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Stop Human Trafficking
"Human trafficking" refers to the global slave trade. People are entrapped, sold and moved, resold, used, abused, brutalized, discarded, and murdered on a vast scale.

When Arliss was 12 years old, she was deceived by trusted family friends. Together with several other village girls she travelled to a nearby city with the older couple, where they met people posing as recruiters for a modelling agency. Although she grew increasingly uneasy, Arliss was in a strange place and the trusted couple reassured her.

She believed she was in a place called Toronto; maybe a city in Canada.

Soon most of the group was whisked into a van. As they drove off, Arliss realized the couple was not in the van. Her fears were palpable but escape was not possible.

That's how it began. Now she was nearing her 14th birthday. When not "working"—that is, servicing clients as a prostitute—she was locked in a room with four other girls. It was her fifth or sixth place since being sold into slavery by her trusted friends. She had learned some English since her arrival, enough at least to understand the filthy demands of the men—maybe 10 or 15 a day—who defiled and abused her young body. She believed she was in a place called Toronto; maybe a city in Canada. She wondered, Are all Canadian girls as hungry, tired, and without hope? Do they all suffer so?

Naylia had just turned 18. A childhood friend told her about a great job opportunity in Canada. Her friend had connections. Soon she was promised a position as a waitress in a classy restaurant. She would also be required to dance two or three nights per week, but the pay would be excellent. She would have her own apartment and soon have money to continue her education and even buy a car.

However, Naylia's hopes were cruelly dashed when she arrived in Canada from impoverished Romania. The club manager acted more like her owner than an employer. He took all her documents. Apparently she had accumulated $20,000 debt. Even worse, she was required to have sex with the many customers who wanted her. She had a mattress on the concrete floor of a cold, dark basement room into which she was locked the few hours per day when not required to work. Her protests were met with violence and extreme threats against herself and her family in Romania. The manager had pictures of them and addresses.

Global slave trade

It's estimated that 2,500 persons annually are trafficked into Canada, almost all of them women and children destined for commercial sexual exploitation. Another 2,200, it's estimated, are trafficked into Canada in transit to the U.S.

"Trafficking in persons" and "human trafficking" are the labels given to the ongoing global slave trade. Women, children, and men are entrapped, sold and moved, resold, used, abused, brutalized, discarded, and murdered on a vast scale. Some estimate that 27 million persons are enslaved today, and estimates of new persons enslaved annually run from a low of 600,000 to a high of four million. The majority of these are women and children who are forced into prostitution. Many are repeatedly raped as conditioning for their servitude. International criminal organizations reap up to USD ten billion annually from these crimes against humanity.

People who purchase and view pornography, go to strip clubs, purchase sexual services, participate in sex tourism, and purchase goods produced by enslaved persons (some sold in major retail outlets) create the demand and supply the money that undergirds these crimes against humanity. These problems are global and, as long as they are permitted to continue, no country is and no people are immune. There are governments, militaries, legitimate businesses, and police that cooperate with these criminal organizations. In short, these atrocities are woven into the fabric of life—all around the world.

These modern forms of enslavement have roots in the hatred of the devil toward God and all of God's creation. Victory over these evils will be won by the might of the Lord and in His wisdom. How can we help?

• Pray for victimized people and discern how to help them;
• Eliminate demand;
• Love God and our neighbours so our families and communities are healthy;
• Discern who else is fighting this trafficking and with whom we might partner;
• Advocate on behalf of the victimized for improvements in laws and policies.

Note: The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) is monitoring a motion presented to parliament by MP Joy Smith calling for the condemnation of the trafficking of women and children across international borders for the purposes of sexual exploitation, slavery, and oppression.

Cornelius Buller is executive director of Urban Youth Adventures and a member of McIvor Ave. Mennonite Brethren Church, Winnipeg. In his previous work with the Salvation Army Ethics Centre, Winnipeg, Buller was involved with initiatives to oppose trafficking in persons as well as an international weekend of prayer and fasting on behalf of victims of trafficking in persons. See resources available for use at The Salvation Army: Human Trafficking.

Originally published in the Mennonite Brethren Herald,.

 

 
 
 
 

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