Starting in 2010, January has been a month focused on the prevention of human trafficking, so we invite you to take time to learn more about human trafficking this month and to think of one way you can help prevent this terrible crime. Whether you’ve learned a lot about human trafficking already or if you’re new to learning about it, the first month of the new year is a key time to continue growing by committing to learning more! You can make a difference by praying, listening, and acting.
While it is challenging to measure the number of victims of human trafficking because this is a crime that thrives in secrecy, the current estimate used by the US Department of State is that more than 27.6 million people are being trafficked. In this staggering number are adults and children, those in the United States and those abroad, and each is an individual made in the image of God. Each of us has an important role to play in fighting human trafficking and dismantling the systems and circumstances that perpetuate this crime. One of the ways you can begin the year is through prayer. Sit with us and pray for all of those who are being trafficked. Pray for a way out of abusive situations. Pray for healing for survivors of trafficking. Pray for God’s light to shine in dark situations.
Human trafficking is a complex crime that often defies the stereotypes of what we expect, which is why a survivor-informed approach to combating human trafficking is essential. Human trafficking can involve sex trafficking or labor trafficking, and both of these types of trafficking dehumanize victims, but listening to those who have been most intimately impacted by this crime is a powerful way to recognize the humanity and the strength of those affected by human trafficking. Listening to others’ stories is key step in finding out more about how to prevent it, and to listen well, we must center the needs and priorities of those who have been victimized by traffickers. One project that is working to center survivors is Voices of Freedom, an oral history project that is a collaboration between the Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP), the Administration for Native Americans (ANA), and StoryCorps. This archive collects and preserves the stories of those who have been impacted by trafficking and those who have been fighting trafficking. This resource is a powerful one that you can access here: https://www.acf.hhs.gov/otip/partnerships/voices.
In his presidential brief proclaiming January 2023 National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, President Biden identified “working to combat human trafficking, conduct research to better address its root causes, and strengthen survivors’ access to services, including affordable housing and trauma-informed care” as important components of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking. When you support Rebirth Homes through prayer, donations, and volunteering, you are investing in life change for women who are survivors of trafficking by helping to provide housing and trauma-informed care. This January, we invite you to think about one way that you would like to take action against human trafficking this year. Volunteering with Rebirth Homes, learning the signs of trafficking and watching for them in your community, learning more about preventing trafficking by utilizing trainings offered by Rebirth Homes, investing in companies with fair labor practices, and supporting our Freedom Shop are a few great ways you can take action against human trafficking. If each of us acts in our sphere of influence, we can make a big difference together as we fight human trafficking.