Lauran Bethell

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Lauran Bethell
Church American Baptist Churches USA
Title The Reverend Doctor

Lauran Bethell is an American Baptist missionary[1] and human rights advocate residing in Eastern Europe.[2] She is one of the founders of Chiang Mai, Thailand's New Life Center, in which former prostitutes or sex trafficking victims are provided with a Christian-based education aimed at making them literate and employable.[3] She holds the position of Global Consultant with the American Baptist International Ministries.[4] She is currently based in the Netherlands.[5]


Bethell was the only daughter and oldest sibling growing up in San Joaquin Valley. Her father was a Baptist Minister.[6]

Bethell attended the University of Redlands.[7] Soon after, she followed her childhood dream of visiting far-away countries and started teaching in Hong Kong in 1978 and a year later, visited Thailand.[7] Inspired by seeing the prostitution district in Thailand, she founded and became the director of New Life Center in Chiang Mai in 1987.[8][9] By 1995, the New Life Center, under her direction, was aiding approximately 120 women every day, teaching them vocational skills and enabling them to attend night school for literacy.[10] She also worked with local police and families to remove women and children from brothels in Thailand.[6]

In 2001, she began working as an international consultant on human trafficking and human exploitation for the American Baptist Ministries.[5] In 2000, she testified for the United States Committee on Foreign Relations about sex trafficking.[11] In 2003, she again testified about human trafficking at the United States House of Representatives.[12] The next year, in July 2004, Bethell spoke at the pre-conference to the Baptist World Centenary Congress.[13] In 2005,[14] she received the Baptist World Alliance Human Rights Award.[15]

In November 2006, Bethell spoke at an evening gathering in Orlando, Florida in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the American Baptist Churches USA.[16] In March 2009, Bethell spoke at a conference called "STOP Sex Trafficking: A Call to End 21st Century Slavery" at Mercer University.[17]

Bethell's philosophy is that prostituted children can recover from their abuse and said that those who suggest otherwise are "not giving enough credit to the power of the human spirit."[18] Bethell also supports the "Nordic Model" of fighting prostitution.[6]


  1. ^ Greg Barrett (2008). The Gospel of Father Joe: Revolutions and Revelations in the Slums of Bangkok. John Wiley & Sons. p. 270. ISBN 0470328037. 
  2. ^ David Roach (June 20, 2008). "CBF focuses on prayer, women's ordination". Baptist Press. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Baptists work internationally to assist women trapped by sex trade". Ekklesia. February 3, 2008. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  4. ^ Andy Jayne (February 1, 2008). "Lauran Bethell Speaks About Sexual Exploitation At The New Baptist Covenant". Worldwide Faith News. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Sex Trade Lecture Planned at Church". The Register-Herald. 29 September 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Young, Narissa (13 October 2012). "Fight Against Sex Slavery Began With a Walk Down Street". Beckley Register Herald. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Fickett, Harold (2002). The Living Christ: The Extraordinary Lives of Today's Spiritual Heroes. Doubleday. ISBN 9780385505543. 
  8. ^ Buttry, Daniel L. (2014). Blessed Are the Peacemakers. Read the Spirit Books. ISBN 9781934879238. 
  9. ^ Carnes, Tony (1999). "The Anti-Madams of Asia". Christianity Today. 43 (11): 26. Retrieved 18 November 2015. (Subscription required (help)). 
  10. ^ "Helping Thai Prostitutes". Syracuse Herald Journal. 22 June 1995. Retrieved 19 November 2015. 
  11. ^ "Hearings Before the Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs of the Committee on Foreign Relations". United States Senate. GPO. 2000. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  12. ^ Elliot, Mark R. "Faith-Based Responses to Trafficking in Women from Eastern Europe" (PDF). Human Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  13. ^ Pauline J. Chang (September 18, 2004). "BWA Plans Pre-Congress Conference on Evangelism". The Christian Post. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  14. ^ Andy Jayne (May 10, 2006). ""Living Hope" Inspires Attendees to Action". Worldwide Faith News. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  15. ^ Karen Bullock (2008). Leon McBeth, Michael Edward Williams, Walter B. Shurden, eds. "Baptists and Women and the Turn toward Gender Inclusion". Turning Points in Baptist History: A Festschrift in Honor of Harry Leon McBeth. Mercer University Press: 210. ISBN 0881461350. 
  16. ^ Andy Jayne (November 17, 2006). "Board Hears Plans For American Baptist Biennial/Centennial". Worldwide Faith News. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  17. ^ "Mercer University hosts conference on sex trafficking". The Daily Citizen. March 18, 2009. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  18. ^ Thomas M. Steinfatt (2002). Working at the Bar: Sex Work and Health Communication in Thailand. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 266. ISBN 156750566X.