Fri, 12 June 2020
Melea Stephens is a practicing marriage and family therapist and an activist leader against sexual exploitation in her home state of Alabama. She is a board member with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and the founder of Rescue Innocence Movement, a nonprofit created to protect this generation of children from the harms of sexual exploitation through prevention, education, and legislation.
After witnessing the detrimental effects of hardcore pornography in the lives of both children and adults she treated, Melea felt a call to raise awareness about the unacknowledged health and societal harms of this illegal material. Since 2012, Melea has organized several city and statewide events and public awareness campaigns. She frequently partners with anti-trafficking leaders to promote education and meet the needs of survivors of sexual exploitation. Through the Rescue Innocence Movement and with the help of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and local leaders, she has been instrumental in the launch of the nation’s first emergency treatment program for pediatric survivors of sex trafficking at UAB Hospital. Melea often speaks publicly on topics such as the public health crisis of pornography and enhancing sexual intimacy within the context of Christian marriage. She was also a key leader in the recent passage of the Alabama Resolution to Declare Pornography a Public Health Crisis. Melea longs to see a day when the evil of sexual exploitation is fully extinguished by a majority in society who have grown intolerant of its immense harms and injustices. She believes that, through continued awareness, education, advocacy, and united activism, that day is close within our grasp.