In 2004, Human Sexual Trafficking became an international priority for The Salvation Army. An Anti-Trafficking Network was established with representatives from each corner of the globe. The issue is now being handled by the International Social Justice Commission (in New York), but still being supported whole-heartedly by International Headquarters.
A National Network of agencies was set up called the “National Network against Trafficking in Women.” The Salvation Army is a member of this network. Until now, resources have not been sufficient to encourage coordination between groups and individuals working against trafficking. The recent development of the National Network against Trafficking should ensure that we now have a cohesive and powerful voice to speak out against trafficking in women and girls for prostitution in Australia. Trafficking has been raised in discussions with national government.
Trafficking is high on the agenda of The Salvation Army’s social justice group. The Salvation Army in the Southern Territory of Australia has also set up a working group under the direction of the Territorial Social Program Secretary. At the moment the Salvation Army in Australia is supporting other agencies involved in the field, and while they have accommodated some of these women in their crisis shelters, there is no specific funding to develop specialist programs in this area.
A big part of The Salvation Army’s trafficking work is focused on prevention, including educating community people through corps (church) and project work on the issue of trafficking. Prevention includes helping poor women in villages learn skills to earn money for their families. For example, there is a knitting factory training centre in Savar. Women from the community come to learn how to use knitting machines in order to get jobs in the knitting industry. There are also adult literacy groups that turn into savings groups, where women can learn skills and take loans to start their businesses. Some of these women produce handicrafts that are then sold in the “Sally Ann” stores. The Salvation Army has operated a “Sally Ann” store in Dhaka since 1997, which sells handicrafts/products made by poor women. The store has 350 participants, and this includes a group of women who are looking for alternative ways to make a living than prostitution. This is a fair trade operation guided by certain values, guidelines and principles, such as dignity, economic independence, fair wages and a safe, healthy working environment.
The other part of The Salvation Army’s work focuses specifically on those who have been trafficked or found themselves in prostitution. In Jessore (200kms. west of Dhaka), The Salvation Army has an HIV/AIDS programme that has worked in this brothel community for the past eleven years. Women in the brothel are given health care, counseling, and skills training. In Old Dhaka, another Army centre works with “floating prostitutes,” (prostitutes on the street, as opposed to in a brothel) who come for rehabilitation, adult literacy, savings, counseling, health and social issues education, skills training, loans and spiritual support. As of 2005, the Old Dhaka and Jessore Centres have helped over 132 women get out of prostitution. Many of these women have now found other forms of work in the community or have set up their own businesses through loans.
The Salvation Army works with street children, who are quite vulnerable to trafficking. A property has been identified as a possible residence for trafficking victims and mothers who are on the streets. The Salvation Army was involved in an awareness campaign at the Pam American games.
There is growing awareness of this issue in The Salvation Army because of dedicated weekends of prayer.
Due to China’s one-child policy, leading to a disproportionate ration or women to men, the effort to find wives for all of the single men had led to a flourishing traffic in women and girls, internally and from countries such as Burma, North Korea, Laos and Vietnam. Chinese women have also been trafficked internationally to various places on the planet. Trafficking has severely affected places like Yunan, where whole villages have lost their women and girls Anti-trafficking programs are being developed and supported from Hong Kong, based on discussions with governmental officials and local villagers. These programs will target middle school and primary school students in townships, who are becoming the targeted group for human trafficking (because of poverty, lack of primary school completion for girls, and parental attitudes towards girls). The project will aim to rescue children (students), but the focus will be on awareness raising, education, and a development of livelihood activities like animal raising, planting etc. These activities will both prevent trafficking and help rescued women. Another large component will be awareness raising for governmental officials.
In Kunming, China, close to the border of Myanmar, there is an internationally-funded programme to protect and enhance the human rights of persons who have been, or are in danger of becoming, enslaved through human trafficking in 8 communities. The vision is communities where children, adolescents and young adults are safer from the possibility of sexual and/or labor enslavement. These communities will have a high degree of awareness that the problem exists. Parents, young adults and children will be aware of the reality of human trafficking, its impact on their lives, and how to reduce the risk of being enslaved. The community as a whole, including government, business, and civil society, will work together, in a coordinated way, to make their communities safer for children and adolescents. When children and adolescents are subjected to trafficking, the communities will be able to provide the social, emotional, physical, and spiritual care needed to facilitate healing and to prevent further abuse.
The focus of the project is to generate awareness that will lead to action. This awareness includes prevention and protection activities for children, adolescents, parents/caregivers, and community members. There is potential to reach more than three thousand five hundred (2,800) children and adults directly.
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Salvation Army runs “Fight Against Sex Trafficking,” in Kinsahsa, Tshiangu district, which involves a media campaign, microcredit loans to sex slaves (providing alternative sources of income), and the provision of counseling and social services. DRC has a powerful education programme reaching vulnerable young girls, sex slaves and their parents.
The Salvation Army in Ecuador has an internationally-funded project called, “Confronting Human Trafficking through the Development of Community Based Initiatives.” It is based on the concept of community counseling as a way to protect and enhance the human rights of persons who are/have been in danger of becoming enslaved through human trafficking. The process engages community members in creating a shared vision of how they would like to see the community change, and then coming up with a culturally appropriate course of action to achieve that vision. The project aims to enhance the human rights (i.e. right not to be enslaved) of persons who have been, or are in danger of becoming, enslaved through human trafficking in six communities in Ecuador. The objectives included promoting general public awareness of human trafficking as a human rights concern (to promote prevention and protection), creating functioning, sustainable community management structures that can produce a meaningful and sustained reduction in human trafficking in the communities served; and providing basic care and support for human trafficking victims.
In each of the 6 communities, 100 children and adolescents participated in prevention and protection activities, and 100 parents or caregivers (grandparents, foster parents) participated in prevention and protection activities. In each of the 6 communities, 100 people from all walks of life attended community meetings and increased their awareness of the human trafficking issue, and 50 representing various constituencies, professions, and community sectors actively and regularly participate. All children identified as victims of human trafficking are receiving the social, emotional, physical, and spiritual care needed to facilitate healing and to prevent further abuse.
The Salvation Army in Estonia is developing capacity for victim support. They are also involved in awareness about the issue at home league/women’s camps. Several open-air displays have made the general public more aware of the “Stop the Traffik” campaign.
Across Europe, awareness programmes about human trafficking have been taking place. There are also numerous fund-raising projects to support anti-trafficking efforts in “sending” countries. In Scandinavia, there are Salvation Army crisis centres which deal with trafficking cases.
There was a special emphasis on campaigning this issue at the World Cup.
The Salvation Army has a centre in Accra called “Anidaso Fie” which means “place of hope.” This is a vocational training centre for street girls. There are three social workers under the direction of a married officer couple plus trainers in: tie & dye, confectionary & cake making, soap making, jewellery making and money management. There is an HIV testing centre which also serves the community. Young women prostitutes are contacted on the streets when the social workers go out for a field trip once a week. Over time, the social workers build relationships with the girls and offer them the opportunity to come back to Anidaso Fie to learn a trade, get help, and change their lives. The training is four months long, during which time there is regular counselling and at the end they are given a micro-finance loan and encouraged to go back to their home town. Follow up by the staff is also included. In 2005 there were 90 young women admitted to the programme, and 77 finished. As for the success rate; that is yet to be determined. This centre needs to be made residential so that we can include people from other towns.
Research was also conducted by The Salvation Army in small fishing villages to assess reasons for trafficking of children.
In 2005 a People Trafficking Task Force was set up to see what else could be done and it was decided to have an Awareness Campaign. An article was placed in the ‘Salvationist’ publication, and other media outlets are being worked on. Thousands were reached with the awareness programme, which included leaflets and posters. The Salvation Army in Ghana designated an annual ‘Trafficking Awareness Sunday’. One of the divisional leaders has also addressed this issue on television. Territorial Headquarters has sent out some early materials to divisions and districts and will send material and texts later in the year, to help the officers conduct this day with understanding.
India (Mumbai, Kamathipura Red Light Area & 3 other districts)
The Salvation Army runs the Jeevan Asha Project, which started in August 2004, and is a drop-in centre for women and children in prostitution. The programme objectives include: reaching out to 1000 women in prostitution and rehabilitating a minimum of 20 minors, and creating 20 self-help groups. Prostituted women are visited on the streets and in their homes. Many services are available, including counseling, health education and awareness, vocational training, literacy programming, women’s meetings, spiritual meetings, and activities for children. There is follow-up with all women coming to the centre, and community awareness is also included in programming.
Jeevan Asha Project includes a day care centre, with: an education programme for
school going children, play group activities for children of age 3 – 6yrs, games, recreation and meals (for both children and mothers), and health & hygiene education for the mothers and other women. Having services for the children is often an entry point for mothers.
The Salvation Army is in partnership with organizations such as: International Justice Mission, Lawyers Collectives, World Vision and others in order to work on advocacy with the Government. As a result, the police department and the Municipal Corporation women’s and children welfare department is initiating quarterly meetings with NGOS to discus how they can better work together. The team of NGOs works very closely in rescuing and rehabilitating the minors found in the area and in couple of cases the culprits found in the trafficking minors have been put behind bars.
Awareness seminars are being held in all 6 of the India Territories, and India participates in the worldwide call to prayer for victims of sexual trafficking.
There is a new project which includes many international and local partners. It will be implemented in: 1) North Sumatra, particularly the Medan area which is known for sending, receipt, and transit of victims for domestic and sexual service; 2) Central Java, primarily known as a source location; 3) West Java; and 4) Jakarta/Banten. The overall goal of this program is to reduce trafficking in persons in Indonesia by expanding and strengthening necessary interventions and responses at both government and grassroots levels. The two primary objectives are to strengthen the institutional capacity of the government of Indonesia (GOI) to develop and implement policies and procedures to fight trafficking in persons; and to support the active involvement of community-based and faith-based organizations in both the prevention of trafficking and the protection of trafficking victims.
In terms of victim support, the project will establish a referral mechanism to identify existing services and give service providers a list of available programs and services so that they can offer comprehensive services and care for victims of trafficking. The target is to provide support to 100 victims per division per year.
In addition, The Salvation Army in Indonesia will conduct general public awareness campaigns utilizing and expanding on previously developed materials. The target is to reach 10,000 individuals per division per year. Educational Round Tables on trafficking and related issues will be established for community leaders, service providers, religious leaders, educators, provincial government and other stakeholders. The target is to include 500 people per division per year.
In terms of advocacy, the project will develop an inter-disciplinary Advisory Committee that will produce briefs on trafficking and related topics, such as debt bondage and gender bias, and track the progress of anti-trafficking and related legislation and regulations. Information and advice will be given to the Parliament and Government of Indonesia stakeholders, enabling them to make informed decisions. Technical assistance will be given to the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment.
In Italy, The Salvation Army is working on raising awareness about the issue of human trafficking.
A territorial task force on trafficking has recently been established.
In South Korea, there are two centers (Pusan and Taejon) which care for abused women, including those who may have been trafficked. In South Korea, there are also counseling centres at railway stations. These centres are positioned strategically to have a better chance of meeting victims of sexual exploitation.
The Salvation Army’s anti-human trafficking efforts in Liberia are relatively new. Liberia Command’s program started in October 2007 with an awareness campaign in 9 targeted communities. The program is coordinated by 9 Area Coordinators in these communities, and awareness of the issue is still their main priority. The Area Coordinators also coordinate with the local government in their areas of responsibilities. When they find victims of human trafficking they report this to the local government.
An education programme is estimated to have reached 5000 girls so far. A safehouse for girls 12-16 years old has been opened. This is a community-based rehabilitation programme for young girls involved in the trafficking business and other vulnerable children. The Salvation Army’s efforts began by establishing a community based drop-in center at Mchinji town, close to the Zambian Border. Currently there are no other services targeting this group in the town. In addition, the project has conducted sensitization meetings in partnership with the district social welfare office. The meetings will target community police, Traditional Authority, Chiefs, community child labour committees and community-based organizations. The participants are encouraged to form anti-trafficking committees and become key people in their respective communities as far this project is concerned.
In addition, the project delivers counselling services and psychosocial support to the rescued girls, aiming to re-unite them with their families and provide follow up visits after a certain period of time. The proposed project will also assist the girls to build their own future by providing vocational training, income generating activities and education support.
The Salvation Army runs a children’s home in Kuching. Occasionally they have trafficking cases amongst these children.
