Human trafficking continues to spread like a cancer throughout our nation and our world. It serves as an intersection point for so many other criminal activities: theft, kidnapping, extortion, rape, slavery, prostitution, pornography, drug smuggling and drug dealing, to name a few. Any time human beings are fraudulently lured, violently forced, or physically coerced into service, trafficking robs them of their labor, their innocence, and their hope.
It cannot steal their souls, however, despite our enemy’s best attempts to enslave them in darkness. In order to end trafficking of any variety once and for all, it not only requires organizations, agencies, and charities to work together. It requires members of every local church to take responsibility, using their unique talents and resources to ransom those held captive through the power of Jesus Christ.
While law enforcement, government agencies, and charitable organizations can meet many needs of the victims of human trafficking, only the church can provide them with true healing and eternal hope. Engaging and equipping local churches is perhaps the most powerful way to end human trafficking—period.
Watch these two video clips, each featuring interviews with survivors of trafficking who were rescued from their captivity:
1) “Personal Testimonies of Victims of Human Trafficking” LINK
2) “A Former Sex Slave’s Story of Hope & Forgiveness: FortheSakeofOne.org” LINK
Rescuing victims is a vital part of the anti-trafficking effort, and helping them transition back into complete personal health is just as important. Great care must be taken not to re-victimize men, women, and children who have been trafficked. The after-effects and trauma that trafficked victims face often require a long period of recovery, and walking people through emotional and spiritual healing is just as important as physical recovery. While several organizations focus on this aspect of anti-trafficking, your local church can provide some of the services needed to bring that healing.
After a period of recovery, former trafficking victims will need to be reintegrated back into society. They will need mentors and teachers, counselors and friends. Providing them with a viable livelihood and a supportive community is also important. For example, after completing a program where they received vocational training, such as baking, cosmetology, sewing, or accounting, they will need gainful employment. Once they are employed, they may need help securing housing and transportation. Your church and other local organizations can help support the women who have gone through a restoration facility and are in need of transitioning into a self-supporting role.
As you continue to learn about human trafficking you will find that a problem of this magnitude must be tackled using a multi-disciplinary approach. Your intentional participation in a collaborative effort with other people, churches, and organizations provides the combined strength to win the war against human trafficking. While educational awareness and dedicated prayers are vitally important, the victory against trafficking requires action from God’s people. We must demonstrate His love in action so others may be set free and discover the gift of salvation, the ransom Jesus paid for all of us on the cross at Calvary.
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people”
(1 Tim. 2:5-6, NIV).
“Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wildernessand streams in the desert” (Isaiah 35:5-6, NIV).
What challenges in life have you overcome that could help you identify with trafficking survivors? What has God done in your own life to rescue you from the snares of the enemy?
How would you respond to a trafficking survivor who has healed physically in their rehabilitation but cannot seem to heal emotionally? What would you tell them about God’s love considering what they have had to endure? How can you prevent what you share from sounding trite and predictable?
Who are some of the key people God has used to help you, sustain you, and encourage you throughout your life? What have you learned from their examples that you could now use to minister to trafficking victims?
What’s currently preventing you from being more involved in the fight against trafficking? Fear? Your busy schedule? Uncertainty or confusion about what you should do? After everyone in the group has shared, pray for one another that you might hear God’s calling and know how best to serve in this sacred battle.
WHO C.A.R.E.S.—YOU DO!
Choose one of the following five C.A.R.E.S. areas and complete its homework assignment for your next group meeting. Share your selections with one another and try to cover all areas if possible. You may want to work together with others completing the homework for the area you select.
Create a community resource guide listing stakeholder groups with contact information for quick reference. Contact as many of these organizations as possible and make your church or organization available for collaboration.
Review the list of feature-length films on the Trafficking Hope website. Choose one to watch before the next group meeting. After viewing this film, select a 5-10 second clip to show to the rest of your group at your next meeting. Be prepared to explain why you chose this particular scene.
Download applications such as SEE SEND (iOS & Android) where you can anonymously report suspicious activity and AMBER ALERT (iOS & Android), the official app of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, which provides real-time feed of active Amber Alerts on your smart phone. Remember, never attempt to rescue trafficking victims yourself. It’s not your job to prove trafficking occurred; it is your job to remain alert and report your suspicions.
Use your influence and personal network with schools, social service groups, health care providers, law enforcement, churches, men’s and women’s groups, and other appropriate organizations to open the eyes of others about human trafficking. Try to see if these groups would allow you, someone else from your group or church, or a speaker requested from the Trafficking Hope website to visit one of their meetings and speak about human trafficking.
Reach out to service providers, your church, or other organizations currently meeting the needs of trafficking victims as they recover and rebuild their lives. Meet with these service providers to discuss the best ways for your group, church, or other organizations to serve them. Some of your congregation or volunteers may be service providers themselves; encourage them to use their skills to support victims on their road to recovery.
Praise God for being our Savior, our Deliverer, and our Redeemer. Thank Him for sending His Son Jesus to live as a man and to die a painful death that He did not deserve in order to pay for our sins. Pray for survivors of trafficking as they seek healing and wholeness, that their needs would be met as God provides for them. Also pray for those currently involved in the rescue and rehabilitation of human trafficking victims, that they would have the wisdom of serpents and the innocence of doves. Ask God to protect them and hide them from the evil one as they go about their efforts. Conclude by thanking God for the ways He protects you and your group members as you become better equipped to fight trafficking in the name of Jesus.