Former Millen pastor and wife battle child trafficking in Thailand


MILLEN, Ga. — Child trafficking is a global concern that occurs to some degree in every country in the world. Global Relief Association for Crisis and Emergencies, Inc. (GRACE) is a Millen based non-profit that actively addresses the issue in Pattaya, Thailand, which is known as the child sex trafficking capital of the world. The organization was founded in 2012 in the United States by Jon and Angie Sullivan to bring awareness to the issue.

Jon is a former pastor of Green Fork Baptist Church serving from 2002-2006. Angie is a retired healthcare worker at Emory University. The couple recently relocated to Millen. The Sullivans and their children, Genie Boynton and Patrick Sullivan, oversee the day-to-day operations of GRACE.

A visit by Jon and Angie to a daycare center in Thailand in 2013 fostered the idea for their ministry in the country on the other side of the world. “We went to visit a church member who was a missionary in Thailand. While there, we visited a daycare center and observed that many of the children in attendance were of school age, but not attending school,” Jon said.

They asked why and learned that the parents could not afford to send them. In Thailand, everyone has the opportunity to go to school, but not everyone can afford to go. While education is free in Thailand, parents must rent the books and buy the uniforms that are required for their children to attend school. Some parents are forced to choose between buying food or paying for books and supplies. Many choose to buy the food to feed their families.

“Also, the amount the parents have to pay is left up to the teachers. They may decide one child will be a lot of work and charge the parents $100. Another child they may see as not as much trouble and only charge those parents $50,” Genie said.

The idea is to address the vulnerabilities that can foster child trafficking – natural disaster, poverty, illiteracy, low literacy, food insecurity, and broken relationships – by partnering with the daycare center and establishing family resource centers,” Jon said. “And, above all, a lack of the gospel is increased vulnerability.”

GRACE began providing educational costs for students, nutritional assistance for families, medical care, and transportation to and from school. That support has expanded through family resource centers and continues today. Now it also includes help with homework for the children, English language skills, computer labs, adult enrichment classes for parents, and more. With the assistance of the same seven employees in Thailand since 2017, GRACE has put 260 students through the program.

“We now have two students who are going to the university,” Angie said. Also, the grade point averages of the students at the center have drastically improved. The students’ intellectual, spiritual, creative, and social developments have just exploded. They have dreams now where before they didn’t.”

The Sullivans resided in Thailand for almost four years and continue to make trips to the country a couple of times each year to visit the GRACE Family Resource Center, lead impact tours/mission teams, and work with other organizations. Their direct involvement also led to collaboration with local, national, and international authorities in the rescue of multiple young children from child traffickers.

“The workers at the center were afraid for us because of the mafia, but I told them that God is greater than the mafia,” Angie said. “Those children were rescued from a life of child trafficking!”

GRACE also responds to natural disasters. “Wherever there is a natural disaster, the vulnerabilities of exploitation and human trafficking goes up,” Jon explained.

GRACE accomplishes all of this by partnering with individuals, civic club organizations and churches, and sponsors for the children who attend the center. “Those who don’t have sponsors are financed by general donations and Friends of GRACE,” Genie said.

A full sponsorship is $100 monthly, and a partial sponsorship is $50 monthly. The sponsorships are tax deductible. The Sullivans have plans to re-open a second resource center in Thailand that they were forced to close due to the retirement of the supporting pastor.

Jon and I are immeasurably blessed to have been given the opportunity to join God in His work combating the human injustices of trafficking and exploitation of children. Our mission of GRACE is that we exist to foster social change through strengthening families and eradicating the vulnerabilities of human trafficking and exploitation,” said Angie.

“God unveiled our eyes as we traveled the world and stateside to the issue often hidden in plain sight. Our vision is beyond awareness. Practically, through GRACE, we provide resources, protect the marginalized and vulnerable, and, as much as possible, prevent these crimes against humanity,” she said.

The Sullivans believe that healthy families, engaged schools, communities, and churches collaborating together are essential to reducing the vulnerabilities that foster child trafficking.

Jon Sullivan, Ph.D, HS-BCP, BCCC, is a professor at three universities, including Shorter University where he will transition to online courses at the end of the semester. He is a counselor and co-founder of GRACE with Angie. Jon is also in the process of opening a Christian counseling practice in Millen. Jon and Angie, their children, and two grandchildren all reside in Millen.

For more information, visit the GRACE website at and follow the Sullivans on social medial platforms.