A beefy, stocky man of 53 who looks like he would be right at home on a Hollywood movie set as a stunt double, or in the gym as a body-builder, A.C. Curtis' real-life adventures are just as risky and dangerous.
Curtis, a missionary, self-defense instructor and evangelist of the Gospel, Curtis has helped to rescue thousands of women and children entrapped in the sexual slave trade — not only overseas but right here in the Mid-South.
"Once we've been able to rescue them, we focus on restoration," said Curtis. "We have a team of ladies who begin the restoration process and help them through the trauma. It takes putting them in a safe place for a long time."
Curtis, through his organization Express Missions International and the Mid-South Abolition Task Force, has been able to rescue women 10, 20 and 30 at a time and at other times, liberating thousands of women.
Working with special operations forces overseas and law enforcement here at home, Curtis says the biggest battle is often convincing women they can successfully escape their captors and live a life free from fear.
Allen and Tina Tatum and a host of other volunteers assist Curtis with the Mid-South Abolition Task Force.
Established in 2009, Express Missions International is making a global impact, according to Curtis.
"I've lived in many countries — India, Myanmmar, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Moldavia, Romania, France, Africa, Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Brazil," Curtis said. "With EMI, we started with anti-human trafficking work. Sometimes we rescue thousands at a time."
A native of Tucson, Ariz., Curtis has lived in Los Angeles, South Mississippi and now the Memphis area, where he teaches survival and self defense.
"It's a six-to-eight-week tactical survival course," Curtis said. "Among other things it teaches women how to take a gun away, how to take a punch, and how to escape from an abduction."
Curtis said he was saved through his belief and trust in Jesus Christ and his life has never been the same.
"It was March 15, 1988," Curtis recalled. "I had come out of a drunken stupor. I got saved and received Christ. From that day on, I just started looking for everybody who needed help, who were in need of receiving The Word of God. I took every flight and puddle jumper out to help people. I know that they need Jesus."
"I read the verse in Scripture that what is freely given should be freely received and what I should so freely help give to others is their freedom," Curtis said.
Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.