As Christians we have a biblical mandate both to establish justice, and to care for the powerless. For example, Micah 6:8 tells us that we are to do justice and love kindness; Amos 2:6 speaks of God’s judgment on those who “sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes”; and the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10: 29ff) reminds us of our responsibility to those who need our help.
As Presbyterians, we have a constitutional imperative to promote social righteousness (cf. The Great Ends of the Church, G-1.0200).
The goal of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 is to help victims of trafficking through the prevention of human trafficking overseas, the protection of victims, and aid to victims in helping them to rebuild their lives (United States Department of Health and Human Services, Rescue & Restore: Victims of Human Trafficking fact sheet) http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking.
Although thirty-six states have human trafficking task forces, the Polaris Project (funded by TVPA) reports:
1. a failure to identify victims;
2. a failure to prosecute traffickers;
3. a failure to provide rehabilitation services to victims;
4. a failure to educate the public about human trafficking.
Many victims are trafficked into the United States through failure to address immigration issues such as forged passports and visas.
Human trafficking is tied with the illegal arms industry as the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world (United States Department of Health and Human Services, Rescue & Restore: Victims of Human Trafficking fact sheet. http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking.
Each year, approximately 600,000 to 800,000 victims are trafficked across international borders, and 14,500 to 17,500 of those are transported into the United States (United States Department of Health and Human Rescue and Restore: Victims of Human Trafficking fact sheet http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking).
The majority of sex trafficking victims are women and underage children who are lured into situations of sex trafficking with the promise of a good job in another country or the promise of (false) marriage.
In May 2006, a free trade agreement with Jordan resulted in tens of thousands of foreign “guest workers” from Bangladesh, China, India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan being stripped of their passports and trapped in involuntary servitude (http://www.nlcnet.org/article.php?id=10).
Traffickers use force and coercion in the form of threats of serious harm, physical restraints, rape, beatings, and confinement to control their victims (United States Department of Health and Human Services Rescue & Restore: Victims of Human Trafficking fact sheet) http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking.