In a blog post yesterday Slavery: We Must End It, I wrote about the Christian’s responsibility to address human trafficking. This global problem can be overwhelming to the point that one does not know where to begin.
At the North American Mission Board, we encourage churches to help their members live a life that is on mission, and part of that call is to engage in caring for the vulnerable. A lasting impact on the issue of slavery—along with other expressions of brokenness in our society—will only happen if local churches engage. Here are a few ways your congregation can begin answering God’s call to minister to the weak and oppressed victims of modern day slavery.
First, be aware of the effect your purchases have on slavery. Do your spending habits actually contribute to forced labor and human trafficking? You can be more informed by seeing these connections through organizations like Free2Work.
Second, a primary root cause of human trafficking is an economic problem. Many children are sold as economic relinquishments—their parents simply cannot afford to keep them. Your church could follow the pattern of other churches that are using the vocational abilities of their business community to create jobs and businesses that undercut human trafficking at the root level. For example, ministries like The Haiti Collective have been created to address this issue in partnership with local churches. Your church could join this organization, which I trust very deeply, or begin one to do similar work in another context.
Third, I would encourage you to become involved with good organizations. Chances are, a number of organizations are doing great work in your local community. Human trafficking is not a problem that occurs in some distant location. Generally, if you have massage parlors in your town, you have human trafficking right under your nose. Take a look at some of the following organizations and begin or enhance a similar one in your area to have an immediate impact on slavery.
Baptist Friendship House – Based in New Orleans, LA. Scope of Work: Local
Daughters’ House – Based in St. Louis, MO. Scope of Work: Local
Deborah’s Gate – Based in Vancouver. Scope of Work: Canada
Inward New Orleans – Based in New Orleans, LA. Scope of Work: Local
The Joy Smith Foundation – Based in Calgary. Scope of Work: Canada
Scarlet Hope – Based in Louisville, KY. Scope of Work: USA
She is Safe – Based in Atlanta, GA. Scope of Work: Global
Streetlight USA – Based in Phoenix, AZ. Scope of Work: USA
Victoria’s Friends – Based in Atlanta, GA. Scope of Work: Local
Will you join with us and push back darkness in your local community and globally? Will you lead your church to become a place of compassionate restoration for men, women and children who are victims of modern day slavery? How will you address this social ill in proactive ways? We would love to hear your ideas in the comments below or on Twitter.
Published January 20, 2015