reLentless Love 4: Trafficking.

March 9, 2015

Image by Alyssa Miller via Flickr
Welcome to our reLentless Love series and Make a Difference Monday link-up! If you missed the first three weeks of reLentless Love, we shared about Access to Medical Care, Orphan Care and Single Moms! Today, we're highlighting trafficking and are looking at what is happening in our own backyard in Central Minnesota.

This week we interviewed CeCe Terlouw, Executive Director of Heartland Girls Ranch, about her passion to help girls caught in trafficking and what her amazing organization is doing.

TRE: Why are you passionate about the issue of trafficking?

My heart and passion for doing this work is really rooted in what God's heart is and what the
word says. This is illustrated in Isaiah 61:1-3:

The spirit of the Lord is on me because the Lord has
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me
To preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lords favor
And the day of vengeance of our God,
To comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-
To bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
Instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
A planting of the Lord
For the display of his splendor.

When girls come to us they are often broken and locked inside themselves unable to see their gifts and talents.  

They remind me of an acorn with a hard shell on the outside and no roots to ground them.

My passion is in watching God begin to change and nurture them into the beautiful young women they were designed to be. With the love and support they receive at the Ranch, they begin to blossom, grow roots and become the "oak of righteousness and glory of his splendor". They discover the beauty that's inside them, their value in who they are and the impactthey can have on others.  

TRE: What can you tell us about trafficking and what Heartland Girls Ranch does?

Founded in 1992 and licensed by the Minnesota Department of Corrections, Heartland Girls Ranch (HGR) works with girls ages 12-21, serving an average of 50-60 girls each year. HGR is a residential group home that provides comprehensive supportive services including housing, life/job skills education, mental/physical health support, equine therapy and other trauma-informed therapies, and a dedicated school for the girls in our program. All girls referred to HGR are considered to be high risk for sexual exploitation and many have already been victims of sex trafficking.

HGR has served sexually exploited youth since 1992, but began the work of identifying and providing specific programming for trafficked girls in 2002. Since then, HGR has increased in knowledge and skill in working with this population by attending many statewide and national trainings on the issue, incorporating trauma-informed and culturally specific services and programming, collaborating with other providers working with exploited youth and actively participating on the statewide Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force and Safe Harbor Advisory Committee. HGR's programming is holistic and includes a variety of strengths-based, trauma informed, culturally specific and gender responsive programming based on restorative justice and other best practices in working with female survivors of sexual exploitation. HGR is also the only program in the state that incorporates a full array of therapeutic equine programming and therapy onsite to address trauma.

In 2012-13, HGR was awarded additional funding through a Department of Human Services Safe Harbor grant to expand this work and has increased capacity and community outreach in 2014. HGR is one of only four programs in the state funded by DHS to provide supportive services and housing to sexually exploited youth under Safe Harbor. In 2014, HGR was also awarded funding by the MN Department of Health to house the West Central Regional Navigator who is based at the Ranch and serves a 21-county region to assist with the implementation of Safe Harbor/No Wrong Door.

Currently, our Hearts for Freedom Program for sexually exploited girls has 8 beds in a temporary home opened specifically to serve girls ages 12-17. In 2015, we plan to expand this program and build a new dedicated permanent facility and are currently looking for donors and funders to assist in this effort.

TRE: How did you get involved and what would you tell someone else who may be
interested in getting involved?

It's has always been my heart to work with young girls. God brought me to Ranch 23 years ago when it opened and He has continued to open doors and lead me on this journey -- giving me a heart for healing broken lives.
Because there is an endless demand, sexual exploitation/sex trafficking is an issue that has exploded at an alarming rate in the U.S. and is now recognized as an epidemic across Minnesota communities. Each one of us has important role to play in combating this injustice.

Individuals can help by supporting reputable organizations through volunteering, helping to raise awareness and funds, and most importantly by praying for the women and children who are being abused and exploited, as well as for the people who are working tirelessly to rescue and restore them and put their traffickers and perpetrators in jail.

You can visit to learn more about their programs for at-risk and sexually exploited youth and what you can do to help.

This week, we are going to partner with Heartland Girls Ranch by giving up one thing that is an enjoyable time killer (your favorite TV show, social media, Candy Crush) and, instead, spend that time in prayer. Pray for the girls at Heartland, CeCe and her team, for our state agencies and government as they create policy, for justice and healing and for a movement against trafficking nationwide and worldwide.

Make A Difference Mondays is a weekly linkup designed to encourage and inspire us to live each day on purpose—making a meaningful difference in someone’s life in even the smallest of ways. Five women regularly co-host this link-up. Read on to learn more about the vision, mission, and how to link up!

Mission: Our mission is to provide a consistent gathering place for like-minded women to build online connections, share inspiration, and provide mutual encouragement and accountability as we seek to live intentionally and make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Vision: Every Monday we invite bloggers to link up any blog posts that encourage women to live life on purpose, including testimonies or goals from your own life, small acts of kindness or service, creative tips or ideas for showing consideration to others — the possibilities are endless. Our objective is to use our God-given time and resources to his glory!

Also, just a heads-up: the Make A Difference Mondays team has created a Facebook community group to stay in touch beyond the blog posts AND we also have a new #MADMlinkup group Pinterest board: Make A Difference Mondays Pinterest Board.


    An InLinkz Link-up


  1. Thank you so much for sharing about this wonderful organization! :-)

  2. Great interview regarding a wonderful organization. Many blessings to you ❤️