Human Trafficking: Resources for Congregations
Episcopal News Service, January 10, 2011 and ECF Fellow Brian McVey
Did you know more people are enslaved today than have been enslaved throughout history? That law enforcement experts believe human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. That’s why January 11, 2013 marks Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the United States. Worldwide, an estimated 27 – 41 million individuals are enslaved, with more than 1,000,000 in the United States! On September 25, 2012 President Obama called upon the Church to help society confront this evil and to apply the resources available to end the scourge of slavery.
What can you do? On January 11, note to your friends, neighbors, co-workers and others, both in the world and on social media, of the existence of slavery through practices such as bonded labor, as forced labor, as forced marriage, and the traditional chattel slavery known throughout human history. Help educate them that nearly 80% of all slaves are female and that half of all slaves are under age 18. And call upon your circle of friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even your politicians to get behind the effort to eliminate slavery in the world today. Better still, those at Attacking Trafficking, an ecumenical effort based in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois encourage you to have your church pray for those enslaved in our midst and for those who minister to them. Time and time again in the Bible, God has moved powerfully through His people to free the oppressed. We believe that He will send the Holy Spirit to empower His church to lead our people in this effort again.
Why? As Christians of differing denominational expressions, we believe that we are in bondage to sin as evidenced by those things we have done and left undone. In view of the bondage of things done, people are bound in body, mind, and spirit and reduced, and believe themselves, to be commodities that are bought, sold, discarded, and even killed at will by those more powerful. In view of the bondage of things left undone, others can, through their own ignorance or unwillingness to “dig a bit deeper,” unknowingly contribute to and fuel the sin of human slavery.
As Christians we believe that we are freed from bondage to sin because we have all been redeemed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In response to our salvation and justification by grace through faith, we are called to the hope and promise of God’s rule and charged with the task of working that His will may be done on earth as it is in heaven. Whether broken in mind, body, or spirit through the perpetuation of human trafficking or broken in complacency and indifference, we are set free in Christ to work for the deliverance of people trafficked, of people who traffic, and those who knowingly or unknowingly buy trafficked victims or their products of their forced labor.
As Christians, because we are redeemed, we see the image of God in ourselves and others, as people deserving of respect, compassion, and care. And we endeavor to care those enslaved as our Lord taught us to care for our neighbor as ourselves in the example of the Good Samaritan.
Please join us and other churches as we pray for those enslaved in our midst, and those who enslave them, during services on the weekend of January 12 and 13. For more information or for tips in how you can become more active in the effort in your community, please contact us at www.attackingtrafficking.org or through St. Alban’s Episcopal Church at 563-386-4087.
Pray for Human Trafficking
Almighty God and heavenly Father, You have created us, Your people, to do Your work in Your world. Be with, protect, and comfort all those who are in situations of fraud, force, and coercion, especially those ensnared in human trafficking and those who minister to or care for them. Through Your Holy Spirit, open the hearts of this country and the world, and enliven all our minds as we remember those who are sold in our midst, and inspire us to proclaim the freedom You offer to all through Your well-beloved Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who with You and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns. Amen.
- Attack Trafficking website and resources
- Video of ECF Fellow Brian McVey, Rector of St. Alban's in Davenport, Iowa talks about the ministry that started at St. Alban's that turned into Attack Trafficking, how it started and what they do.
- Episcopal Diocese of Iowa Human Trafficking Initiative
- Episcopal Diocese of Texas Diolog, "Human Trafficking: In Plain Site," December 2012
- Human Trafficking is Modern Day Slavery (video, Diocese of Texas)
- Thistle Farms and Magdalene A residential program and social enterprise founded by an Episcopal priest for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction, and life on the streets.
- The Quest to End Child Trafficking A video from Odyssey Networks
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- Human trafficking takes many forms.