The Salvation Army in Mexico is working in centres along the border with the United States to fight human trafficking. In Tijuana, for example, there is an extended day care programme. In this area, many parents are crossing the border for work in factories and working long hours. Children are left alone, unsupervised and vulnerable to being trafficked or exploited. By providing a safe place where the children can play, these kids are staying off of the streets and out of danger. At the day care, children are also instructed on how to keep themselves safe. The Salvation Army is running educational programmes such as child-protection training for its staff and for parents in the community. The Salvation Army is also facilitating a neighbourhood-watch programme so that the community can take care of its vulnerable members.
The Salvation Army is working with women in the streets, who may have been internationally or internally trafficked.
The Salvation Army partners with others on an anti-trafficking task force in New Zealand, and they run join events with other churches and non-governmental organizations related to this issue.
The Salvation Army operates a fair trade shop with handicrafts made by poor women (some of whom are former prostituted persons or would perhaps have become prostituted persons) in Bangladesh. They are in the process of trying to establish Sally Ann International (SAI) as a fair trade company. SAI will, among other things, handle requests from territories that are not yet involved in Sally Ann, and will also operate an online shop.
Members of The Salvation Army in Norway participate in marches against sex-trade trafficking.
Papua New Guinea
In Papua New Guinea, The Salvation Army is liaising with the only female member of parliament to make human trafficking a priority for government.
The Salvation Army has a “Human Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation Community Care and Education Program.” They aim to raise awareness about the dangers of trafficking for young women in the community, through The Salvation Army churches. There have been campaigns, workshops with mothers, and educational materials developed. Teams of officers, soldiers and employees visit communities regularly to sensitize them to the dangers of trafficking. Funding has just been released to extend the work with girls rescued from the trafficking trade – providing a safe home for them, medical care, education, psychological support and counseling. There is also money in the budget for prosecution costs. In addition, there is a children’s home in the Philippines that has places for trafficked children.
In Salvation Army venues, women discuss sexual exploitation and the disappearance of girls in their communities.
The Salvation Army runs Gracehaven, which is an institution of care and protection for 150 vulnerable children.
In January 2009, a task team was established against human trafficking. The focus of this team is on training, teaching and awareness raising, which is taking place in Salvation Army halls, schools, churches, and in communities around Southern Africa. Two other initiatives also took place in 2009. The opening of the Beth Shan shelter for victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking, was much needed, and the shelter has already assisted a number of victims. The other event which made a significant contribution in the area of human trafficking, was the launch of the toll free national helpline, 08000-RESCU, which is a shared initiative between The Salvation Army and a disclosure company named BeHeard(c). This helpline is used by the public to report possible cases of human trafficking, and may be used by victims who need assistance.
During 2010 South Africa is privileged to host the FIFA World Cup. Although this is a great event, we are aware that there may be unintended consequences such as a possible increase in human trafficking, caused by an increase in the market for commercial sex, and vulnerability of women and children. After an intensive campaign into the schools, and some exciting marches and other public events against human trafficking, The Salvation Army arranged many kids clubs and other youth events, in order to keep vulnerable children safe during the school holidays. In order to get the anti human trafficking message out, thousands of “red cards” (a soccer/football symbol sending a player off the field) have been printed, containing the helpline number. Water bottles and other items have also been produced, and advertising in the media is used to convey the message that The Salvation Army is working against human trafficking.
South Pacific and East Asia Region
The Salvation Army is planning a needs assessment to discover the size and nature of human trafficking there, in order to make an action plan. Similar projects and investigations are also underway in SubSaharan Africa and Eastern Europe.
There is a shelter for 34 women and children who are sent to The Salvation Army by the courts because of abuse. The Salvation Army has also run an awareness and prevention campaign related to sexual trafficking. The goal of the program is to heighten awareness about the issues of human trafficking and engage communities in the fight against human trafficking; to equip the Sri Lanka Territory’s officers, personnel and soldiers with information, materials and training in order to assist them in developing and then integrating strategies for combating human trafficking into their ongoing ministry and work; and to see lives changed. An awareness raising “train the trainer” was held for 150 officers, soldiers and TSA personnel from three areas (Colombo, Anuradhapura and Hikkaduwa). One outcome of this awareness raising training was to identify a total of 10 individuals from each of the three areas (for a total of 30) who would go back and work with the corps in their areas to build awareness and train others on the issue of trafficking.
