Human trafficking is one of the most despicable crimes in modern society, but all too often it goes unnoticed. Human trafficking, whether for sex or other forced labor, affects all levels of society, and happens internationally, nationally, and locally.
Here at LIRS, we encounter human trafficking through our Children’s Services Department, which serves foreign-born survivors of trafficking, working with local partners to ensure that these survivors receive critically needed social and immigration services. LIRS is also active in advocacy, calling on Congress and the White House to protect trafficking survivors with federal laws. That’s why we welcome the release of “Building Partnerships to Eradicate Modern-Day Slavery,” a new report by President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, of which the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America’s own Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson is a member.
The report, noting trafficking’s connection to poverty and the marginalization of minorities, calls on the Administration to take action. The authors’ recommendations include:
- Convening a National Summit to raise awareness of human trafficking
- Producing a toolkit for religious and community-based organizations to educate and advocate for the end of human trafficking
- Creating, in cooperation with the Ad Council, a public awareness campaign
- Designating and promoting the National Human Trafficking Resource Center Hotline as the primary national hotline for human trafficking
- Cooperating with U.S Embassies and USAID to develop comprehensive anti-trafficking strategies
- Developing a National Call to Action for civil society to increase and align efforts to eradicate modern-day slavery
We hope that President Obama will heed the council’s advice. It is only through the concerted efforts of everyone that we’ll be able to push trafficking out of the shadows. Visit lirs.org/eht for educational materials for you and your congregation, and information on how you can get involved. Together we can end the modern-day slave trade in our communities, nation, and beyond.