Human trafficking is the illegal commerce in human beings for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labour - a modern-day form of slavery. It is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, and tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest after the drug-trade. Today there are between 12 and 27 million people trapped in forced labour, bonded labour and sexual slavery in the world. Nearly 80% of those trafficked are used for sexual exploitation.
In 2009, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) created a taskforce on human trafficking in an effort to raise awareness on this issue. The aim of the taskforce is to prevent and combat trafficking by developing strategic and effective actions and tools that will help equip local churches and their leaders to become responsive to the victims of human trafficking.
Answers to Prayer
Compassionate men and women have created businesses that offer a future and a hope to people who need a means to support themselves. Vocational training and the development of businesses which embrace God's purposes - and the women and men He has created - are key to prevention and an essential part of restoration for those vulnerable to and victimized by human trafficking.
There is an increase in anti-trafficking legislation in countries around the world. Pray for the just and consistent application of such legislation, adequate training for officers of the court and the political will and courage to see prosecutions to trial. Trafficking rings are often connected to very powerful and influential organized crime rings.
Challenges for Prayer
Human trafficking is accelerating globally. The trade in human beings has now surpassed drug smuggling as one of the most profitable businesses in the world. A disproportionate number of women are involved in human trafficking, not only as victims but also as traffickers. Female offenders have a far more prominent role in present-day slavery than in most other forms of crime. Pray for both the trapped and the traffickers, especially former victims who have become perpetrators. Pray that God would frustrate the efforts of those who make a living from the suffering of others.
Labour exploitation. Men are victims of trafficking, too. Many countries allow employers to seize the passports of their employees, increasing vulnerability to human rights and labour violations. Also, up to 10-15% of those working in prostitution in Thailand are men, a number of whom have been trafficked for such purposes.
Internal trafficking is growing inside many countries, making it much more difficult to identify victims and prosecute offenders. China is particularly culpable in this area; true figures for internal trafficking are substantial but undocumented, but most of the girls have been trafficked from other areas in China. Traffickers themselves report that it only usually takes one month to keep a girl under tight restrictions and then she is broken and surrenders herself to her captivity. There are currently around seven million prostitutes in China alone, and research has found that 80% of them were trafficked or forced in some way when they first started. A new trend is the appetite for girls 14-15 years old. The trade in virginity is very profitable in much of Asia. Traffickers employ handsome young men to bring the girls in; this lover then gets a cut from the girl’s income. A large part of the overall problem faced is corruption. Traffickers and brothel owners will be arrested but face small sentences and, with the right connections, can pay themselves out. Those who perpetrate such exploitation often have no understanding of just how wrong what they do is.
Sex tourism is burgeoning as the global financial crisis makes travel to some areas of the world a bargain at the same time that unemployment and growing desperation make women, children and families even more vulnerable to exploitation. Pray for the following specific situations.
Girls and sometimes boys in India are married to gods at an early age and end up in brothels. Many contract HIV/AIDS and die very early - by age 15 or 16. Is it another form of human sacrifice? Pray for the spiritual dimensions of this destructive practice to be broken by God. Even 8-year-old girls are for sale now in places. Pray for rescue of the children involved.
The demand for prostitution in Thailand must cease. Thailand draws vulnerable women and girls into its borders to satisfy Thai men, foreign sex tourists and "expatriates" alike. Contrary to what is most visible, the vast majority of prostitution in Thailand (over 90%) caters to Thai clients. Presently most ministries reach out to those women and men working as prostitutes who service foreign clients. Pray that God might raise up ministries, especially Thai-led, to those men and women servicing Thai clients. Pray that the Church would take a stand for sexual purity. Pray that public policy makers would implement justice and effective policy that addresses those who use prostitutes, and not just the sex workers themselves. Widespread corruption within the police and government helps to perpetuate this ubiquitous structure of wickedness.
Eastern Europe and the Central Asian states situated on the Silk Road are highly vulnerable to sex trafficking. A combination of poverty, lack of moral grounding, strong organized crime rings and weak governments work to exploit tens of thousands of women. While every Eastern European country struggles with this challenge, it is mainly though Kyrgyzstan that trafficking of girls from the whole of Central Asia occurs to the Gulf States, Turkey and Europe. One large problem faced is corruption in state structures which prevents their effectiveness in combating trafficking. Churches are young and unaware of the problem, and they are not ready, able or willing to actively press for solutions. The political situation in the country does not currently allow for government collaboration on this issue.
The hidden nature to prostitution and trafficking in the US, Western Europe and other developed nations needs to be brought into the light. There is a lack of awareness regarding the connections between prostitution and trafficking, as well as the degree to which most cities and neighbourhoods house trafficking activity. Western culture has become so accepting of the exploitation of sex and sexuality that the danger exists of making prostitution and sexual degradation normative.
Praise God that more churches, organizations and even governments are beginning to combat the global demand for commercial sexual and labour exploitation. Pray that God would change the hearts of those who commodify others for their own gain.
Victims returning to their homes and countries of origin experience ongoing difficulties in reintegration. Leaving prostitution and trafficking is not only incredibly difficult but complex and often requires a huge amount of support. Pray that families would not shun daughters that society tells them are ruined. Pray also that the Church would become a family to those feeling without help or hope. The global Church, operating locally, can be a powerful force in the battle against human trafficking, and for the restoration of its victims. Pray for the faithful Christians who leave their homes to visit dark streets and give hope and help to women forced to sell their bodies, and for the believers committed to walk and work as their companions on the long journey of restoration.
Christian response to the issues surrounding human trafficking and the people involved varies by country. Pray for the following specific situations, which are just a few prominent examples among many:
Spain. Thank God for evangelical Christians in Spain who approached the major political parties in their country to ask what they were planning to do about prostitution. "If you will draft a legislation that is good for women in Spain," the Christians were told, "we will bring it to Parliament." Pray for continued governmental co-operation and for legislation that bears good results.
India. Christians and churches in India are making conscious efforts to address issues related to prostitution and human trafficking, but it has been a struggle at every stage. While there are positive signs of redemption and rehabilitation for victims, there is still a struggle to help the Christian community accept these rehabilitated people and especially arrange marriages for the young adults. The Indian Church has not fully welcomed them into fellowship in many places.
United Kingdom. We praise God for those churches - particularly the emerging ones - that are making conscious efforts to fully accept those formerly caught in trafficking rings and to disciple them. There are over 60 church-based projects that provide this and other support across the UK. Despite the increased awareness of the problem, however, many of these projects are laying off staff due to lack of funds. Please pray for a well-equipped and sustainable Christian outreach to flourish.
Philippines. Pray for more labourers to reach out to the hundreds of thousands of women, men and children trapped in prostitution in the Philippines. Pray also for the few Christian organizations already working there: Kalinga Ministry, YWAM-Olongapo, RENEW Foundation, FOCUS, Samaritana, Sinalikway Outreach, Christian Cultural Development Foundation and Sinag.
We follow the Son of Man, who came to seek and to save the lost. As we pursue His purposes in these dark places, we can be confident that the darkness has not, and will not, overcome Him.
This information was taken from Operation World