Human trafficking is the illegal trade in human beings for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation or forced labor: a modern-day form of slavery. It is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world, and the third largest, after the drug and illegal arms trades. Today, at least 20 million - and perhaps as many as 40 million - people around the world are living in slavery, more than at any time during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. And human trafficking doesn't just happen overseas; it happens right here in the United States as well.
What does The United Methodist Church say?
"We deplore all forms of commercialization and exploitation of sex, with their consequent cheapening and degradation of human personality. To lose freedom and be sold by someone else for sexual purposes is a form of slavery, and we denounce such business and support the abused and their right to freedom." (Social Principles, P.161.H)
“We call on United Methodists … to actively champion anti-slavery efforts by petitioning the United Nations and the legislative bodies of all countries in which The United Methodist Church has an organized ecclesiastical structure, to demand the freeing of all persons subjected to modern-day forms of enslavement and bonded labor.” (Book of Resolutions, 6032)
What can your Church do?
- Set aside the second Sunday in January as 'Human Trafficking Awareness Day.'
- Human Trafficking Faith & Facts Card (click here)
- Educate yourself and your congregation using this Human Trafficking Toolkit.
- Publicize the human trafficking hotline (1-888-373-7888).
- Organize a screening of 'Not My Life,' a film exploring modern-day slavery; register here to screen it for free.
- Visit Slavery Footprint to find out your connections to slavery and to learn what concrete changes you can make in your life and in the life of your congregation.
- Work within your community to end factors that create vulnerability: poverty, racism, sexism and gender-based violence, and media and cultural images that promote the objectification of women.
- Learn More about Human Trafficking
Interfaith Resources and Websites - A compilation of organizations, website and official statements of faith and secular organizations addressing human trafficking and domestic violence.