Addressing Roots Causes of Human Trafficking – Strategies for Prayerful Action
“Hope is not the expectation that things will be better tomorrow; hope is the capacity to do the right thing today.” –Mitri Raheb, Lutheran pastor in Bethlehem
EDUCATE ourselves and our communities: ␣ Talk about what we’ve learned! By sharing the personal stories we’ve heard, we can raise awareness, encourage people to consider the seriousness of the problem, and change inaccurate perspectives about the issue. ␣ Shop at the Body Shop, which has a line of products whose proceeds support anti- trafficking organizations and which actively educates consumers about the problem. ␣ Learn to recognize signs that someone is being trafficked. (See The Handbook on Planning Projects to Prevent Child Trafficking at http://www.terredeshommes.org) ␣ Educate women and men in our churches about the issue, pray about it, and discuss what our faith communities can do on the local level.
ADVOCATE for legislation and policies that combat trafficking: ␣ “The political empowerment of women and girls almost universally means less human trafficking.” – Fmr. President Bill Clinton ␣ Support campaigns in the US to protect the legal rights of girls involved in prostitution and trafficking and to help them escape it, gain self-confidence, and learn job skills: o ECPAT USA: http://www.ecpatusa.org/ o Girls Educational & Mentoring Services: http://www.gems-girls.org/␣ Buy a TassaTag (www.tassatag.org) luggage tag to support ECPAT USA’s campaign to prevent sex tourism through building awareness, encouraging the cooperation of businesses, and advocating for policies that protect women and girls in destination countries. The proceeds also go directly to the Thai women who make the tags.
EMPOWER vulnerable women and children: ␣ Support micro-financing organizations, which provide women with economic resources and power, which in turns reduces their risk to become involved in trafficking. Examples: o Grameen Bank: www.grameen-info.org o MicroPlace.com: Invest in organizations that provide loans specifically to women. We especially recommend investing in funds through the Calvert Foundation, a transparent and reliable organization with solid financial statements. ␣ Buy fair trade, which allows women and children to have a sustainable livelihood, which decreases the chances that they will be sold into forced labor/trafficking: o Fruit from Cameroon: http://www.partnersforjusttrade.org/ht/d/Store/pid/178 o HandCrafting Justice: http://www.handcraftingjustice.cedris.org/ ␣ Support the Somaly Mam Foundation (http://www.somaly.org/), founded by a woman who survived years of sex trafficking in Cambodia. The organization seeks to rescue and liberate trafficked women and girls and to empower them as they create and sustain lives of dignity.
RECOMMENDATION FROM WDPIC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE REGARDING WDP RESPONSE TO ROOT CAUSES OF HIV & AIDS AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING
An important part of the work of the WDPIC Executive Committee at our 2009 meeting was the evaluation of the prior Executive Committee’s recommendation to address HIV & AIDS over the period of 2006-09. We discussed ways in which WDP committees have responded to the pandemic through educating communities, supporting existing networks that address the issue, helping churches understand women’s vulnerability, and understanding that HIV & AIDS affect all members of the body of Christ.
We understand that poverty and lack of education are some root causes of HIV & AIDS. As we considered the WDP 2010 service written by the women of Cameroon, we observed that the root causes of HIV & AIDS also contribute to the growing problem of Human Trafficking worldwide. Along with shared root causes, both problems relate to human sexuality. To further our understanding of Human Trafficking, we examined its pervasiveness, the suffering it causes, and the particular vulnerability of women and girls in the 7 regions.
With this awareness, the WDPIC Executive Committee recommends that we as WDP Committees expand our focus on HIV & AIDS to include Human Trafficking.
In particular, we recommend that WDP Committees (1) Educate our members and our communities about the root causes of human trafficking, including but not limited to the ways that they are related to HIV & AIDS:
a. Learn what women are doing in the struggle against exploitation of women and girls, especially as it relates to sexuality. b. Learn what we can do to address the issue in our communities. c. Conduct workshops or programs on human trafficking and/or HIV & AIDS which are suitable in our context.
(2) Identify existing networks and programs which are already addressing the problems and find ways to give our support and work together to empower women and girls. Some examples include:
a. Micro-credit and fair trade enterprises b. Programs that educate women and girls c. Programs that advocate for justice at the legislative level
(3) Help our churches consider the role that stigma plays in contributing to or exacerbating the suffering caused by Human Trafficking and HIV & AIDS and to help them understand ways in which women are particularly vulnerable. (4) Allow ourselves to understand that whenever any member of the body of Christ is suffering, the whole body is suffering.
Our decision to extend and expand our recommended focus on HIV & AIDS to include Human Trafficking results from our awareness of the root causes that contribute to both issues. We encourage WDP Committees to continue exploring and supporting HIV & AIDS work as it can best benefit women in our communities and around the world. Likewise, Human Trafficking causes immeasurable suffering in all regions of the world, and we encourage Committees to address it in their context, cognizant of the root causes.
The WDP 2010 service from Cameroon brings the topic of Human Trafficking to our attention. It is our recommendation that the attention given to this topic in Africa in 2010 will shift to Latin America when we prepare for WDP 2011 from Chile, then to Asia for WDP 2012 written by the women of Malaysia, and then to Europe for WDP 2013 written by France.
In 2014 our efforts can be evaluated by the next WDPIC Executive Committee.