Human trafficking is modern day slavery. Each day people are bought and sold as sex slaves in the United States. Others are forced to work menial jobs for low or no wages.
According to the Freedom Youth Project Foundation, human trafficking worldwide generates $32 billion annually. The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that as many as 300,000 American children are at risk of being victimized by some form of trafficking each year.
Many Americans do not realize this injustice is happening in the United States and perhaps even in their own communities. Read an insightful blog post by a concerned flight attendant who works to raise awareness.
As a division of The General Council of the Assemblies of God, U.S. Missions agrees with the fellowship's 2011 Official Statement on Human Trafficking. The U.S. Missions Philosophy of Ministry reflects a "4 P's" paradigm, outlined by United Nations protocol and the United States' Trafficking Victims Protection Act and utilized by the U.S. Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Working in cooperation with this global and national framework, frequently partnering with churches, schools, and other community entities, U.S. missionaries bring a compassionate, Christ-centered approach to the implementation of the "4 P's":
Prevention efforts are a key component of the global movement to monitor and combat human trafficking. Prevention activities come in many forms and encapsulate cross-cutting endeavors.
Protection is key to the victim-centered approach pursued by the United States and the international community in efforts to combat modern slavery. Key victim protection efforts include the "three Rs" – rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration.
Prosecution: The prosecution of traffickers is the third element of the "3P" paradigm by which the world pursues this shadowy crime. The Trafficking In Persons Report assesses individual countries’ efforts to prosecute trafficking offenders, as per the TVPA's minimum standards.
Partnerships: Combating human trafficking requires the expertise, resources and efforts of many individuals and entities. It is a complex, multi-faceted issue requiring a comprehensive response of government and nongovernment entities in such areas as human rights, labor and employment, health and services, and law enforcement. It requires partnerships among all of these entities to have a positive impact. Partnerships augment efforts by bringing together diverse experience, amplifying messages, and leveraging resources, thereby accomplishing more together than any one entity or sector would be able to alone.
The U.S. Department of State recently released its "2016 Trafficking in Persons" report. This informative document provides updates on which countries are doing the most to combat this horrific crime, progress that has been made, and work that still needs to be done.
You can download the report for these and many other details.
Facts and statistics from The Polaris Project - Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the 1800's in the U.S., this project pulls together data along with a variety of initiatives and ways to help.
How does your state rank in terms of key legislative components designed to respond effectively to the crime of domestic minor sex trafficking? See Shared Hope International's "State Report Cards" to find out what areas are being addressed and what still needs to be done.
Visit the FBI website for additional information and links to other government resources and agencies working to collect data, prosecute traffickers, and improve services for victims.
Human trafficking is not limited to the sex trade. Labor trafficking is also a very real problem in the United States, with workers being forced into various work venues for low or no wages. Common venues of exploitation include agriculture, hospitality, domestic service, construction, and restaurants. For a thorough analysis of labor trafficking in the U.S., including recommendations for raising awareness of the problem and proposed solutions, see the Urban Institute's research report, "Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States."
Michael Bartel, U.S. Missionary, F.R.E.E. International
Paul Palmer, U.S. Missionary, Atlanta Dream Center
John Battaglia, Capitol Commission, State of Missouri
Jeanine Sullins Holder, U.S. Missionary
Sandra Morgan, Director, Global Center for Women & Justice, Vanguard University
Read here about an exciting new unified effort as Night Light International's Atlanta staff joins the Atlanta Dream Center, to create even more opportunities for effectively reaching the exploited or vulnerable in Atlanta!
CMC Member Sandra Morgan shares three ways churches can evaluate their strengths and resources and partner to make a difference right in their neighborhoods: See "How Churches Can Fight Human Trafficking and Slavery in Their Own Backyards," from Influence. Read more from Dr. Sandra Morgan, here.
Host a screening of the documentary film "Sex & Money." Host packets for churches include a pastor's guide and tips for collaborating with other agencies in your community for prevention and awareness.
In just a few clicks, you can download "The 4 Worst Choices a Teen Can Make" from The Freedom Youth Project, and in just five minutes, you can share it with your youth group. You never know when one of your teens might be considering a life-changing decision.
