Human trafficking relies on a complex web of various other crimes—including theft, kidnapping, extortion, rape, slavery, prostitution, pornography, drug smuggling and drug dealing. Not all trafficking victims are forced into the sex trade; many end up working 16-20 hours a day in forced labor camps. Regardless of its many tentacles and their grip on our culture, however, trafficking must end. And the only way to stop it is to take personal responsibility for being educated, equipped, and empowered to work with others, both within and outside your local church.
How do we stop the traffickers and rescue the children and women enslaved by them? What organizations currently investigate cases, rescue victims, and pursue human traffickers? What can we do to help liberate these victims from their captors? When you use your gifts, talents, and resources on behalf of those enslaved by human trafficking, you start a chain reaction of divine proportions.
What’s one of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your life so far? Pursuing your education? Recovering from illness or injury? Suffering a family crisis? Enduring a career setback? Something else? How did God reveal His presence as you faced this obstacle?
Watch former Congresswoman Linda Smith, founder of Shared Hope International, explain how she became passionate about ending human trafficking in this short video of her speaking at the Trafficking Hope Faces of Hope Gala LINK
Also, from the International Justice Mission (IJM) website, watch the IJM media reel video (www.ijm.org/newsroom).
Human trafficking is one of those issues that nearly everyone agrees is terrible and must be stopped. But transforming our good intentions and daily prayers into solutions requires action. We must be willing to risk our investment of time, energy, and money while leaving the results to God for the glory of His kingdom. We must be willing to ask questions and make sacrifices. We must be willing to be uncomfortable and persistent.
Instead of nodding and smiling at the lovely young Asian woman giving you a manicure, you might try striking up a conversation and getting to know more about her and how she came to this country. Maybe you talk candidly to other business leaders you know about screening their current employees and new hires for signs of trafficking. And, of course, you commit yourself to the purity and integrity God wants for all believers by avoiding any temptations from the sex industry.
As long as trafficking remains an abstraction and viewed as something far-removed from your daily life, it will continue to thrive. Only when you decide to speak up, fight back, and take a stand against trafficking and its many branches will we as followers of Jesus get to the root of the problem.
The battle is all encompassing: physical, emotional, legal, social, educational, psychological, and of course, spiritual. No matter who you are or what your current season of life might be, there are numerous ways you can fight trafficking. Participating in this group is certainly an important part of this process, but your dedication to end human trafficking must reach far beyond what your group covers in this study guide.
It must be a commitment.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world” (1 John 4:4, NIV)
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenheartedand saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Ps. 34:17-18, NIV).
“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captivesand release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favorand the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah 61:1-2, NIV).
Organizations such as Shared Hope International, International Justice Mission, and Trafficking Hope fight on the frontlines of the war on trafficking. Brainstorm a list of other ministries, charitable organizations, and non-profits that you know are also part of this fight. Which ones resonate with you the most? Which might you like to partner with as a way of extending your education about trafficking beyond this group? What are some ways you could support these organizations right now?
How do you view victims of human trafficking differently now than you did at the beginning of this group? What have you learned about their ordeal that helps you see them this way?
If someone asked you to explain the primary cause of human trafficking, what would you say? Why?
What resources are available through your church to assist victims of trafficking? If a trafficking victim asked you for help, would you know who to call for assistance within your church? How can the local church do more to help liberate those people suffering the impact of trafficking in their communities?
WHO C.A.R.E.S.—YOU DO!
Based on what you’ve learned so far about trafficking, what would you describe as the biggest obstacle for advancement in each of the five C.A.R.E.S. areas? Feel free to include this as a conclusion to your group discussion time for this session.
Biggest obstacle to building bridges to battle trafficking:
Biggest obstacle to growing in your own awareness of how to stop trafficking:
Biggest obstacle to liberating those held captive by trafficking:
Biggest obstacle to informing others about the terrible impact of trafficking:
Biggest obstacle to serving the needs of those directly affected by trafficking:
Thank God for the freedom we have in Christ, and the way he has freed you from the powers of sin and death. Praise Him for raising your awareness, along with others in your group, about the dire needs of those men, women, and children trapped in human trafficking. Pray that He would rescue more and more each day, providing the right people and the right tools to investigate, capture, and arrest traffickers. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom about your role in fighting trafficking and if there are others you need to talk with as this issue continues to weigh on your heart.