What Can Churches Do?
“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?”
Proverbs 24 11-12 NIV
Human trafficking and other forms of exploitation are all around us. Victims may be washing your car, painting your nails, picking your food, repairing your home, begging, working in prostitution or posing in the pornographic photo.
So what can churches do?
- Participate in Freedom Sunday on October 15. Join many other churches across Europe in proclaiming freedom to the captives. All you need to do is:
- Get informed, stay informed and pray. Prayer is the most vital contribution you can make. Check out our prayer list. Watch out in the news and ask Christian projects so that you know the local and national challenges. Consider what the Bible says about exploitation. Follow facebook.com/europeanfreedomnetwork
- Prevent exploitation from taking place in the first place. Poor and vulnerable children, young people and families, including asylum seekers, are most likely to find themselves caught up in human trafficking. The local church is often best placed to reach out into the community, offering a safe space, hope and other support kids’ clubs etc.
- Be a welcoming place for those coming out of exploitative situations. Of course your church is welcoming. But grow that welcoming heart so that you are able to provide unconditional, long term love and support for the hurting. They may not behave “properly”, they may have multiple, practical and psychological needs. But a loving Church family can make all the difference for someone on their walk to freedom and wholeness. Contact us if you need help.
- Support local Christian and other projects already doing a good job to combat human trafficking. Get to know them, pray for them, volunteer, ask them if and how they could train you and your church to do more to help. This could be prayer, prevention, outreach, restoration or advocacy.
- Spot potential human trafficking. Never put yourself or the possible victim in danger by being too bold or directly challenging potential traffickers. Just keep your eyes and ears open. Is a child begging when they should be in school or working in prostitution? Does someone appear fearful of their employer and maybe in a bad physical state? Can you speak to them without being overheard? Ask them about their living conditions and salary, if they have their identity documents, if they are afraid or in debt to their employer? If you suspect trafficking, discreetly note time, date and specifics re location, people’s description and vehicles. Then see our Hotline list for phone numbers to call to report what you have seen.
These are just a few ideas. For many more contact your local Christian project combatting human trafficking or the European Freedom Network.