On October 29, 2019, Rev. Bruce Deel, executive director and founder of the City of Refuge in Atlanta, was appointed by President Donald Trump to a special committee on human trafficking. Deel was one of nine individuals named by the president to the Public-Private Partnership Advisory Council to End Human Trafficking.
Deel, an ordained bishop in the Church of God, founded City of Refuge following an assignment to close a struggling Church of God congregation back in 1997. Expecting only to spend six months in inner-city Atlanta, his life and ministry changed when a young woman approached him after a service and said: “I’ve been hooking and stripping for 14 years. Can you help me?” Soon after, Bruce founded City of Refuge.
Author of “Trust First,” Deel believes that the best way to improve outcomes for the marginalized and impoverished is to extend them trust, even if that trust is violated multiple times–and even if someone doesn’t yet trust themselves. The story is a modern-day testimony of the possibilities of witness and raising a family in one of the most dangerous and crime-ridden areas in the country.
City of Refuge has been adopted as the 2018-2020 project for Church of God Women’s Ministries, where the hope is to raise $500,000 to partner on the House of Cherith project to establish the first home for trafficked women and their children in the Atlanta metropolitan area.
Also named to the Council for two-year terms were Kevin P. Malone of Nevada, Timothy Ballard of Utah, Kristin Weis of Oklahoma, Linda Smith of Washington, Diana Mao of California, Teresa Lynn Davidson of Iowa, Jennifer Jensen of California and Sandra L. Morgan of California.
In response to the being asked to serve on the panel, Deel said “I am honored by the appointment to the Advisory Council on Human Trafficking and look forward to collaborating with other highly-qualified individuals from around the country as we work to end this societal injustice and to provide services for the survivors of both labor and sex trafficking.”