[Based on interest from churches, mandates from Synod, and current events, we focus on a select number of active issues. While this is not one of our active issues, feel free to browse the resources and information on this page. As need arises, we’ll update this page with new information and resources.]

 

Introduction

God reveals himself throughout the Bible as a God of justice, who sees and hears the suffering of the oppressed.

Today, millions of lives around the world are in the grip of injustice.

An estimated 27 million children, women and men are enslaved--their work and even their bodies the property of an owner. In fact, the number of victims of human trafficking is so high that more people are currently held in slavery than over the course of the entire trans-Atlantic slave trade.

 "...he does not ignore the cry of the afflicted" - Psalm 9:12b

Human Trafficking Overview

God reveals himself throughout the Bible as a God of justice who sees and hears the suffering of the oppressed: "he does not ignore the cry of the afflicted" (Psalm 9:12b).

Today, millions of lives around the world are in the grip of injustice.

An estimated 27 million children, women and men are enslaved, toiling in bondage--their work and even their bodies the property of an owner. In fact, the number of victims of human trafficking is so high that more people are currently held in slavery than over the course of the entire trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Trafficking in humans generates profits in excess of 12 billion dollars a year for those who, by force and deception, sell human lives into slavery and sexual bondage. Given its current growth rate, human trafficking is expected pass drug trafficking as the second largest criminal industry in the world within the next decades.

For those in bonded slavery, victims are held in conditions of continual forced labor under which they are unable to pay back a debt that increases at exorbitant interest rates. Powerful oppressors threaten, intimidate, beat, and abuse victims when they do not meet expectations and as means of restraint.

Human trafficking is inextricably linked to the oppression of women and girls: 80 percent of victims are female. The victims of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation are almost exclusively women and children, in which traffickers transport or detain their victims in order to profit off of acts of sexual violence.

There is a strong connection between sex trafficking and global health pandemics. A 2007 study documented what child protection advocates have long expected – that children and women trafficked for sex are extremely vulnerable to violent transmission of HIV, and children are uniquely vulnerable. Girls trafficked prior to age 15 were at significantly increased risk for HIV, compared to those trafficked at 18 years or older.

Contrary to a common assumption, human trafficking is not just a problem in other countries. Thousands of people are also trafficked to and within the United States and Canada each year for the purposes of sexual and labor exploitation. Victims can be children or adults, U.S. and Canadian citizens or foreign nationals, male or female. Those who have been trafficked across international borders are particularly vulnerable, because they have no legal status in the destination country.

In many cases it the poor around the world who bear the burden of these abuses, because they lack access to the justice system and are unable to protect themselves or their families from those more powerful.

God commands his people to "seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow" (Isaiah 1:17-18), calling us to be his agents, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to demonstrate Christ's love for the entire world.

 

Partner Organizations - Get Involved

Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

International Justice Mission

Hagar International

 

The Church Speaks

As Reformed Christians, we believe Jesus Christ rules over every square inch of our world. Called to be Christ's agents in this world as we wait for his return, we work to establish his kingdom here on earth and proclaim that hatred and oppression have no place in God's world. These forces degrade individuals, races, and nations, denying their humanity and preventing them from being whom God desires them to be. We therefore seek justice for the victims of violence, slavery, and human trafficking around the world, speaking up for the voiceless and for the rights of all who are oppressed (Proverbs 31:8).

In fulfillment of this calling, the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee (CRWRC) fights human trafficking through its community development work around the globe.

For example, CRWRC's work in Bangladesh on this issue focuses on the prevention of trafficking by raising awareness about the problem among the most vulnerable people and by empowering communities to better protect themselves. Information about the causes of trafficking, the perpetrators, likely sources and destinations, and existing anti-trafficking laws are presented through the medium of theater and during lessons at weekly community meetings. (Visit the sidebar on the right to view a slideshow from our own Peter Vander Meulen's recent visit to these meetings.)

CRWRC also improves the capacity of community leaders to combat trafficking through leadership trainings and the establishment of local justice committees. The committees collect data on local trafficking and then develop an action plan to end trafficking in the community. Committees also serve as the link between the community and organizations that provide assistance to trafficking survivors.

God's calling to seek justice for the oppressed is extended not only to our Christian relief agencies but to all of us! God commands all of his people to "seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow" (Isaiah 1:17-18). You too can raise your voice on behalf of the voiceless. Click here to learn more.