NFL star and outspoken Christian Tim Tebow gave an impassioned speech on Thursday as he met with Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee at the state Capitol to unveil a new partnership to end human trafficking. The 33 year old football quarterback, who is in the midst of deciding whether to return to football on the Jacksonville Jaguars team, is set to receive millions of dollars of government funding through the Tim Tebow Foundation, to combat human trafficking.
"My foundation and I are committed to increasing holistic survivor care across the country and around the world through our ministry, Her Song, and look forward to serving alongside the great state of Tennessee to continue pushing back this darkness," Tebow said during his speech, as per FOX News.
Her Song is a ministry within the foundation that aims to build safe homes in Tennessee alongside other funded organizations that shelter victims of human trafficking.
"We hope that this will facilitate and engage and inspire churches, nonprofits, organizations, individuals, to find out how they can be involved in rescuing women and children in Tennessee," Gov. Lee said, as reported by the Associated Press.
Tebow shared that discussions on addressing human trafficking began just three months ago when country music singer Luke Bryan and his wife, Caroline, introduced the NFL player to Gov. Lee's chief of staff, Blake Harris at Bryan's restaurant.
Now, the Tim Tebow Foundation is set to receive $1.2 million from the upcoming Tennessee state budget for efforts against human trafficking. About $5 million of the $42 billion annual budget is set to be funnelled into Tebow's foundation and other groups that address problems of human trafficking.
In his speech, Tebow recalled how his father, Robert, once preached at an underground pastor's conference where not far away, four girls were victimized by human traffickers. The NFL player shared that his father "took out all the money in his wallet, which was $1,200" to purchase the girls and rescue them from whoever else was going to buy them because he knew they were "not gonna do something good."
"He wasn't prepared for everything that was next," Tebow said of his dad, "but he couldn't not do something about it because this demands a response by him, by me, by you, by everything that they're doing."
"It demands a response. We have to respond. He responded, I'm grateful."
Human trafficking was revealed to be prevalent in Tennessee, wotj pver "hundreds" of open trafficking cases, according to Margie Quin, CEO of End Slavery Tennessee, an organization that specializes in case management and comprehensive aftercare for human trafficking survivors.
Quin told the Tennessean that "safe and stable housing is the most crucial need for survivors to exit exploitation and work toward an independent, healthy life." This is exactly what the Tim Tebow Foundation's ministry, Her Song is set to achieve with funding from the government in the fight against human trafficking.
Gov. Lee highlighted how government leaders set out to "put together the right team" with Tebow's foundation and other anti-human trafficking organizations. The 61 year old Republican governor said, "What matters most to me are the women and the children and bringing together the right people who have the right experience and the right ability to convene."
At its core, human trafficking is an attack on the dignity of every human being & together we can end it. Grateful for our partners that are at the forefront of this important fight @EndSlaveryTN, @thistlefarms, @tnantislavery, @TimTebow & @tebowfoundation https://t.co/QnVQXTWdwp pic.twitter.com/nis6oTjDcm
— Gov. Bill Lee (@GovBillLee) May 13, 2021