Human Trafficking: Churches Must Move Beyond Awareness
Although the Church excels in bringing awareness to the gravity of human trafficking it must do a better job of mobilizing people to strategically fight the problem, said author and social justice advocate Danielle Strickland recently.
“I think the commodification of human beings is one of the gravest and most intense issues of our time,” Strickland told TogetherLA (VIDEO BELOW) before she spoke on stage at Catalyst West in Irvine (April 12-13). “I really feel like history is going to shine a light on this season of the Church and ask, ‘What did you do about it?’”
She said the Church is “a good place to start but it’s a bad place to finish,” when it comes to moving beyond simply knowing the problem exists.
“The strategy work is where I think we actually need some help, the actual mobilization of people,” Strickland explained. “I think there’s lots of room to improve. There’s safe houses that need to be established. There’s survivor recovery services, outreach and prevention.”
Strickland helped the Salvation Army launch SA Justice based in the Los Angeles area several years ago and is now ambassador for Compassion International. She is co-founder of Infinitum, Amplify Peace and the Brave Global Campaign.
She told TLA that one of the key elements of fighting human trafficking is partnership.
“It’s partnership with community, it’s partnership with anybody really, other churches, other organizations, the NGOs, task forces, homeland security, social services, and really creating partnerships where we work together because the crime is really bigger than any of us,” Strickland said.
Seventy to 80 percent of domestic sex trafficking victims in American cities come from the Foster Care system, she said. The statistic could be taken as “paralyzing information, but on the other end, it’s exciting because we know their names. We had this idea that if exploiters can target vulnerable girls for exploitation, why can’t the church target vulnerable girls for redemption? And of course, we can,” Strickland explains. “So, it’s kind of this brave strategy that’s a church based strategy to mobilize the whole church.”
The Brave Global Campaign is about mobilizing churches to reach vulnerable girls before they’re trafficked.
“Ultimately, the answer for that stat is adoptive families, safe families, Foster Care, but the question is not what do families do, but what does the church do? So we came up with this campaign called Brave where churches create catalytic events in partnership with the local community to actually get the girls at risk of trafficking and say, ‘Hey, we think you are the solution and not the problem.”
She adds, “I feel it’s a time when the Church has an answer with the sacredness of humanity. That every life matters to God because everyone was created with the sacred image of God inside of them, and so to acknowledge that, to recognize that, means that we fight things like slavery and trafficking and injustice.”
[bctt tweet=”It’s a time when the Church has an answer with the sacredness of humanity. That every life matters to God because everyone was created with the sacred image of God inside of them. – Danielle Strickland #humantrafficking ” via=”no”]