Fighting modern-day slavery

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Kenya East Territory holds anti-trafficking seminar.

by Jolene Hodder, Lt. Colonel –

Conference delegates pose for a photo with facilitator Lt. Colonel Helen Starrett. [Photo courtesy of the Kenya East Territory]

With the help of The Salvation Army World Service Office (SAWSO), the Kenya East Territory recently held its first anti-trafficking seminar in Mombassa—a major source, destination, and transit city for trafficking activities. All divisional and district women’s ministries leaders were invited. The territorial social service secretary, who serves as chair for the anti-trafficking task force, and the assistant projects officer also attended. Three well-respected men local officers (who contributed male perspectives to discussions) rounded out the delegate list. Lt. Colonel Helen Starrett, the director of special services for SAWSO, was the facilitator, and NGO (non-governmental organizations) representatives from IOM (International Organization for Migration) and SOLWODI (Solidarity with Women in Distress) came as guests.

Starrett used Hands That Heal: International Curriculum To Train Caregivers of Trafficking Survivors, produced by the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking (FAAST)—a tool designed to inform and inspire churches, communities, organizations, and individuals. The Hands That Heal material equips caregivers with the skills needed to transition survivors back into society with dignity.

During the conference, we recognized that the Army would never be able to meet all the physical, psychological, legal, social, and spiritual needs of these victims. However, the Army corporately and Salvationists individually have vital contributions to make. The anti-trafficking task force is meeting to put together a territorial plan of action, which will include networking with other organizations to develop a safety net and promote individual responses to trafficking.

Conference leaders set aside an evening to pray for the victims of trafficking and the traffickers themselves. We also prayed for God’s direction to our work. I personally prayed that the Lord would reveal his will for me and those who serve with me.

The Lord did not tarry with his answer. Upon my return home, the following Bible verse claimed my attention:

Keep your eyes open, hold tight to your convictions, give it all you’ve got, be resolute,
and love without stopping (1 Corinthians 16:13, The Message).

Now that’s an action plan my co-workers and I can sink our teeth into!

Keep your eyes open
Study God’s Word regarding injustice. Attend a conference on trafficking in your area. Research what other churches and organizations are doing to fight trafficking. Check out the Army’s website ( to learn how to recognize the victims of trafficking.

Hold tight to your convictions
Demand “slave-free” goods. Buy “fair trade” products. Buy products made by human trafficking survivors. Stay only in hotels where there is a “code of conduct.” Challenge corporations to pledge that their products and businesses are “slave-free.”

Give it all you’ve got
Organize a Bible study and encourage preaching on trafficking. Many resources are available. Invite a speaker from an anti-trafficking organization or survivor to speak on human trafficking. Hang human trafficking awareness posters in your community. Contact local shelters to find out if they assist trafficked victims and how your corps can be supportive.

Be resolute
Pray for the trafficked people, for organizations working to free them, for the healing and restoration of rescued victims, and for the traffickers themselves.

Love without stopping
Get to know people. Don’t judge them. Love them—and keep on loving them.

We Salvationists are freedom fighters. We speak and fight for the victims of all forms of human trafficking.

If we don’t, who will?

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