For nearly two decades participants in Women of the ELCA have worked tirelessly to end human trafficking. That work has taken many forms, beginning with education and awareness and then leading to hands-on support and advocacy. Women have worked within their communities, partnering with local police, hotel and motel staffs, long-haul truckers, and service agencies. Forums and learning opportunities have occurred in congregations, conventions, and gatherings, including ELCA Youth Gatherings. The landscape has changed in these two decades, but the work remains because human trafficking remains.
What should we be about now? The voting members at the Eleventh Triennial Convention (2021) took up human trafficking, setting the stage for the future with three specific actions.
- First, all synodical women’s organizations are to continue informing, educating and working to end trafficking, assisting victims of trafficking, and reviewing state laws related to trafficking.
- Second, congregational units are encouraged to educate members of their congregations about human trafficking.
- Third, the voting members set the four weeks prior to the annual Super Bowl as a time of prayer to end human trafficking.
Let’s get started! Go to our human trafficking hub online. There you’ll find a Power Point presentation, Human Trafficking 101, you can use in any setting to start building awareness. Combine that with our resource, Understanding and responding to human trafficking, and you have a two-part presentation. Expand awareness building with the resource list available there or by using the resource My neighbor is not for sale, offered by Cherish All Children.
We’re currently in those four weeks leading up to Super Bowl LVI. It’s time to start praying! Between now and February 13 (the date of the Super Bowl), we’ll be posting human trafficking materials here on our blog and on social media. Use and adapt these materials in your prayer life.
As you share your anti-trafficking work in social media, use the hashtag #EndHumanTrafficking combined with #ActBoldly and #WeAreWELCA.
We’ll end with a prayer to launch these four weeks.
Loving and compassionate God, you desire that all creation live and act in love, that all creation might know abundant life. Yet girls and boys, women and men around the globe and in our neighborhoods are exploited and abused by others. We repent of our silence and inaction in the face of this staggering reality.
Fill us with holy anger. Open our eyes and break open our hearts. Give us wisdom and courage to stand with victims, to educate one another about this menacing plague, and to advocate for just and impartial laws. Give the victims hope and consolation. Protect and heal them, bringing them to new life. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.