The Salvation Army’s annual day of prayer for victims of human trafficking will be held on September 22, 2019. It’s a day for corps around the world to join together in worship, prayer and action for all those affected by human trafficking, often described as a form of modern-day slavery. Click here for more information and resources to mark the day.
In my work with The Salvation Army’s correctional and justice services in Winnipeg, I encounter the plight of those who have been enslaved, and I also train people to recognize and respond to cases of exploitation. It is difficult work. Glimpsing the depravity of humans toward other humans is disturbing and painful. We need God’s wisdom and help—in fact, I can’t fathom how people cope without divine hope.
Learning about exploitation and human trafficking can be overwhelming. The problem is so big it can be easy to feel paralyzed and then do nothing. But there is much we can all do in our daily lives to combat human trafficking:
- Learn and talk about exploitation and human trafficking.
- Purchase fair trade goods and support community development projects.
- Support global initiatives to reduce poverty and address the rights of women and children, i.e., debt reduction and microloan programs.
- Mentor a young person.
- Support initiatives for poverty reduction and assist vulnerable people in your community, i.e., youth programs, affordable housing, access to public services.
- Get involved in your neighbourhood.
Although there is much work to be done, there is also much to celebrate. I am reminded of reports of women who have graduated from recovery programs, been able to reunite with their families and are speaking out to encourage and inform others. This year, my prayers for the release and restoration of those enslaved and suffering from human trafficking, in our territory and around the world, will also include celebrating the resiliency of the many survivors who have escaped and are moving forward in healing.
The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda Territory remains committed and mobilized in the fight against human trafficking and has launched a new territorial strategy with four goal areas:
- Training. All Salvation Army members, volunteers, congregants, officers and employees in the territory are trained to know what human trafficking and exploitation are and how best to respond to it.
- Public Relations. Effective and efficient communication are in place across the territory to prevent, equip and respond to modern slavery, human trafficking and exploitation.
- Funding and Resources. Necessary funding and resources are in place to ensure the work of the strategy goals.
- Program. Thriving ministry initiatives are in place that address or support all aspects of human trafficking—those exploited (the survivors) and those exploiting (the buyers and traffickers).
Human trafficking relies on complacency to exist—the belief that trafficking doesn’t happen around us, or that it is too big do anything about. Let’s continue to talk, learn and pray against modern slavery, human trafficking and exploitation; to purchase fair trade goods and ethically sourced items; to support global initiatives to reduce poverty and address the rights of people; to support existing initiatives or launch new ones that come alongside vulnerable children and youth, such as youth groups, after-school zones or meal clubs. Let’s end modern slavery.
Dianna Bussey is a consultant in the social services department and leads the territorial anti-human trafficking committee.
Click here for the full text of the new territorial strategy against modern slavery, human trafficking and exploitation (PDF).