Baptist World Alliance, BWA News Release

Human rights award presented to anti-trafficking campaigner

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Ilie Coada, a Baptist pastor in Moldova who worked tirelessly against human trafficking and the sex trade in his country, has been presented with the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) Denton and Janice Lotz Human Rights Award for 2014.

The award is given for significant and effective activities to secure, protect, restore or preserve human rights as stated in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other declarations on human rights. The award presentation was made by the BWA General Council, which convened during the Annual Gathering of the global umbrella organization for Baptists in Izmir, Turkey, from July 6-12.

Coada established the Bethania Christian Relief Association to manage and run his various projects, opened a shelter for vulnerable girls, many fresh out of orphanages, to reside and to continue their education, and founded a community and children’s center that offers after-school and summer programs, including tutoring, to more than 500 children.

He began an elder-care program on the compound of the children’s center so elders can share meals and fellowship with children as adopted grandparents, instituted scholarships that enable girls at risk to attend vocational school and university, and developed greenhouses and other small businesses that offer employment to girls and women.

“We know that our entire ministry belongs to God,” Coada said upon receiving the award. “I only knew that I wanted to serve my Lord. He gave me a wife that supports me in what I do and a wonderful team to work with.”

A citation read at the presentation described Coada as “a man of wisdom, wit, courage and transparency” and “an inspiration to other human rights advocates, workers and activists.” He was lauded for his “exemplary pioneering and sacrificial ministry securing and protecting the rights and freedom of children in Moldova.”

He “risked everything to follow the voice of the One who loves and saved him” and “saved countless children from the worst kinds of sex slavery,” the BWA citation read. He engaged in his various ministries “despite threats on his life and person from sex traffickers.”

In addition to his advocacy and programmatic activities against human trafficking and the sex trade, Coada is a pastor who has planted a number of Baptist churches. He “preaches and lives the Word authentically,” according to the BWA.

Moldova is a former republic of the Soviet Union and gained its independence in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet state. During the communist era, prior to becoming a pastor, Coada “surrendered career and other opportunities … to retain authentic Christian commitment, refusing to renounce his faith,” the BWA observed.

Baptist World Alliance®
© July 9, 2014

The Baptist World Alliance, founded in 1905, is a fellowship of 253 conventions and unions in 130 countries and territories comprising 51 million baptized believers in 176,000 churches. For more than 100 years, the Baptist World Alliance has networked the Baptist family to impact the world for Christ with a commitment to strengthen worship, fellowship and unity; lead in mission and evangelism; respond to people in need through aid, relief, and community development; defend religious freedom, human rights, and justice; and advance theological reflection and leadership development.