Given that over 51% of people in U.S. attend a faith community, if enough churches synagogues, etc. took effective action, we could end human trafficking. When pastors and rabbis contact us to ask us how to better mobilize their faith community, we direct them to our educational resource page at this site. One critical area is being a community for survivors.. Many survivors of human trafficking go back "to the life" because they can't survive financially or have no community that they are part of. Faith communities can invite them to be part of their singles groups, their bible studies, women's groups etc. where they can make friends The faith community can help them find jobs, a sitter for their children, etc. We need to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. What is often missing with regard to taking action is consistency as ministry leaders change over time. Behavioral scientists tell us that people often need to hear the same thing over and over again before they will act. For instance, there may be people in your faith community who feel called to be foster parents. For many faith communities, this is not a topic that comes up often. If every few years, the pastor or a women's group invites a speaker to come, what happens is that individuals or families may feel called, but the first time they hear the invitation, their response might be.,,,,"I should probably check into that, but I am busy with errands today." The second time they hear it, they feel a greater sense of urgency. The third time even more so. It may take 5 or 6 times before they act. By tying specific actions to a ministry that does the same thing year after year, we create change. Think of the impact if a faith community took an action like that every year for 10 years! Please see our Educational Resource tab for trainings. The one on "How to Create a Dynamic Human Trafficking Ministry" will support your faith community to get started. Here are our guidelines for how to talk to victims or people who you may think are being groomed by a predator/human trafficker that staff can use.
What if the women's group in every faith community made it a point to invite someone from a foster care and mentoring agency to come speak at the service and have a table outside to answer questions. Churches that have a "foster care night" have often been disappointed with the attendance. It is more effective to come to the people rather than asking them to come to us. Many people are called to be foster/adoptive parents but they have incorrect ideas that are preventing them from acting. Single people think they have to be married (not true). Or people think they can't work or be a renter and still be a foster parent. (Neither are true) Or they really want to adopt and add to their family but they can't afford more children and they think the money stops once they adopt. Once their concerns are addressed, people will often take the next step to foster parent. Our director was talking to an infertile couple outside of church and the woman told her that she really wanted to be a stay at home mom and the couple wanted a large family but they couldn't afford it. Once they learned that they would continue to receive a stipend even after they adopted, the woman turned to her husband and they hugged each other and began to weep because they saw they God had another plan for them, that being infertile wasn't a punishment. God just wanted them to take on his most vulnerable children. So they used the money to get a 3 bedroom apartment and took in a sibling set. They are many people like this who will stop by a table that is right at their church after the service If every church did this once a year, we could empty the foster care system! Given that foster children are 70% of human trafficking victims, over 60% of the people in prisons and a significant percent of the homeless. foster care parent recruitment is one of the most important actions a faith community can take.
Men's Groups can invite speakers to teach men how to be leaders in the fight. Given how many homes today are without a father figure, male mentors are badly needed. Men can volunteer for their faith communities youth group and share with both young boys and young women what respect looks like between the sexes. Men's groups can take on equipping men to be good husbands and fathers. This often takes the form of a support group which men find invaluable.
The youth love raising awareness. They could host a Faith Trade table that people could visit after the service with products people buy all the time like coffee, tea and chocolate and tell people where they can buy them. If they did this once per year, eventually that faith community would be a fair trade church/synagogue. The youth group could also invite other youth to their meetings. This would make a huge difference for at risk youth. The youth pastor can set up both parent and teen trainings at their church.
Senior groups often have people in them that are former executives. As a result, they often possess many skill sets that can be used to create a fundraiser for a non-profit. They could host a letter-writing Sunday. It empowers people to provide an opportunity for them to make a difference.
In every faith community, there are teachers, lawyers, health professionals, etc. This flyer offers resources for professionals under numbers 7, 9 and 10. This committee can also encourage volunteering for run-away hot lines, organizations that help at-risk youth, etc. They can also reach out to schools, service groups, task forces and partner with them for many of the actions at our sister site www.togetherwecanendhtorg.