This position statement gives expression to the concern of The Wesleyan Church about the issue of global human trafficking, which is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud or coercion, for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, debt bondage or slavery.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10 (NASB)
Trafficking in persons is a modern-day form of slavery. It is in most cases a trans-border crime that affects all regions of the world. Men, women and children are trafficked for the purposes of labor, sex, begging, body parts, and conscription into rebel armies. According to a 2006 United Nations global report on trafficking, 127 countries have been documented as countries of origin, and 137 as countries of destination. The main countries of origin are reported to be in Central and South-Eastern Europe, The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), and Asia, followed by West Africa, Latin American and the Caribbean. The most commonly reported countries of destination are in Western Europe, Asia and Northern America. Estimates run as high as 4 million trafficked persons within countries and across country borders per year. The scope of human trafficking is second only to drug trafficking. It has been estimated that the profits of human trafficking will surpass drug trafficking, in that an ounce of cocaine may be sold only once, but a human being may be sold over and over.
Trafficking in persons is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, debt bondage or slavery. Human trafficking has a devastating impact on individual victims who often suffer physical and emotional abuse, as well as rape, threats against self and family, and even death. However, the impact of human trafficking goes beyond individual victims; it undermines the health, safety and security of all nations.
The nationalities of trafficked people are as diverse as the world‘s cultures. Some fall victim to forced or bonded labor in their own countries. Women eager for a better future are susceptible to promises of jobs abroad as babysitters, housekeepers, waitresses, or models – jobs that traffickers turn into the slavery of prostitution without exit. Some families give children to adults, who promise education and opportunity, but sell the children instead into exploitive situations. Today it is estimated there are 27 million slaves in our world. Approximately 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors. The majority of transnational victims are females trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. Some have been trafficked for these purposes as young as 2 years of age.
There are many components that perpetuate human trafficking: poverty, fear, violence, lack of opportunity, lack of education, language barriers, physical and psychological abuse. Traffickers thrive on demand, greed, dehumanizing attitudes, pornography, strip clubs, cultural tolerances, myths and lack of prosecutions. Society in general is unaware and apathetic.
The abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in the Nineteenth Century led by William Wilberforce required a nation to deepen and expand its definition of human dignity. It required a nation to declare that moral values outweigh commercial interests. Nothing less is required of nations today. Defeating human trafficking is a great moral calling of our day.
CALL TO THE WESLEYAN CHURCH
The prophetic voice of the Church must speak into this darkness. Isaiah 59 gives a very vivid description of sin at its worst. The call goes out begging for someone to respond with hope and redemption. No one responds. God does not then stand there and wring His hands. He is appalled. He stands up in His power and acts. In this 21st century The Wesleyan Church is appalled! The Spirit of the Lord is rising up. The liberating truth will be articulated and engaged, bringing light to the darkness.
Wesleyans will seriously pray to end human trafficking.
Global Wesleyans will become aware of what is happening within their own countries. Further, they will avail themselves of the Hands that Heal‖ training materials available through World Hope International.
Wesleyans will be willing to become trainers and lead in this capacity.
Wesleyans will provide avenues of healing to trafficked victims.
Wesleyans will advocate on the part of the victims, as well as for laws that need to be enacted to end human trafficking.
Wesleyan leaders will preach on these issues, particularly as it relates to the demand in sex trafficking for pornography, internet porn, entitlements to abuse those of lesser status, etc.
Wesleyans will support the prosecution of buyers and consumers of trafficked persons.
WHEREAS, The Wesleyan Church worldwide recognizes its biblical responsibility to those who are weak, oppressed, powerless, helpless, impoverished and exploited;
WHEREAS, The Wesleyan Church abhors the profoundly evil personal and social sin of human trafficking, which is the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for labor or services, through the use of force, fraud, or coercion for the purpose of subjection to involuntary servitude, debt bondage or slavery; and
WHEREAS, Trafficking in persons is a modern-day form of slavery, involving as many as four million men, women and children being taken, bought and sold each year within countries and across country borders for labor, sex, begging, body parts, conscription into rebel armies, and other purposes;
BE IT RESOLVED that the following position statement on global human trafficking be adopted by the North American General Conference and be recommended for implementation across The Wesleyan Church, and that all leaders and members champion it as integral to the life and mission of the Church.
THE NORTH AMERICAN GENERAL CONFERENCE OF THE WESLEYAN CHURCH
STATEMENT ON GLOBAL HUMAN TRAFFICKING
We, The Wesleyan Church worldwide, are committed to eliminating human trafficking in all its forms. We recognize and accept our biblical responsibility to those who are weak, oppressed, powerless, helpless and exploited; our duty of advocacy for those who cannot speak for themselves; and the need to raise our prophetic voice in loud protest against the profoundly evil personal and social sin of human trafficking.
We will demonstrate our concern and compassion locally, nationally and internationally by:
Praying earnestly for the end of human trafficking.
Becoming aware of what is happening within our own countries.
Raising awareness about human trafficking and potential Christian responses, availing ourselves of training materials such as the Hands that Heal‖ resources available through World Hope International and providing leadership in this capacity.
Providing avenues of healing to trafficked victims.
Advocating on the part of the victims of human trafficking, as well as for laws that need to be enacted to end human trafficking.
Preaching on the issues related to human trafficking, particularly as it relates to the demand in sex trafficking for pornography, internet porn, entitlements to abuse those of lesser status, etc.
Supporting the prosecution of buyers and consumers of trafficked persons.
- - Adopted by the North American General Conference of The Wesleyan Church, June 2008