National Human Trafficking Prevention Month

A week from today, I speak to the student body at Prairie College in Canada.  This blog is a part of what I am sharing with the group. My goal is to provide awareness to a gigantic and evil problem in our world today.

In 2010, President Obama designated January as NATIONAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING PREVENTION MONTH. It was established with the intention of re-dedicating ourselves to the prevention and ending of human trafficking – in all is its forms.

Human trafficking is a 150-billion-dollar per year business, trading in people. It is the third most profitable of illegal industries after drug trafficking and counterfeiting. And two-thirds of those enslaved are trapped in the sex industry.

The supply chain includes fifty million who are enslaved worldwide, by means of abduction, fraud, deception, or the abuse of power to gain control and create dependency.  A primary cause is poverty so intense as to be beyond the understanding of people in the West. The demand for such human slaves includes primarily sexual predators and deviants, those using forced labor exploitation to their own economic advantage and forced marriages.

How can prevention and ending of this malady be accomplished? An economic problem like this requires an economic solution.  That solution is job creation integrated with the Second Commandment of Jesus – loving our human neighbors! Creating safe jobs is critical to ending the cycle of economic vulnerability at the root of this global crisis.

To fight human trafficking and exploitation, we certainly need a strategy that includes an exit ramp. But we also need a strategy that addresses the economic roots of the problem. Freedom Business is that strategy.  So, job creation is preventative and also a solution for survivors.

Freedom Business creates safe employment for survivors and those at risk of human trafficking. Where most businesses seek to hire the best and brightest, Freedom Businesses exist to hire the unskilled and traumatized – those most vulnerable to exploitation. Where most businesses aim to operate in business-friendly locations, Freedom Businesses often go where few businesses operate and employment opportunities are limited.

The Freedom Business Alliance is an alliance of more than 100 Freedom Businesses. It is more than an industry association, it is an industry facilitator, helping its members and others with training, research, awareness, and development.

Sometimes I ask myself, “what would Jesus do if he were to see this in a major city in SW Asia, or anywhere for that matter?” Well he does. Luke 4:18 indicates he came to bring good news and to proclaim freedom. In Matt 25:31-40 Jesus himself says that we are blessed if we give food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, clothes to the needy, look after the sick and visit the prisoners.   In the Great Commandment of Jesus he says “love your neighbor” which certainly does NOT mean ignoring this problem. And one of Jesus’ brothers and an apostle said, “faith without deeds is useless.”  What would Jesus do?  He trusts us to be part of the solution.

So, then we see exit ramps for those enslaved. We see people providing restorative and rehabilitation services and counseling; and we see jobs as preventative and reestablishing.

So, if Jesus would have done something back them; what can we do today?  Here are some ideas:

  1. Be well-informed. Set up a web alert to receive current human trafficking news. Also, check out CNN’s Freedom Project and other sites.
  2. Pray for situations you become aware of and ask God for wisdom about what you can do; how can you change your perspective toward human dignity?
  3. Give to organizations fighting human trafficking; invest in businesses hiring survivors.
  4. Purchase from businesses who hire survivors (e.g. Gifts – check at
  5. Do something like:
  • Be an informed and conscientious consumer org, or check out the Department of Labor’s List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor
  • Volunteer to help community anti-trafficking efforts
  • Take a trip and see what God is doing – help with prevention and recovery
  • Plan your career to create jobs for survivors
  • Use hashtags such as: #endtrafficking, #freedomfirst

Some useful and helpful reading:

Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures

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