The Salvation Army in Sri Lanka wants to partner with other organizations and churches in Sri Lanka working to provide information on the trafficking issue to Parliament and Government of Sri Lanka stakeholders to enable them to make more informed decisions.
The Salvation Army is working with women in the streets, who may have been internationally or internally trafficked.
In the south of Dar es Salaam, The Salvation Army runs Kwetu (“our home”) – a centre for homeless young girls living in the streets of the city, orphans who have been neglected by their extended families and other girls living in difficult circumstances. Kwetu Crisis provides community-based care and counseling. The centre is also a place of training for pastors/officers running the Regional Repatriation Centres in Bukoba, Iringa, Moshi, Mwanza and Mbeya (communities where most of the girls in the sex trade come from). These repatriation centres aim to reunify families, working with the parents and community leaders. There is also an Outreach team based out of Kwetu, where peer educators who have managed to quit their former lives as commercial sex workers are trying to reach out to their less fortunate sisters. They give a message of alternatives to girls who arrive in the city by ferry, bus or rail. Often they come across girls aged 6-13. Based on this need, and in partnership with DANTAN, Kwetu Mbagala Girls Home was opened in December 2000, in Mbagala, a few kilometres from the Dar es Salaam city centre. Kwetu Mbagala is a short-term residence for 30 vulnerable girls. Most of girls staying at Kwetu Mbagala have resumed their education in local schools. The agriculture and poultry project provide girls and staff with some of the food they need, as well as the accompanying life skills.
In addition, in terms of preventative work, Mama Mkubwa (Big Mother) programmes work with orphans who live in villages where The Salvation Army has a presence. They live with extended family members or even family friends. Sometimes team members will assist the parents to make such an arrangement before they die. More than 1,000 orphans are registered with this programme.
There is a territorial anti-trafficking task force─“Call to Arms”─chaired by the Territorial President of Women’s Ministries that meets monthly. The Adult & Family Ministries’ helping hand scheme for 2006 helped raise awareness about human trafficking. The United Kingdom Territory has added its voice to various campaigns by other groups for instance CHASTE (Churches Against Sexual Trafficking and Exploitation) and they have just succeeded in getting the Palermo Protocol ratified by the UK.
Currently the UK police are carrying out a nationwide series of brothel raids known as operation Pentameter – individual divisions and corps (churches) are providing assistance in terms of refreshments, clothing, toiletries and temporary accommodation for the rescued women. One corps (Croydon) has carried out a piece of action research identifying brothels & suspected trafficked women in their area and then used the information to work with the police to organize raids and then care for the women. This model of community action is available as a template to others in the Territory. The Salvation Army is also carrying out research into the issues – our current project is about the health needs of trafficked women in a part of London. In addition to taking action locally, through the International Development Office, several anti-trafficking projects are funded in less developed countries.
United States of America
The Salvation Army in the United States has played a leadership role in anti-trafficking initiatives since 1998. Recently, they created an Anti-Trafficking Training Programme manual, which was government-funded and produced in English and Spanish. TSA took a leadership position in influencing the American government to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (T.V.P.A.) in 2000, and continues, with other allied groups, to advocate politically around this issue. The Salvation Army also took leadership of the I.A.S.T. (Initiative Against Sexual Traficking), which is a partnership of 39 faith-based/human rights/children’s and women’s rights organizations. The Salvation Army created a position at National Headquarters called “Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking” which ensures that momentum for the issue remains, including awareness and training opportunities, recovery services for survivors and public policy work. The federal government funds The Salvation Army in several cities to assist (potentially) trafficked persons in accessing services. The Salvation Army has also created the PROMISE (Partnership to Rescue Our Minors from Sexual Exploitation) initiative, designed to attack child sex trafficking in the United States. The Salvation Army is a member of the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking, as well as STOP-IT (Salvation Army Trafficking Outreach Programme and Intervention Techniques) – a 3 year project in Chicago. There is also a referral project in Greater New York.
The Salvation Army has met with other NGOs and church groups; partnering to address prevention and rescue of people who have been enslaved in the commercial sex industry.
* This list is not comprehensive, in that it is not meant to include all Salvation Army activity in this field.