The Salvation Army's Position on Human Trafficking
Trafficking in human beings involves the movement and entrapment of people, mostly women and children, for the purpose of commercial exploitation. Examples of trafficking are commonly seen in the sex industry, factory sweatshops, domestic servitude, debt bondage or agricultural work.
Traffickers prey on the vulnerability of others: women, children, the poor, the orphaned, the weak, the naïve, the desperate, and the defenseless. Each year millions of people worldwide are trafficked, either lured by lies or blatantly forced against their will, often crossing international borders. It is, in essence, modern-day slavery.
Trafficking is profoundly immoral because it involves the buying and selling of people and is an extreme violation of their moral agency and fundamental dignity. It deprives individuals of their God-given rights, dehumanizes them, and reduces them to mere property. It is an affront to civilized nations and, furthermore, is an offense to God.
The Bible teaches that humans are not created to live in bondage. Slavery is a sinful social structure. In the Old Testament God delivers His people from slavery in Egypt as described in Exodus. In the New Testament Jesus declares that the work of the gospel includes the deliverance of the oppressed.
Human trafficking is undeniably correlated to pornography, prostitution and other aspects of the sex industry in our society. This relationship exposes the evil and materialistic elements of the sex industry that both feed off of and contribute to the exploitation of vulnerable and helpless individuals. The individual and organized efforts in human trafficking are primarily motivated by financial gain and sensual indulgence at the expense of their victims' dignity and freedom. Tolerating exploitation, whether sexual or labor-related, weakens the moral fabric and the integrity of our society.
The Salvation Army opposes trafficking in human beings. From its earliest days, the founders of The Salvation Army felt it was their God-given mission to identify and rescue the vulnerable in society. This drove them to combat trafficking in the 19th century. Because this evil has not been vanquished yet, we battle against this human rights travesty today. The Salvation Army joins forces with governments, religious bodies and humanitarian organizations to ensure that justice is done and that liberating alternatives are available to people who have been trafficked.
Salvationists are called to become more informed on the issue, to pray for the abolition of human trafficking and to exert their influence to that end. The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news for the victimized. Salvationists are urged to demonstrate this through caring ministry and prayer so that the victims may be healed from their brokenness through God's power.
Scripture references: Psalm 10, Isaiah 42:22 and 49:9, Luke 4:18-19, John 3:16, Ephesians 6:11-12
Recommended for approval by the Commissioners'Conference, February 2006
Approved for use within the USA by International Headquarters, May 2007