Today, January 11th, is “Human Trafficking Awareness Day” (nationally recognized and declared by the United States Congress). Since the term “human trafficking” was originally coined in 2000, this form of “modern day slavery” continues to rise. Human trafficking for labor, and for sex, is continually on the rise and is now considered the second largest criminal enterprise in the world, accounting for two-thirds of the world economy. It affects women, men and children, and there are an estimated 27 million people enslaved today. Labor trafficking accounts for two thirds of this number. In the United States, sex trafficking is the more common form, and depends heavily on the demand and willingness of men to pay for sex.
We are all implicated in trafficking in some way, through the products we buy and how labor is procured through the supply chain to make those products. A useful tool for understanding our own involvement in trafficking is the Slavery Footprint. Why not find out today how human trafficking affects you, and others? Take your Slavery Footprint at www.slaveryfootprint.org.
This weekend, many religious leaders have called for a National Weekend of Prayer to End Slavery and Human Trafficking. Please join this effort by praying for all victims of trafficking – men, women and children – for the conviction to change for their slavers and traffickers, for government and religious leaders who are addressing this crime, for social workers, law enforcement and medical staff who work with victims and criminals. Here is a sample prayer, courtesy of the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual:
Prayer of Solidarity
Holy Compassion, you who hear the cries of those in anguish,
Be with us now to bring them to safety and to speak out against those who exploit.
Holy Love, you who shout with us “No” to human trafficking in all its forms,
Be with us now to restore freedom to the trafficked and their families.
Holy Justice, you who rage with us against the injustices of trafficking,
Be with us now to take action to prevent and end this violence.
Holy Wisdom, you who know the worth of every human being,
Be with us as we erase this sinful practice from the face of the earth.
© Diann L. Neu, Co-director of WATER, firstname.lastname@example.org