Bulletin #7: April, 2017
What is human trafficking? Human Trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to compel another person to provide labor, services or forced sex acts without any benefit to the person preforming the services. When minors are involved it is always trafficking and illegal. It is being fueled by a demand for cheap labor, services and commercial sex -- basically it is driven by greed and power. In addition to people who are trafficked across U.S. borders, the Department of justice estimates that 83% of people trafficked in the United States are United States citizens, with 40% of trafficking victims being minors. In fact, each year between 100,000 and 300,000 teenagers between the ages of 12 and 14, are at risk of being trafficked for commercial sex here in the United States. Human trafficking for forced labor has been widely reported in industries where manual labor is needed, such as; farming, ranching, logging, mining fishing, and brick-making – and in service industries working as dish washers, janitors, gardeners and maids. Slavery today is cheaper than ever, because unlike guns and drugs, women, boys, girls and men can be sold and re-sold.
Here’s An Applicable Scripture:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Luke 4:18-19
The anointing of the Holy Spirit is a dynamic force that will break chains of all types whether they are spiritual, mental or even physical. We are called as believers to seek this anointing of the Holy Spirit so that we can continue the chain-breaking ministry of Jesus until he returns and this includes the liberation of men, women and children from slavery and human trafficking situations.
Trafficking Is Near You:
New England is not immune to the human trafficking crisis. In fact, Massachusetts was one of the last states in the nation to enact anti-human trafficking laws. Anti-trafficking investigations have led to arrests of people charged with smuggling women into Massachusetts for the purpose of prostitution. The victims are not only foreign born, they are young teens as well, and much of this is happening right in our midst. International trafficking is also on the significant rise due to radical jihadist sects, such as Boko Haram and ISIS, kidnapping and selling people for a profit to fund their terrorist activities. Churches are seen as safe places to ask for help. Churches and their members all across this region and their international affiliates should be fully trained to recognize the signs of a person being trafficked and should vigorously oppose any organization either local or afar that benefits from the trafficking of human beings.
Trafficking Case Study: Giant Labor Solutions
Giant Labor Solutions was a criminal enterprise that fronted as a labor subcontractor for housekeeping, recruiting hundreds of workers from overseas. The traffickers used false information to acquire work visas and after the worker signed contracts, they intentionally allowed these visas to expire – resulting in the workers having illegal status in the United States. The victims were coerced to work against their will with threats of violence, deportation and withholding of wages. The victims worked as front desk staff, housekeepers and even in the hotel’s marketing department. The affected hotels were located in Wyoming, chains we all would recognize -- Holiday Inn and Sleep Inn and Ramada Plaza.
Visit www.slaveryfootprint.org and take the survey which estimates how many slaves work for you based on the items you have in your home. Then gather a group of friends together to discuss ways you can change your consumption to reduce your slavery footprint.
Esther Circle Activity:
Both of these videos highlight that everyday people can get unwittingly caught up in trafficking schemes. It isn’t an issue for just foreigners or runaways. Consider ways you can advise men and women, particularly youth, how to avoid dangers of human trafficking.
Memorize and discuss the indicators of human trafficking in this chart:
Doing different work than was contracted
Recruited through false promises
Living and working on-site
Number of guests exceeds room limit
Group transport to/from job site
Unpaid or paid very little
Exorbitant fees deducted from paychecks
Sex and Labor Trafficking
No knowledge of current or past whereabouts
Signs of physical or sexual abuse
Signs of poor hygiene, malnourishment, or fatigue
No freedom of movement or monitored movement
No control of money, identification, or phone
Exhibits fearful, anxious, or submissive behavior
Extended Activities You Can Do:
The Abolitionist Network at Emanuel Gospel Center has written an Exploitation Response plan worth reading. Click here to access.
After reading the response plan, consider organizing your church, organization or a group of people to receive training on how to recognize the signs of human trafficking.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline: 1-888-373-7888