12 action steps your corps can take to fight human trafficking

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Human trafficking is the fastest-growing crime on the planet with 20.9 million slaves worldwide, 56 percent of whom are women and girls, according to the International Organization of Migration.

Here’s the good news: since its inception, God raised The Salvation Army as a global pioneer and leader to fight against human trafficking. Today—just as we were in 1902 when we invaded the Japanese brothels and helped to free over 1,000 girls and women—we’re dedicated to fighting this evil and providing safety, justice and holistic restoration to its survivors.

And we all have a role in this fight, including your corps. Corps are our community-based solution to human trafficking—an embodiment of God’s love, a unified group to raise a collective voice and welcome survivors and those on the margins into its family.

Here are 12 action steps your corps can take to fight human trafficking.

  1. Begin to pray

This topic is important to God. Ask questions and listen to God’s spirit speak truth and break your heart for the people affected. Pray inside and outside of the corps. Gather a group of people and drive around town. Pray over schools, truck stops, hotels, massage parlors, and areas specific to human trafficking and people on the margins.

  1. Listen and become informed

Attend local trainings and events. Listen to those who are marginalized. Find out about all of the moving parts connected to trafficking. It’s difficult to have a well-informed anti-trafficking conversation without realizing the implications and impact that gender inequality, racial injustice and migration and immigration systems have on human trafficking. Listen, learn and avoid judgment.

  1. Be inclusive (really)

Most survivors have a history of being some of the most marginalized in our society. Many survivors are foster girls, single moms, undocumented workers, asylum seekers, LGBTQ members, women in the sex industry, or those experiencing poverty. Offering a place of belonging, surrounded by supportive people can limit further vulnerabilities.

  1. Fair-trade your coffee, tea and chocolate

By buying “fair-trade” coffee, tea and chocolate, you promote social justice by ensuring those who harvested your cocoa beans, roasted your coffee beans, and farmed your tea are provided sustainable and prompt wages with humane working conditions. The fair-trade label protects farmers from exploitation, which in return can prevent human trafficking.

  1. Host a city prayer breakfast at your corps

Invite your city’s mayor, stakeholders, and surrounding churches and businesses for a citywide prayer breakfast. See the connections, camaraderie and unity that develop from it.

  1. Join your local human trafficking task force

The Salvation Army can’t end human trafficking alone. The same way traffickers have networks, we, as people of faith have to be that much better and strategic. Every corps and organization has unique strengths. Join your local task force see how your corps can fill a gap. If there is not one in your area, start one with others in your community. We are stronger together.

  1. Support or join a local sex industry outreach

Did you know that there are more women employed by the sex industry than at any other time in history? Whether women in the sex industry are there by choice, coercion, force, or circumstance, they all need support and connection. Find out who is doing what in your area to reach those who are sexually exploited, and be intentional about how you can support…or even join!

  1. Designate a local justice ambassador at your corps

Identify and mobilize a representative of your corps to implement justice-inspired campaigns, trainings and events highlighting how to walk alongside the most marginalized.

  1. Host a BRAVE empowerment event for girls in the foster care system

A shockingly high number of human trafficking survivors are in foster care or are foster graduates. Why can’t the church reach them before traffickers do? BRAVE is a foster-informed campaign inviting churches to reach out to foster girls with messages of empowerment: We see you. You matter. We believe in you. You can do it. We are with you. You are not alone. (See more at newfrontierchronicle.org/brave)

  1. Host an awareness event

Invite other local churches, community members, and key stakeholders to come to your corps and learn about human trafficking. Invite local experts to speak, highlight The Salvation Army’s history, play a documentary, or ask a survivor to come and share about human trafficking (be sure to compensate the survivor for his/her time).

  1. Volunteer with a local group

Ask your local corps officers about volunteering for the nearest program that provides holistic care for survivors. No Salvation Army programs around you? Volunteer with other like-minded organizations fighting human trafficking.

  1. Pay attention, follow your gut and report

Get to know the signs of human trafficking and report things that don’t feel and look right. Add the National Human Trafficking Hotline phone number to your phone contacts (888-373-7888). This number is available 24/7 to help survivors, answer questions and report tips. All tips are confidential and you can remain anonymous. Your job isn’t to be sure it’s human trafficking, but simply to report it.

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