Human trafficking is the second-largest and fastest-growing illegal trade in the world. It is a modern-day form of slavery and a crime against humanity, and symptoms are often hidden and hard to recognize. There are many stories of those who are enslaved. They may have few or no personal possessions with them. Controlled by addiction, many are dependent on their traffickers for livelihood and are forced into prostitution for money for their pimp who provides food and shelter. Some children who are recruited are as young as 9 years old.
Until my congregation held classes on human trafficking, very few of us, if any, had any idea how prevalent this crime is in our suburban community and across the United States. As faith communities, we need to learn more about this issue.
This message is an excerpt of a column by Elizabeth McKay in the March 2016 issue of Gather magazine. Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day.