Black History Month: Joining the fight for social justice – Human Trafficking (Week 3)

February 14, 2019

The Counseling Corner

By Rev. Judith T. Lester, B.Min. M.Th

“Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Human trafficking, a trade in humans most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery, forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker, is condemned as a gross violation of human rights and blatant disregard for human life. Traffickers of young girls into prostitution in many foreign countries are often “women who have been trafficked themselves. As adults they use personal relationships and trust in their villages of origin to recruit additional girls. In some cases, traffickers approach very vulnerable women (including underage girls) to offer them “legitimate” work or the promise of an opportunity for education. In order to obtain control over their victims, traffickers will use force, drugs, emotional tactics and financial methods. On occasion, they will even resort to various forms of violence, such as gang rape and mental and physical abuse. Sometimes, the victims will succumb to Stockholm Syndrome (which is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them). This is particularly effective with younger victims, because they are more inexperienced and therefore easily manipulated.” (Source: Wikipedia.com).

While we may want to believe that human trafficking and slavery are horrific aspects of our past, this serious abuse of human rights has existed in some form globally and in recent years has made a dramatic resurgence.

Human trafficking is not just a foreign problem, but a domestic one, too. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports people are being bought, sold, and smuggled like modern-day slaves. They are trapped in lives of misery—often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take grueling jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay. The FBI is working to stop human trafficking because of the personal and psychological toll it takes on society.

If you believe you are the victim of a trafficking situation OR you may have information about a potential trafficking situation, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH) at 1-888- 373-7888 or visit them at: http://www.polarisproject.org/what-we-do/national-human-trafficking-hotline. NHTH is a national, tollfree hotline, with specialists available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year related to potential trafficking victims, suspicious behaviors, and/or locations where trafficking is suspected to occur. You can also submit a tip to the NHTH online. The NHTH can assist in identifying resources in Wisconsin and help victims coordinate with local service organizations. Many of the referrals made are for advocacy to ensure rights of those who have been trafficked; transportation to appointments; legal advocacy when reporting being a victim of a crime (e.g. kidnapping, sexual assault, trafficking); sexual abuse/assault advocacy and support groups; domestic violence advocacy and support groups, just to name a few.

Beloved, the bottom line is, human trafficking represents a human catastrophe on a global scale. In addition to being a blatant disregard for human life, human trafficking is also an insult to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Victims of human trafficking who have been turned into illegal and disposable commodities, is the new class of the unreached. Spurred by the call of Luke 4:18, it is my prayer the faith community, community leaders and organizations will continue to respond to this crucial social justice issue by educating and raising awareness of human trafficking to stem the tide of foreign and domestic human trafficking of persons.

Next Week: Conclusion

General Disclaimer: The writer has used her best efforts in preparation of this information. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered. Neither the publisher nor the writer shall be liable in any way for readers’ efforts to apply, rely or utilize the information or recommendations presented herein as they may not be suitable for you or necessarily appropriate for every situation to which they may refer. This information is for educational purposes only. If you would like to contact Rev. Lester, write to her c/o P.O. Box 121, Brookfield, WI. 53008.