Awareness of trafficking in persons as a crime against humanity will become a priority of the local churches, the denomination and, specifically, the Justice and Witness Ministry after General Synod 27 approved a resolution of witness Monday evening.
"Whether we realize it or not, human trafficking is in our neighborhoods," said Lois Powell, a team leader on the staff of JWM, in presenting the resolution at its committee hearing.
She described people who enter the United States under debt bondage or are pressed into prostitution or pornography, international brides and, in the wider world, child soldiering.
"I was recently at Back Bay Mission in Biloxi, Miss., and I asked if they had any awareness of trafficking," Powell said. "[The director] told me that she knew people from Dominican Republic who paid their life savings to get here and they were just dumped."
She added that, because of international awareness, "it is a crime to traffic in persons in this country. What's needed is awareness in law enforcement."
The resolution encourages all the settings of the UCC to become educated about human trafficking and requires JWM to provide educational materials. Finally it urges local congregations to observe the Sunday closest to Jan. 11 as Human Trafficking Awareness Day "through prayer, reflection, education and actions that will assist in bringing an end to these forms of modern-day slavery."