Human Trafficking Awareness Sunday
Did you know that the state of Texas is a major hub for the human trafficking industry? Houston alone has more clubs and illicit spas than Las Vegas.
These establishments serve as fronts for human trafficking—the recruitment, harboring, transportation and provision of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act and/or for illegal labor or services by the use of force, fraud and/or coercion.
Sunday, January 13 has been declared by the Texas Annual Conference as “Human Trafficking Awareness Sunday.”
Pastors, church staff and lay people are all invited to visit the Missional Excellence website at http://www.txcumc.org/mission for ideas on you can help your congregations to “hear the cry” of those being trafficked here and throughout the world and decide how you can join the Texas Conference in the fight to end human trafficking.
Here are some things that every congregation in the Texas Annual Conference can do on January 13, 2013 to help with the fight against human trafficking:
· Take up an offering to help victims
· Collect gift cards that can be used in compassion baskets for victims of human trafficking – suggested are $5 and $10 gift certificates from McDonalds, Burger King, etc. as well as perhaps drug stores for personal items.
· Invite a speaker to your Sunday School class or to preach -see the contacts for Redeemed Ministries, Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition, Free Houston, Free Our City, and others on the worship resources page below.
· Start a book study in your Sunday School class such as “Not For Sale” by David Batstone, “The Slave Across the Street,” by Theresa Flores, “The Slave Next Door” by Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter (All available through Amazon.com)
· Purchase and play the video ‘Human Trafficking” with Mira Sorvino and Donald Sutherland (Available from Amazon.com but content is difficult – not for young folks without a lot of advance preparation and some very specific things they can do to address what they see).
· Invite a local police officer to come talk about the issue with your youth or Sunday school classes
· Use one or more of the attached worship resources and take up a collection and/or hand out materials with facts and information – the organizations listed below have excellent resources to hand out.
· Have a labyrinth walk with prayer cards for those trapped in human trafficking.
· Print and insert the bulletin insert in your worship bulletin with facts and action items about human trafficking and then have a special prayer and offering for victims.
You can send your donations to the Texas Annual Conference, Center for Missional Excellence, “Memo: human trafficking”
Worship Resources for January 13, 2013
Human Trafficking Awareness Sunday
Human trafficking, sometimes called modern-day slavery, affects all of our lives and communities. Some of the food we eat may be harvested or prepared by women and men whose labor comes with a heavy price to them. They may be in debt bondage or their identification papers confiscated to prevent them from leaving or reporting abuse to the authorities. A house down the street may be a place where young women and girls are taken to be sexually exploited. Runaway teenagers are
preyed upon by traffickers who target vulnerable people.
Our local UM churches can be part of efforts to end human trafficking by become educated about what is going on in their own communities and connecting with those who work to end such violations of human rights.
One way to begin is by including these worship resources in your service on January 13, 2013.
Download Bulletin Insert (PDF)
Additional information: Houston has been identified as a hub for human trafficking. The Department of Justice estimates that 1 in 4 of the hundreds of thousands of trafficking victims in the nation will travel through Houston at some point. Using large interstates, a major port, and hundreds of unlicensed sexually oriented businesses, traffickers have spread this crime throughout our city. If you look closely and know what to look for, you will see where trafficking is occurring within your community. The following events offer ways to learn about human trafficking and how you can assist others wanting to assist victims and eradicate modern slavery.