The Focus on Life initiative was undertaken by the Compassion, Mercy and Justice Team (formerly Social Concerns) to call attention to man-made or natural conditions that are taking, endangering, or denigrating human life from conception to old age.
Jesus said in John 10:10 “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”. But unfortunately, this abundant life promised by Jesus is cut short for millions each year as a result of war, crimes, elective abortions, and natural disasters such as famine and floods.
Our goal is that by calling attention to these conditions, the FirstCov church family will be more sensitive to these issues and respond with compassion, prayer, and action where possible to help relieve the suffering. Jesus is relying on us to be His hands and feet to minister to those in need and His voice to call for justice in the world.
What’s the Problem?
The 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in December of 1865, reads: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”.
Sadly, however, slavery does still exist both in the United States and throughout the world under a new name, Human Trafficking. Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery; a multi-billion-dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to an estimated 20.9 million people worldwide. And no matter where you live, chances are it’s happening nearby.
From the girl forced into prostitution at the truck stop, to the man discovered in a restaurant kitchen, stripped of his passport and held against his will. All trafficking victims share one essential experience: the loss of freedom.
While there is no official count of the total number of human trafficking victims in the United States, Polaris (operators of a trafficking hotline) estimates that the total number reaches into the hundreds of thousands when estimates of both adults and minors, sex trafficking and labor trafficking are taken together. The Polaris hotline receives an average of 100 calls per day. (National Human Trafficking Hotline 1 (888) 373-7888)
- The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally.
- The ILO also estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide.
- The U.S. Department of Labor has identified 139 goods from 75 countries made by forced and child labor.
- In 2016, an estimated 1 out of 6 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims.
What Can be Done?
- Pray: During the month of February we are encouraging individuals, families and small groups to include prayer for the victims, that they may find the freedom and humanity God intended for all his children; for those who work in rescue and counseling efforts; and finally, for law enforcement officials who combat this crime throughout or country and world.
- Learn: Become aware of the indicators of human trafficking though further reading.
- Report: If you believe that someone may be a victim, report your suspicion to law enforcement by calling 911 or the 24-hour National Human Trafficking Hotline at 888-373-7888.
- Be a conscientious consumer: Ask where the food you eat and the clothes you buy are being grown or made. Check out the Department of Labor’s list of goods produced by child labor.
- Parents and Educators: Be aware of how traffickers target school age children and help to educate children as to the risks.
- College and University Students: Take action on your campus by joining or organizing a campus club aimed at raising awareness of human trafficking.
- Read a good book: The following books are recommended: Made in USA by Allisa Jordheim, The White Umbrella by Mary Francis Bowley, and In Our Backyard by Nita Belles.
- Sponsor a Child: Poverty makes populations more vulnerable to trafficker’s lies. India, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Eastern Europe, parts of Africa, and the Philippines are particularly vulnerable. Compassion International, Gospel for Asia, and World Vision offer sponsorship for children at risk.
From your FirstCov Compassion/Mercy/Justice (CMJ) Ministry Team