In the conversation on human trafficking, many churches and faith communities are trying to understand their role in eradicating the world from this atrocity. Nearly all Christian faith communities agree that human trafficking, whether for labor or sex, is an injustice that needs to be eradicated (Barnes, 2007). Where the focus of the church needs to remain is on the improvement of the well-being of those caught in trafficking, as well as serving as a bastion of light into the world for human rights (Harf & Lombardi, 2013). Trafficking is a crime against humanity, making it a sin, because it denies the values of human life, exposes victims to serious health risks, endangers the mental well-being of victims and impedes the ability of victims to reach their full God-given potential (United Church of Christ, 2015). The Church who proclaims citizenship in the Kingdom of Yahweh believes every human being is created in the image and likeness of Yahweh himself (United Church of Christ, 2015), and so therefore should allow that to inform their involvement in the human trafficking problem. Many denominations and fellowship have developed social service programs, as well as partnered with other secular programs, to serve and protect survivors (Barnes, 2007) as well as free individuals from the trafficking trade.
It is important, though, that faith communities, or individuals of faith, understand how to engage in this global issue properly. There are 21 million victims worldwide caught in trafficking (Human Rights First, 2016), which poses many challenges and intricacies necessary to understand before engaging in the cause. Activists need to be trained to assess victim readiness for help, build a network with authorities as well as shelters and services, and develop a realistic understanding of what can be done. Without these, intervention could be tragic for the victims as well as the activists (AG USA General Presbytery, 2011).
AG USA General Presbytery. (2011, July). Human Trafficking. Gospel Pub. House. Retrieved from http://agchurches.org/Sitefiles/Default/RSS/AG.org%20TOP/AG%20Site%20(New)/Human%20Trafficing.pdf
Barnes, G. R. (2007). Statement on Human Trafficking (No. 105). San Bernardino, CA: Pontifical COuncil for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Intinerant People.
Harf, J., & Lombardi, M. O. (2013). Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Global Issue (Eight edition). Boston: Mcgraw-Hill Education.
Human Rights First. (2016, January). Human Trafficking by the Numbers. Retrieved March 14, 2017, from http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/resource/human-trafficking-numbers
United Church of Christ. (2015). Human Trafficking. Retrieved March 16, 2017, from http://www.ucc.org/justice_womens-issues_human-trafficking