stop human trafficing

What is the church (generic) doing about social justice and human trafficking?

There are a lot of churches around the world that are doing phenomenal work in the counter-trafficking space. Here in South Africa too – and I’ll get to that. 

But let me first give context and then answer your question:  It can be a struggle to gain support for fighting trafficking in our country- in or outside of the church context – for several reasons…. 
Firstly: people are unaware of the horrendous reality of Trafficking in the country. Every time I do a talk on it the response is always disbelief that it’s happening and that “nobody seems to know about it”. 

That leads me to the second point: when they do hear of it – what it’s about, especially sex trafficking – most are deeply moved, but also horrified and then shy away from the ugliness and the immensity of the problem. 

Thirdly: in South Africa we have so many dire, in-your-face crises like crime/hunger education/unemployment/early childhood development/poverty etc etc etc 
These issues are known and seen and all desperately need funding and support…so churches and individuals are often already actively involved in the “seen” issues and don’t necessarily have the resources to pour into anything else. 

Fourthly: our government has only relatively recently even realized that Trafficking is a reality here. And even though we now have the Trafficking In Persons Act, many agencies still aren’t fully equipped to deal with the complex problem. From the Health Department, to Home Affairs, to the police etc etc etc.

Now to what churches ARE doing about. I can only speak about what I’m aware of…and I’m sure there are more…but I can assure you that there is an amazing counter trafficking coalition in the country. 

But first, let me settle on the definition of “church”. If you mean specific congregations with a building and a name and a banner, then I suppose one would need to look into individual churches and see if they’re personally involved with counter trafficking organizations. 

But if you’re speaking about Christians who are in churches and because of their love for Jesus and their passion for restoration and not “just talking the talk – but walking the walk”, then I can answer your question: 

The organization that I’m part of and many, many of the organizations that we partner with are church being church. What I mean by that is they have been established and are run (and are mostly staffed) by Christians who don’t just want to pray, but actually make a difference. 
No, they’re not meeting in a church hall…because that’s not how Jesus is using them. They’re: 
*out on the streets trying to identify and rescue Trafficking victims – 
*they’re running safe houses – *they’re providing care & comfort specifically in the first 24 hours of the victims being rescued because it’s intensely traumatic – 
*they’re offering legal services
*they’re offering health care
* – they’re going into schools and communities and to airport and port authorities to inform and educate. 
*they’re providing skills and support for rescued age restored trafficking victims so that they can build a life and a future for themselves going forward…
That’s to name but a few of the organizations we collaborate with. 

In fact, the entire South African National Human Trafficking helpline and counter trafficking hub is run by an organization born out of a church. (A21). 

And further to that organizations like A21 ( A21 South Africa) and the safe house( S-Cape ) I’m part of have been at the fore front of educating and equipping government agencies regarding fighting Trafficking in South Africa. Christians being His church in the face of this awful reality. 

So you might not see many individual church denominations fighting Trafficking, but His church is very much at the center and forefront of the fight in South Africa. 

And to scale back to my small part of the coalition. All of us involved in the safe house are part of our own church communities – who in turn support us in our of call and mission. Sometimes practically with financial/hands-on assistance for the safe house…but more importantly in supporting – especially the staff – in their ability to be on this battle field. What I mean by that is it’s a hectic fight to be in. The housemothers and social worker and program director etc deal with the deep trauma and the complexities of rescued sex trafficking victims. The management staff all work way beyond their natural capacities because there just aren’t enough people who are involved – so they need to do it all.  The only way they can continue to fight this fight is because they have the prayer, emotional and relational support of their individual church communities.…and those communities supporting the “workers in the field” is an extension of the church working together to fight this horrible reality. 

And to scale back even more to just me. I’m part of a small church ( Mercy Vineyard Cape Town ). We have very humble resources…and yet they support my involvement with S-Cape by supporting the Safe House financially with a small amount every month.  They’re behind any S-Cape initiative I’ve asked them to support. Some of the women are part of the the Safe House prayer team. I’m on the battle field. But I’m backed-up and relationally resourced within my church community to do my part in the fight. And to me that’s not only relevant, but vital. 

In conclusion
Can more be done? Always. 
Can churches do more. Yes, please. 
Is His church, His people, stepping up in the face of this crises in our country. Yes, yes and yes. 

If you – or people you know would like to know more about the organizations I’ve mentioned…and get involved somehow and not just pray, then please be in touch ????????


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