy winner began by recalling a phone call he once received from his father, who informed him that he had “just purchased four young girls” overseas.
Tebow, then in his mid-20s, was not even aware that such a transaction was possible.
“People buy groceries. Shoes. Annual passes to Disney World,” Tebow wrote. “They don’t buy other people. But I had heard him correctly. My dad had opened up his wallet and bought as many girls as he could with the cash he had on hand.”
Tebow built a safe home for the girls along with his father, Bob, a Christian missionary who serves the Lord with his wife, Pam.
“At that point in time, there was no safe home to take the girls to. So we built one,” Tebow wrote. “There’s a saying that evil triumphs when good men do nothing.”
“That single moment in time — a moment where one man took a stand for what was right — was the beginning of a ripple effect still in motion today,” Tebow added. “Years later, countless more human trafficking victims have been rescued around the world, even right here in the states, because of the mission that began that day.”
The “ripple effect” refers to the establishment of the Tim Tebow Foundation, which “has been actively fighting against human trafficking since 2013.”
“As often as every two minutes — the same two minutes it probably took you to read this — a human being is bought or sold somewhere around the world, one life exchanged at the hands of another,” Tebow explained.
“It’s unacceptable. And it can go on no longer. Please join us in the fight today. Life itself is at stake.”
According to its website, the foundation implements programs that are “designed to preserve and strengthen a healthy family unit” by working with rescue organizations on the ground and sharing the “life-changing message of the Gospel” with survivors to help them “overcome the vicious trauma and abuse they have suffered.”
Tebow first became a household name when he played quarterback for the University of Florida and won two national championships. He later went on to play for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets before becoming a minor league baseball player in the New York Mets organization.
Since college, Tebow has been well-known for his strong Christian faith as he always wrote bible verses on the eye black he wore during games.
Nel-Peters, a South African model and actress, appeared alongside her husband in a 43-second video accompanying Tebow’s Fox News op-ed titled “Tim Tebow’s 33rd Birthday Fundraiser.”
“God says they’re created in His image. Trafficking says they’re an object created for my pleasure,” Tebow said in the video.
An emotional Nel-Peters explained her passion for “giving women all over the world a voice and the opportunity to reach out for help,” noting that she has “lived with that fear.”
“I don’t know of an evil that is much darker than people that are trafficked,” Tebow said as the video came to a close. “That’s why we’re not leaving the fight, only getting deeper, only doing more.”
At the conclusion of his op-ed, Tebow urged readers to “join the team or give to the fight” by going to a donation page on the foundation’s website.
The phrase “Rescue Them” appeared as the screen faded to black.
Combating human trafficking is not the only mission of the Tim Tebow Foundation. The foundation also has a ministry devoted to special needs children.
For the last six years, the foundation has hosted the “Night to Shine” prom that provides special needs children with an “unforgettable prom night centered on God’s love” the Friday before Valentine’s Day.
The Tim Tebow Foundation also helped build a CURE hospital in the Philippines that specializes in treating children with orthopedic conditions. Tebow was born in the Philippines in 1987 while his parents served there as missionaries.