What Is Human Trafficking, and How Can We Stop It?

finds.life • 4 minutes

Human trafficking is a significant issue affecting millions of people around the world. If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by the reality of human trafficking, the statistics surrounding it, or the question of what you can do to help, you’re not alone. Because we believe God loves and values every human being, Life.Church has partnered with A21 to support their goal of abolishing slavery everywhere forever. Below you’ll find a quick look at what human trafficking is, how A21 and other organizations are helping trafficking victims, and practical ways you can join the fight.

What Is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is the exploitation of vulnerable people for their bodies and labor. Human trafficking can look like forced labor, sex trafficking, debt bondage, and more.

Where Does Human Trafficking Take Place?

Human trafficking takes place in every country on Earth and can take different forms, depending on where it occurs. Men, women, teenagers, and children can all be victims of trafficking. One in four victims is a child. Victims can be found on the street, working in nail salons and massage parlors, or in homes or factories. Since the pandemic, online exploitation has increased. Human trafficking is a 150 billion dollar industry, with nearly 50 million people enslaved today. More people are enslaved today than at any other time in human history.

What’s Being Done to End Human Trafficking?

It takes all of us to fight against human trafficking. Everyone has a different role to play—including regular people around the world.

Help often starts with law enforcement. Local police and federal investigators work hand in hand with nonprofits like A21 to identify victims and remove them from trafficking situations. Once a survivor is out of harm’s way, the work of restoration begins. For A21, that means getting to know survivors as individuals and figuring out what restoration means for them—what it looks like to be physically, mentally, and emotionally whole.

This type of work is important because, without proper support, survivors are at higher risk of re-victimization. Survivors need support and stability from a community of people. They need help processing what they’ve experienced in healthy ways. And they need to hear that they don’t have to go back to the situation they were in before. They can choose where their life goes from here.

A21 uses Freedom Centers and aftercare services to help survivors navigate this road. Freedom Centers are spaces where survivors can connect with A21’s team and case workers, pick up supplies, and work toward a life of dignity and independence, all in a safe environment. This kind of space alleviates the pressure and stress survivors often feel while they’re on their journey. Survivors are connected with medical, dental, and psychological support, education opportunities, life skill training, rent assistance, legal assistance, and employment support.

What Can We Do to Help End Human Trafficking?

There are a number of ways you can help the fight against human trafficking. One good starting place is education. A21 has created educational guides for all ages, which you can find here. Here are some other resources to help you get started:

Next, learn how to be aware of trafficking that might be taking place around you. Remember that trafficking doesn’t only happen in certain places. Search online and find out what trafficking looks like in your neighborhood and community. What anti-human-trafficking organizations are at work in your area? They would be a great source of local information. Consider how you can engage with people at home, in your workplace, and in your neighborhood. As you get to know the people around you, you’ll be better equipped to recognize the signs that someone might be a victim. Know the signs that someone might be trafficked:

  • They’re controlled by another person.
  • They’re unable to keep their earnings.
  • They display overly fearful, depressed, or submissive behavior.
  • They lack official identification.
  • Find more signs on A21’s website.

If you suspect someone may be a victim of human trafficking, know how to report the situation. In the United States, the National Human Trafficking Hotline is 1 (888) 373-7888.

Supporting organizations like A21 through funding is another important way to fight against human trafficking. Donations make the work they do possible, and enable them to do the work of rescue and restoration. As one of Life.Church’s Global Mission Partners, A21 receives financial support from the church, given by attenders. If you would like to financially support Life.Church’s Local and Global Mission Partners, you can find out how here.

Finally, you can pray. Ending human trafficking will take time and a tremendous amount of effort on the part of many people around the world. The following prayer can help you get started.

Father, thank You for loving and valuing every person on Earth. Right now, millions of people are still trapped in slavery. Would You help us fight for their freedom? Would You give wisdom and protection to anti-trafficking organizations and law enforcement agencies as they work to liberate people? Would You care for survivors and grant them restoration and independence? And would You show us how we can support this good work? In Jesus’ name, amen.

Together, we can reach the goal of abolishing slavery everywhere, forever.