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Episcopal Leaders In Boston, St. Louis Use World Series To 'Strike Out' Human Trafficking

File Photo | St. Louis Cardinals

Updated at bottom on October 22 with bets from the Archdiocese.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. to clarify quote about child trafficking.

The leaders of the Episcopal cathedrals in Boston and St. Louis are betting that the World Series between the Red Sox and Cardinals will help combat human trafficking and prostitution in their cities.

Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis and The Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Boston will collect donations online until the first pitch of Game 1 on Wednesday. The money in the pot will go to a non-profit in the winning city that helps victims of sex trafficking. Here in St. Louis, the beneficiary is Magdalene St. Louis.

"We've just hired our first executive director, and we're zeroing in on our first house," said the Very. Rev. Mike Kinman, the dean of Christ Church Cathedral and the president of the Magdalene St. Louis board. "The money is going to go to fix up the house, the money is going to go to hiring staff."

Kinman made a similar wager last year with a friend at St. John's Episcopal Church in San Francisco and while he says it would be nice to win this year, it's just as important to make people aware of the sex trafficking problem.

"It's good any time that we can start to put a human face on prostitution, on sex trafficking, and let people know that these are not women who have chosen a lifestyle but women who because of their histories of abuse are really trapped in a system," he said.

St. Louis, Kinman added, is in the top 10 when it comes to sex trafficking.

"There is a corridor between us and New Orleans along Interstate 55 where women and unfortunately many children are trafficked," he said.

There is a more lighthearted element of the bet as well. The losing reverend will have to wear a hat of the winning team at the first Sunday service after the Series end.

The Episcopal church isn't the only denomination using the World Series for charitable purposes.  St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson and Cardinal Sean O'Malley, the archbishop of Boston, have agreed to terms of their own wager. The loser will donate $100 to Catholic Charities in the winning city.

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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