The Department of Homeland Security's Blue Campaign offers a brief but informative Human Trafficking Awareness Training--good for a small group discussion starter or to introduce the topic to a congregation.
The U.S. Department of State has produced a list of "20 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking," .
Many incidents of trafficking of minors in the U.S. start with unwise choices via the internet. Encourage your congregation to check out faith-based accountability software such as Covenant Eyes, to help families stay informed about their children's online activity.
The Salvation Army offers a comprehensive training program. Visit their website to learn more about hosting a training program in your area.
Triple S Network: A coalition of organizations dedicated to the fight against sex slavery in the United States. Sign up for their newsletter to stay informed about training events and resources.
Many churches have members who have been sexually abused, whether through trafficking or otherwise. Helping these people heal and restoring them to faith in God and community with others is a formidable task. Download "Spiritual Formation and Sexual Abuse: Embodiment, Community, and Healing," by Dr. Andrew J. Schmutzer of Moody Bible Institute, for a thorough discussion of the spiritual issues facing victims and ways their faith communities can contribute to their healing.
Whether you have a few minutes, a few hours, or an entire committee for long-term involvement,
your church can do something to help. For more ideas,
request a copy of "Tips for Churches" at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Study the issues, build your expertise, and earn a professional certificate with a comprehensive overview of anti-trafficking efforts - Vanguard University's online anti-trafficking certificate will give you the training you need to identify and implement best practices in community efforts.
Innocents at Risk: Nonprofit organization dedicated to educating citizens about the trafficking issue and mobilizing churches, civic groups, and individuals to help raise awareness in their communities. Their Airline Initiative training program, founded in cooperation with a concerned American Airlines flight attendant, teaches flight attendants to spot victims and report the activity.
Be an informed consumer: Check out the 2016 Dirty Dozen List from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation for a list of companies whose policies facilitate, normalize, or protect access to pornography and other forms of objectification and exploitation. On the positive side, the watchdog group also reports victories: companies who have improved their policies or made a commitment to protect human dignity. Also see "The Fashion Revolution" and www.thegoodtrade.com for ways to buy carefully and know whether the workers who made your clothing received a fair wage and safe working conditions.
For an hour-by-hour summary of how much daily life is affected by human trafficking, download the State Department's "A Day in Your Life: Touched by Modern Slavery."
Rescue and Restore Regional Programs from the Administration on Children & Families (Department of Health & Human Services) - Training and grant opportunities for local anti-trafficking coalitions.
Grant Programs from the Office for Victims of Crime: Services to Victims of Human Trafficking Initiatives
Training: The Office of Victims of Crime arranges training opportunities by request for professionals in a community who serve crime victims.
From the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAAST) - "Hands That Heal" curriculum for training caregivers of trafficking survivors.
Freedom Collaborative: Database of anti-trafficking organizations, state and local coalitions, victim service providers, and more, to facilitate working together. "Connectivity to end human trafficking."
Victim Services in Rural Law Enforcement - This special publication from the Office for Victims of Crime addresses the particular needs and challenges of rural areas in identifying and prosecuting crime and providing victim advocacy and care.
NightLight International: addressing the complex issues of commercial sexual exploitation through prevention, intervention, restoration, and education.
Shared Hope International - Partnerships, resources, ideas for increasing awareness
Nurture Hope Network: The Assemblies of God World Missions anti-trafficking network for training, resourcing, and equipping missionaries, pastors, and churches.
Sample Memorandum of Understanding for collaboration between agencies and ministries
Florida's Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships: Working to educate medical providers, library staff, educators, and others in positions to recognize signs of trafficking. Use their materials and ideas to create community awareness projects in your area.
Compassion Link (Assemblies of God World Missions)
Interested in buying responsibly from companies that do not have labor trafficking in their supply chains? Check out the Global Business Coalition Against Human Trafficking or the Department of Labor's List of Goods Produced by Forced Labor or Child Labor.
Truck drivers have a unique view of our nation from its highways. Ask truck drivers you know to visit the Truckers Against Trafficking web site and become educated in how to recognize trafficking.
"Empower Teens" from iEmpathize - empowers youth to recognize and respond to vulnerabilities and issues of exploitation.
Love146 - teaching youth how to recognize recruitment tactics, understand vulnerability, and access resources.
"Think First & Stay Safe" from Child Lures Prevention - Developmentally appropriate curriculum for teaching personal safety, digital citizenship, drug resistance, and more.
"Human Trafficking 101 for School Administrators and Staff": This concise downloadable PDF from the federal government's Blue Campaign explains the difference between trafficking and smuggling, lists warning signs, and tells educators how to proceed if they suspect trafficking.
A21 Campaign's "Bodies Are Not Commodities" curriculum designed to educate high school students about human trafficking.
Department of Education report: Human Trafficking in America's Schools (downloadable PDF)
Think First & Stay Safe: Developmentally appropriate curriculum and lesson plans aligning with National Health Education Standards, along with parent guides. Covers personal safety, digitan citizenship, drug resistance, bullying prevention, and more.
What Schools Should Know (Orange County, CA Task Force)
Educator resources from NetSmartz, a service of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Team Hope: This volunteer team coordinated through the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is composed of family members who have lived through the horror of having a missing or exploited child. They provide peer support and coping resources for families experiencing this crisis.
Jesus Said Love: Why Christians should reach out to women trapped in the sex industry. Includes a compelling video about the objectification of women worldwide. Visit their online store for T-shirts, jewelry, and more, with profits going to a transition fund for dancers exiting the sex industry.
Numerous studies underscore the importance of addressing trauma when dealing with trafficking victims. The Department of Health & Human Services has compiled suggestions for medical, law enforcement, and legal personnel: "Treating the Hidden Wounds: Trauma Treatment and Mental Health Recovery for Victims of Human Trafficking"
No Boundaries International: Faith-based intervention strategies, trauma-informed care for trafficking survivors, training for volunteers
Veronica's Voice: Survivor services, offender accountability re-education, and awareness programs.
Mercy Multiplied: Help and hope for survivors of the sex industry
Help publicize this number and increase awareness! You might
help save someone.
If You See Something, Say Something Campaign from the Department of Homeland Security
National Runaway Safeline 1-800-786-2929
Far too many parents admit to simply presenting their children with a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, without cautioning them as to the risks involved. Read Vital's article, "Guarding Our Kids Online: How to Make Technology Safer," for some alarming statistics--and suggestions for making sure your kid isn't the next victim.
Is pornography as addictive as drugs? Does it fuel the market for human trafficking? Get facts and resources at FighttheNewDrug.org. Also check out the podcast, "Pornography: A Public Health Crisis" from Vanguard University's Global Center for Women & Justice.
With more children and teens carrying smartphones and using computers unsupervised in their bedrooms, youth are viewing pornography at an alarming rate. This blog post gives links to frightening new statistics and reminds parents that we must be vigilant.
KidGuard.com - Intuitive cell phone monitoring to address safety concerns about cyberbullying and predators.
PureSight - online child safety resource for computers and mobile devices, plus resources for conversations with kids about safety
Many trafficking victims are threatened with deportation as a means of control by their abusers. They do not realize that they have rights under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. "Continued Presence" immigration status provisions can help provide the stability and security a victim needs to live in the U.S. and start rebuilding a life, working, and receiving victim services, while serving as a valuable contributor to the case for prosecution against their traffickers.
The Polaris Project: Named after the North Star which
was used as a guide for slaves escaping to freedom,
this government initiative brings together the services of
multiple entities and different federal departments into
one accessible source.
List of U.S. Attorneys: Visit the website for your state or
district for updates on prosecution of human
trafficking in your area.
Department of Education Fact Sheet for Schools
HHS Resource Guide for Service Providers: Services
Available to Victims of Human Trafficking
Department of Homeland Security: Blue Campaign
The National Runaway Safeline: Crisis intervention for
The State Department: 20 Ways You Can Help
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services fact
sheet and resources
Posters and Brochures: Office of Refugee Resettlement
Trafficking Awareness campaign
Office of Refugee Resettlement, Rescue & Restore
Campaign: List of local and regional coalitions