From September Seders to Shopping - Shine the Light on Human Trafficking

Date Posted: 8/28/2014

It’s not too late to attend, volunteer or host an event next month that will help raise awareness of how to be United Against Human Trafficking. Learn how this issue is impacting Marilyn Green, Co-chair of the Human Trafficking Awareness Core Team at Chapelwood UMC, Houston, and member of the TAC Church & Society Committee.
 
Almost two years ago, Marilyn Green went from disinterested in human trafficking to passionately “horrified.” Marilyn, who now serves in two leadership positions focused on fighting this modern-day slavery tragedy, says, “I thought it was something that happened ‘over there’ until my friend signed me up for a van tour of some of Houston’s brothels, some of which were just miles from our church. That’s all it took for me, and I started reading voraciously about it and became even more compelled to get involved.” The issue really hit home as Marilyn flashed back to her own daughters and quickly realized they could easily have been lured during their wayward phase of their teen years, by traffickers posing as ‘boyfriends.’ Adds Marilyn, “Anti-human trafficking is now my pet project, and throughout the next year I will help Chapelwood UMC: 1) raise funds for Free the Captives at a November market, 2) collect items for adult women who have been rescued out of human trafficking and are starting over in their own apartment, and 3) host a documentary movie night in honor of national human trafficking month in January.”
 
Why does modern-day slavery impact 28-30 million people worldwide? According to Redeemed Ministries, “You can sell a bag of cocaine once but you can sell a human being over and over and over. Therefore the Texas Annual Conference is making it a priority to raise awareness of this horrific trend to generate a stronger push to strengthen laws and help more victims personally and spiritually. The annual report is available on the UAHT website (http://www.houstonrr.org/reports/the-trafficking-in-persons-report-2014/) and DOS website (http://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2014/index.htm).
 
The TAC Church and Society Committee is encouraging local congregations to educate their members on the anti-human trafficking movement through a special emphasis Sunday or by attending, supporting or sponsoring an existing event such as the following initiatives planned over the next few months. Additionally, volunteers are needed at many of these events – an excellent way for you to help make a difference.  UAHT Volunteer Events: Contact volunteer@houstonrr.org
 
September 6
United Against Human Trafficking is hosting the 5th Annual 5k Big Dipper Dash Run/Walk: Run For Freedom at 5pm at Stude Park in Houston. Information: http://www.imathlete.com/events/bigdipperdash or www.uaht.org (formerly Houston Rescue and Restore Coalition) It is an evening race under the stars in the Houston Heights. The race route begins in Stude Park and runs along the White Oak bayou with views of downtown Houston. There will a fun Post-Race Party with food and drinks from California Pizza Kitchen, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and more!  If your organization would like to be an Exhibitor at the Big Dipper Dash, you can host a table for $25. and interact with participants. Contact Darrell at darrell@houstonrr.org for more information.
 
September 13
“Shop Smart” hosted from 10-2pm for the fifth year by First UMC, West Campus 3663 Westcenter Dr. Houston, TX. 77042. This Fair Trade Market brings together local, state and international fair-trade vendors. Come support all of your favorite vendors, either fair trade or made by human trafficking survivors. Simply shopping fair trade will give you an opportunity to learn more about human trafficking and ways to combat it through conscientious purchases. The event will highlight the importance that shopping fair trade has on eliminating human trafficking.
The YMCA Trafficked Persons Assistance Program will be a vendor this year - as a project for trafficking survivors that includes sewing dolls. Additional vendors welcome.
 
September 15
Golf Benefit at Blackhorse Golf Course in Cypress supporting adolescent victims of Human Trafficking. http://www.homeofhopetexas.org/golf/ ?10am Shotgun Start, 4-Man Scramble at Blackhorse Golf Course?12205 Fry Rd.?Cypress, TX 77433.
 
September 15
As part of Faith and Freedom Week, UAHT will host its 4th annual Interfaith Anti-Trafficking Seder at Chapelwood United Methodist Church in west Houston (11140 Greenbay St. 77024) at 6 pm in the Upper Room. This event is a traditional Jewish Seder and features a haggadah that relates the story of enslavement and liberation (Exodus) from Egypt to modern day slavery. Kenny and Ziggy’s will be catering the meal once again and there is a fee of $30 to attend the Seder and cover the cost of producing the event. Rabbi Deborah Schloss of Temple Beth Tikvah will lead the service. Make reservations at www.uaht.org.
 
September 16
Dominican Center for Spirituality - 6501 Almeda Rd. Houston, TX 77021
Join the Dominican Sisters of Houston Tuesday as they host an indoor Labyrinth Walk for Freedom at 7 pm to raise awareness by praying to end Human Trafficking. Free and open to the public. http://www.houstonrr.org
 
September 20
In conjunction with Faith & Freedom Midtown, South Main Baptist (4100 Main Street, Houston, Texas 77002 | 713.529.4167) is hosting an all-day event (9am-3pm) featuring breakfast and lunch, and van tours, worship and five sessions featuring human trafficking survivors and speakers. Registration is $5. For more information contact Lonnie Campbell at lcampbell@smbc.org.
 
October 25
WoodsEdge Community Church will host the documentary showing of “In Plain Sight” stories of hope and freedom narrated by Natalie Grant. Doors open at 5:30 pm and no ticket is required; donations benefit Redeemed Ministries. See more at: http://www.inplainsightfilm.com/premieres/#sthash.1u7Y7RSr.dpuf

For more details on Human Trafficking Awareness events, volunteer opportunities and news, see the Human Trafficking section under Missional Excellence.