July 30 was the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, and for the month of August, at Tenth Global we are focusing our efforts on learning about forms of trafficking around the world and in Canada.
Human trafficking is one of the fastest-growing industries in Canada, particularly in the form of sex trafficking. This devastating industry exploits marginalized communities, especially Indigenous women, at a horrific rate. Indigenous people makeup 4.9% of our country’s total population but comprise 51% of trafficking victims. During the COVID-19 pandemic, sexual exploitation and the purchasing of people has not stopped by any means. Rather, the exploitation has moved online and even further into the shadows as social media and pornography become more prevalent vehicles of violence. Despite how desperate the situation seems, we can still find hope through prayer and worship, and by learning about the anti-trafficking work being done by organizations around the globe.
Recently, the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada hosted a Global online prayer and worship event in an effort to bring hope to this issue and highlight the work being done to fight this injustice. Over 50 Alliance churches are collaborating to form the Global Alliance World Fellowship COVID-19 Relief Effort, with 28 projects in 19 countries. These efforts are impacting over 170,000 people through initiatives of trafficking prevention and support for victims and survivors.
Defend Dignity is a powerful organization that addresses commercial sexual exploitation through education, aid, and law and policy reform. The organization fights for freedom from trafficking based on the truth that all people are made in the image of God and deserve to have their dignity defended. We need to not only be a voice for the voiceless but be the hands and feet of Jesus, engaging with anti-trafficking in practical ways. Much of the livestream centred around prayer asking God to stir in us a sense of urgency and greater compassion for those who are marginalized. The world is desperate for healing, reconciliation, and justice, and God has given us as followers of Jesus a mandate to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8). We have a mandate to fight for the freedom and defend the dignity of those who are oppressed and marginalized in our world today.
This prayer gathering shared stories of survivors, with allies and survivors joining together in prayer for victims of trafficking in our world. Trafficking is not just something that happens in faraway places, and traffickers are not always strangers. Often, exploitation happens right at home. We are being encouraged to stay safe at home right now to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but for many home is not a safe space. It is a space wrought with violence and abuse. On this livestreamed prayer event, Trisha Baptie prayed for healing and brought awareness to the crisis of sexual exploitation. She shared her story of surviving 15 years of prostitution in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Since escaping cycles of violence, Trisha has founded EVE (formerly Exploited Voices now Educating) as a way for survivors to share their stories and bring greater awareness to the degree of exploitation around us.
Jesus is the lover of the broken, the marginalized, and those who have experienced trauma, violence, and abuse. He wants to adopt us all as sons and daughters. This prayer gathering shared stories of survivors and allies, joining together in prayer for victims of trafficking in our world, and you are invited to join this movement of justice as well! Please let these stories inspire you to pray for healing and freedom in our world today.