January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and January 11 is National Day of Human Trafficking Awareness. How tragic that these two events are needed! Most people look back at the days of slavery in the South and wonder how human beings could treat other human beings so barbarically. Yet around the world today, people—men, women, and children—are enslaved. Humans are trafficked for both sexual and labor purposes.
Women and even children are forced into prostitution, and adults and children to work against their will and without compensation. Hard as it is to believe, human trafficking—slavery—exists in huge numbers around the world. People often don’t realize that for human trafficking to occur, a villain doesn’t have to abduct a victim off the street and transport them to where they will work as a prostitute or factory worker or something else. Often victims voluntarily agree to what they believe is a legitimate job opportunity. Only after they arrive at their destination do they realize that instead of a high-paying job with good working conditions, they are forced into a form of slavery.
Most of us never expect to have any contact with trafficking. While I have had no personal experience, the story of the daughter of a friend broke my heart and demonstrates the danger may be closer than we think. All of us would benefit from knowing more about trafficking and resources available to stop it.
The purpose of this month and this day is to make potential victims aware of the dangers to prevent incidents of trafficking. This video gives some examples of how trafficking occurs.
O GOD, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright; Grant to us and all thy servants such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, especially the dangers of human trafficking, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.adapted from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer