Did you know?
– Human trafficking is the fastest growing form of international crime.
– Approximately 27 million people around the world are enslaved.
– In the U.S., it is estimated that 300,000 are victims of human trafficking.
– Top states for human trafficking: California, New York, Texas, Florida and North Carolina.
– Atlanta is the number one hub of child trafficking in the United States.
More than 50 people learned statistics like these, as well as tips on how to spot signs of trafficking and ways we can help at today’s workshop session on Human Trafficking.
“People are seen as products that are being bought and sold,” said Lindsay, one of CBF’s field personnel serving in Southeast Asia. She headed up a panel of experts who are bringing the issue of human trafficking to light, including Kristen White, Student Missions Coordinator for the WMU of Virginia, Lita Sample of California Against Slavery, Sandra Johnston of the Triad Ladder of Hope Ministry and Ryan Clark, a newly-appointed field personnel who is headed to Southeast Asia and is involved with some human trafficking ministries in Atlanta.
What stood out most about the group in attendance? There were as many men as women in the audience, and the average age was 40-50, not just twenty-somethings.
The common thread reiterated by each panel member was the importance of education – what human trafficking is, what it isn’t, and how churches and communities can get involved. “Sometimes we hear about trafficking and don’t even realize it,” Lindsay said. “Child prostitution or child neglect can actually mean human trafficking. We need people to look at the issue with new eyes.”
It’s not just our church members and communities that need education – Lindsey works to educate children in Southeast Asia about safety and protection. “We are having to turn an entire culture on it’s head,” she said. “Just teaching a child that he or she has worth, and that his or her body is their own is completely new for many of these children.”
To learn more about human trafficking and how to get involved, visit these sites:
Editor’s note: Due to global security concerns names and specific locations of some of CBF’s field personnel will not be publicized.