On the final day of TeenStreet, teens were encouraged to apply the Biblical truths to the world around them to combat injustice. One very relevant issue in today’s world is human trafficking.
It is estimated by Polaris Project that there are about 27 million people in modern day slavery across the world, more than at any time in history. Polaris Project writes, “human trafficking is a crime that often goes underreported due to its covert nature, various misconceptions about its definition and a lack of awareness about its indicators on the local level.”
At TeenStreet, the teens learned about the God of immeasurably more, who “exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on the earth (Jeremiah 9:24).” As his children, we must demonstrate God’s love, mercy and justice.
Human trafficking is a problem occurring in all of the 22 country groups represented at TeenStreet, so the programme team, moved by their own experiences of working with trafficked individuals, strongly believed God wanted them to raise awareness of this secret global scandal.
Human trafficking includes more than just sexual slavery. Although it is the most common cause, other reasons include forced labour and the extraction of organs and tissue.
Vulnerable people such as the homeless, refugees, kidnap victims and drug addicts are unwittingly lured into slavery, tricked by the promise of improved economic circumstances and steady employment. Instead, in many cases women end up trafficked into the sex industry.
Lisa von Blumröder, from the programme team, shares her motivation behind helping fight against and raise awareness of human trafficking.
“We are priviledged to live in freedom. The average age of a trafficked person is 12, those trafficked are younger than most of the people at TeenStreet. It could happen to us, our younger sister, a friend, a relative. I met some women working as prostitutes when I was in Houston, Texas, and I felt so hopeless. I just wanted to help. If one person is rescued, the effort will be worth it. God cares for these people, so we should care too.”
So what can we do to help? With such vast and global problems, the situation can be overwhelming and our efforts futile and insignificant. However, the programme team suggested actions we can all take to help combat this global problem with local impacts:
Be informed! Educate yourself about human trafficking by reading about it.
Raise awareness! Talk to friends, family and colleagues.
Get involved! Participate in an anti-trafficking movement in your area and get involved in its activities and campaigns (e.g hold events, distribute posters, leaflets etc.) in your neighbourhood and in schools
Encourage businesses! Be a responsible consumer! Inform yourself on the labour policies of companies to ensure their products are free from slave labour and other forms of exploitation, If possible, buy fair trade products.
Seek support! If you suspect that someone has been trafficked, report it to the institutions or assistance facilities dealing with human trafficking in your area.
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