Upcoming Event: Lancaster Seminary Presents Human Trafficking Awareness Day | Friday, Jan. 24, 2014 from 9:00am -3:00pm
Trafficking in persons is a crime against humanity and ultimately a sin. Human trafficking denies the values of human life, exposes victims to serious health risks, endangers the mental well-being of victims and impedes the ability of victims to reach their full God-given potential. As Christians, we believe that every human being is created in the image and likeness of the divine Creator, of God. The prophets cried out agains the exploitation of the poor and of laborers who are not treated fairly and compensated justly (Job 24:1-12, for example).
The United Church of Christ has consistently upheld the rights and dignity of workers and of women and children, believing that God calls us into community with each other as sisters and brothers, not as exploiters and exploited. The violence done to the physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing of children and women who are forced into prostitution, the pornography industry, sex tourism and other forms of sexploitation are violations of the call of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to love our neighbors as ourselves. The kin-dom of God among us requires us to provide protection for those most vulnerable and to seek conditions which support wholeness and health for everyone.
In a resolution of witness entitled “A Call to Awareness and Action to End the Practice of Trafficking in Persons,” the 27th General Synod of the United Church of Christ called on UCC members, congregations and various settings to of the church to engage in education about the issue of trafficking in persons and advocacy efforts to end this criminal and abusive practice.
As people of faith, we are called to work to end this moral scourge by calling on our political leaders to strengthen U.S. efforts to eradicating trafficking in persons. UCC advocates previously called upon Congress to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPRA) which was signed by President Obama in March 2013. This essential and comprehensive federal law includes provisions that address both the domestic and international dimensions of trafficking, such as funding services for survivors, strengthening law enforcement, and preventing U.S. aid to countries that use child soldiers.
In 2013 there was also a new effort to strengthen the Trafficking in Persons Office at the Department of State. In 2014, keep an eye out for reintroduction of the Human Trafficking Prioritization Act, which was introduced in 2013 as H.R. 2283 and S. 1249 in the Senate. This legislation would elevate the Trafficking in Persons Office to the status of a Bureau—elevating human trafficking and to the status of other important diplomatic concerns. Call your member of Congress today and ask them to co-sponsor similar legislation when it is introduced in 2014.
If you need help or have a tip, call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) is a national, toll-free hotline available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. The NHTRC is not a law enforcement or immigration authority and is operated by a nongovernmental organization funded by the Federal government. In an emergency, call 911.
You can share information about the National Human Trafficking Resources Center Hotline by printing out this flyer and posting it on your church bulletin board.
A Litany of Commitment (Download)
One: Creator and Creating God, we bear your likeness in our souls and in our bodies, having been created in your image.
All: What a wondrous world with wondrous peoples!
One: We enjoy being together - to celebrate, to compete in good spirit, and to cheer on our favorite teams.
All: What fun it can be to watch teams put their best efforts out on the field of play.
One: But, dear God, keep us vigilant as well to things that happen away from the main event.
All: We pray for our sisters and brothers who are trapped by those who would use them for commercial gain.
One: We pray that we will have the courage to transform a culture that tolerates degrading and abusive behavior.
All: We pray for justice for all of God’s children, each one of whom bears divine likeness in soul and body. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
By Rev. Loey Powell
What UCC Churches are Doing Around Human Trafficking
In this section, we will highlight some of the activities our local churches are doing to bring awareness to the issue of human trafficking. Please send information from your church to Rev. Michael Neuroth if you are doing advocacy and awareness on trafficking.
Friedens UCC in Indianapolis, IN, helped start a local group called U-ACT which assists churches and organizations in the area in efforts to end human trafficking. Learn more about U-ACT.
Country Club UCC in Kansas City, MO, is doing ongoing work to raise awareness about human trafficking. It hosted a community conference in 2010 and is doing follow up work.
Human Trafficking Awareness Day
January 11 is Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the United States – a day to bring awareness to the world-wide crisis also known as modern day slavery. The 27th General Synod (2009) approved the resolution of witness, “A Call to Awareness and Action to End the Practice of Trafficking in Persons.” In the call to action, congregations of the UCC are encouraged to observe the Sunday closest to January 11 (Human Trafficking Awareness Day) as a day of prayer, education and action. We invite you to highlight concern for our sisters and brothers who are victims of human trafficking on a Sunday in January close to the 11th.
On December 31st, President Obama declared the month of January 2014 to be National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.