If you think slavery ended in 1865, think again. Today, modern-day slavery is called human trafficking. And although awareness is growing about this issue, it remains the second largest and fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world.
What is human trafficking? Simply stated, it is a form of slavery that involves the use of force, fraud, and/or coercion for the purpose of forced labor or sexual exploitation. Also, if a person is a minor (under 18 years old) and they are exploited sexually for money, they are considered victims of human trafficking whether or not coercion was involved.
Not long ago, I had never heard the term “human trafficking.” But over the past few years, my awareness increased as it did for the rest of the country, even the world. Throughout the United States, January is designated as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month, with many states, including New Jersey, observing January 11 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
The numbers are staggering, and the problem seems overwhelming, but great strides have been taken, including New Jersey’s own Human Trafficking Prevention, Protection, and Treatment Act, signed in to law on May 6 2013, which serves as a model for other states to follow.
Awareness is for everyone, not just law enforcement. Together, we can end human trafficking. <<Click to Tweet
The New Jersey Coalition Against Human Trafficking is a grass roots movement comprised of over 100 member organizations, including my own – Justice Network. We are working with the Church Abolition Network to present a free Human Trafficking Summit on Saturday, January 16. The Summit begins with the FBI's Human Trafficking 101 course. There are breakout panel sessions for everyone from students to law enforcement, teachers, parents, community leaders, travel industry professionals, healthcare workers, survivor service providers, school administrators, truckers, and more – including testimonies of survivors and simple action steps you can take. 3 LMN CE credits will be available to healthcare professionals who attend.
In the Bible, Mordecai advises his cousin, Queen Esther, to speak up for her people in captivity,
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
We are in a position to speak up for the oppressed and marginalized in our society. If we don’t, God will use someone else, but we will miss out on the opportunity to serve God.
There are many things that we can do in simple ways to make a difference.
- Be proactive. Check out 5 things you can do to stop trafficking at Justice Network.
- Be active on social media, particularly in January. Check out the HT Challenge at www.htchallenge.net for content to share leading up to the Super Bowl. Visit Love True for their “It Could Be Me” awareness campaign in January.
- Be alert. Report suspicious activity to the national hotline: 888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733).
- Be informed. Attend the summit. Research online. Go to meetings.
- Be conscientious. When shopping, seek out and/or read labels to look for fair trade items, especially coffee and chocolate.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim that
captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free..."
Susan is a Jewish Jersey girl who loves Jesus, her family, the ocean, and mangos. Her passion is to bring an eternal perspective to earthly matters seeing God in the mundane as well as the crisis. Susan shares this perspective through writing, speaking, teaching, and coffee dates. A recent empty-nester who works with her chiropractor husband, she thoroughly enjoys when her children return home, with or without all their friends. Susan is a speaker, women and children’s Bible teacher, and writer. Read her #FaithStory HERE.