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The Faith Response to Human Trafficking

The sudden, dramatic increase in children crossing the southern border of the United States in 2014 raised new questions and concerns about human trafficking. It called for a response from faith communities, and in the U.S. many local Christian and Jewish groups have brought the issue and its victims into their congregations, while exploring their sacred texts for guidance and possible solutions. Evangelical Christians led the charge in securing the Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act in 2008, which slows the deportation of many migrant children. The intent of the law is to slow the trafficking of children into slavery and the sex trade. The Catholic Church has also taken a leadership role in the U.S. and around the world, supporting legislation and opposing budget cuts where the results will have an impact on human trafficking, its prosecution, and victim recovery.

The problem of human trafficking has been growing over recent decades. According to the Polaris Project report, “Human Trafficking Trends in the United States,” which reviewed data collected between 2007 and 2012, 41 percent of U.S. sex trafficking victims and 20 percent of labor trafficking victims were U.S. citizens. Despite that, the State Department’s 2014 “Trafficking in Persons” report accorded “Tier 1” status to the U.S., meaning it is among the top enforcers of human trafficking laws.

To help religion reporters gain core information, background, and access to experts, resources and recent articles and posts published on the topic, ReligionLink, a site curated by Religion Newswriters Association, a membership organization that promotes and supports quality religion news reporting, prepared a page of resources. Those resources are also useful for students, scholars, clergy and others who are looking for perspective and information on the problem and for guidance on how people of faith can help stop human trafficking and help victims of human trafficking. Also see our feature articles, “Slavery, Surrogacy and Society: Making a Future in the Wilderness” and “How Long Does Darkness Last?”

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