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04/04/2017

What can I do about human trafficking?

Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery involving the movement of victims within or away from their home nation. Victims may be recruited by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion; by deception; through the abuse of power; or with the giving or receiving of payment to achieve their consent, for the purpose (as they later discover) of exploiting them.

Trafficking is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world and the second most lucrative. The European Parliament estimates that the human trafficking industry generates profits of over 117 billion euros per year and that as many as 21 million people are trafficked worldwide, significantly more than the number of slaves transported during the entire transatlantic slave trade. Many of these will have been trafficked within their country or across borders, following the promise of a better life somewhere new. The problem is large and growing.

When asking what the Bible teaches about slavery and trafficking, we first need a clear understanding of the value God places on human life. God created humans in His image (Genesis 1:26). Every life is of great value, carries dignity, and is the object of God's love.

As a result, we are to love our neighbour (Matthew 19:19) including (especially) those in need (Luke 10:25-37). Jesus taught “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12). Proverbs 31:8-9 teaches us to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

How can we practice these biblical principles by helping those trapped in modern slavery? First, we must pray for those in bondage. As James 5:16 notes, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” Human trafficking requires God’s power for any adequate change to occur; we need God's light to shine into dark places in order to expose situations where oppression is occurring.

Secondly, we must speak out on behalf of those in need. Many across our community are quite unaware of the problem and how they may be able to help.

Thirdly, we must act. We can do this by keeping our eyes and ears open to recognise situations where the people we encounter may be being denied their rights and their just rewards for the work they are doing, and referring our concerns to the authorities (by dialing 999, or speaking anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111); we can join with others to pray; volunteer in or give to an anti-trafficking organisation; or speak, perhaps even teach, about the topic where we live and work.

The anti-trafficking team here at King's were thrilled recently to host an event at the Hastings Centre where 25 people from 12 organisations across Hastings and Eastbourne, as well as someone from the immigration service at Gatwick and Folkestone, came to be trained as trainers to spread awareness in the places where they work. A trainer from Stop the Traffik (www.stopthetraffik.org) led us through the afternoon, supported by a representative of the International Organisation for Migration.

We heard recently that as a result of a previous training session we ran, two people were recognised to be victims and were rescued from trafficking in Hastings! May this be repeated wherever anyone is being exploited in our area.

We hope to share more about God's perspective on this issue and how we can recognise the signs of exploitation and coercion in those we meet and build relationships with in future blog posts. Meanwhile please do visit our contact page for additional links and information.

Chris Bunt

Posted by Chris Bunt
06:00


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