Faith-based organizations play a critical role in helping to fight human trafficking across the world. In America, faith-based communities have helped in no small way to save victims of sex trafficking, also providing critical support to survivors and providing a healing environment free of judgment. Domestic minor sex trafficking is a type of human trafficking that focuses on the sexual exploitation of children within U.S borders.
Faith communities are in the position to immensely support the government's efforts and strengthen the human trafficking response network on a local, national, and international scale. This is one reason why the National Human Trafficking Resource Center is willing to partner with faith-based organizations across the United States to further suppress the perpetuation of domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) in our communities.
Here are a few ways faith-based communities can help foster continued fight against DMST in their local communities.
The first and most important action step is creating awareness among followers. The more people learn about what trafficking is, how DMST is perpetrated in our communities, and ways to seek help, the safer our communities will be. If you belong to a faith-based community looking to help in the fight against child sex trafficking of children, you can find more educational resources and statistics on the NHTRC website. Also, check out our post on signs to help you identify sex trafficking in your community. Then educate your faith community on how to identify, respond to, and prevent domestic minor sex trafficking and forced labor.
Create a welcoming environment for sex trafficking survivors
Every year, many children and teenagers fall prey to trafficking. But so are the number of survivors every year. One of the places where they seek help, aside from close friends and family members, is faith communities. In fact, the majority of survivors do not return to their families immediately. This is where faith-based organizations can assist by cultivating a welcoming community that seamlessly absorbs survivors.
For many survivors, having a strong faith community is critical to their social, psychological, and spiritual health when they are not judged or pressured to share their trafficking experience.
Partnering with anti-trafficking organizations
At one point or another, your organization might need to partner with anti-trafficking organizations involved either in research or direct communication with victims and survivors. Collaboration with these organizations can help tremendously in combatting domestic minor sex trafficking of children.
Almost all 50 states have trafficking one or more initiatives or organizations focusing on sex trafficking victims or survivors of trafficking. This makes it easier to partner with or support those organizations. If you have specialists or a group of people knowledgeable on the subject, you can help strengthen local anti-trafficking initiatives by joining forces with civic organizations and local anti-trafficking organizations.
Volunteering with local organizations
Churches and other faith-based communities can encourage their members to volunteer with local anti-trafficking organizations, where they can assist with their time and skills on anti-trafficking programs/projects in the community. You'll be surprised to know how much help these organizations need. Many of them need attorneys, mentors, health care specialists, etc.
Engage in prevention work for human trafficking
Faith-based communities are often in the position to address the factors that cause trafficking. They address matters like demand for sex, lack of employment, purity, culture, education, personal development in their meetings. They can also leverage this opportunity directly to discuss and sexual exploitation of children and how community members can support the fight against sex trafficking of minors.
Advocate for stronger protections for survivors
You can support or call for legislation against minor sex trafficking in your community. You can speak with legislators, especially those representing your community, pointing them to the magnitude of sex trafficking, the need to protect survivors, and possible ways to combat the issue. Also leverage their influence to support ongoing campaigns by allocating resources to combat human trafficking and support survivors.
Call the National Human Trafficking Resource Center
If you notice a child sex trafficking situation going on around you or you have authentic information about a potential trafficking situation, you can call the National
Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC) hotline at 1-888-373-7888. The NHTRC hotline advocates are available to respond 24/7. The NHTRC accords confidentiality to all responses, and you may remain anonymous if you wish.
About the Mission Haven
The Mission Haven is a nongovernment, charity-funded organization focused on providing a comprehensive and transformational Haven of Healing for victims and survivors of child sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. We believe that every single DMST or child sex trafficking survivor still has a chance at life at its best.
Our goal at The Mission Haven is to provide them with all the support they need to start over. With your generous donations and support, we can continue to provide a truly safe haven of hope and healing equipped with essential resources to lift victims and survivors of domestic minor sex trafficking. To give, volunteer, or become a partner, feel free to contact us today.