Stop Human Trafficking
United Methodist Women in Action
One year ago this month, United Methodist Women embarked on a mission of learning, sharing, and policy action on the issue of human trafficking, a criminal act of violence that impacts women and children throughout the United States and the world. The training event was convened by the Washington Office of Public Policy and Hands That Heal along with Women’s Division staff, spiritual growth and seminar department.
Twenty-five conference social action coordinators and a National Mission Institution representative gathered in Atlanta, Ga., at the Chandler School of Theology for two and a half days of intensive education and the launch of the Human Trafficking Team. The program was designed as a train-the-trainer opportunity whereby participants made a commitment to share what they learned with their churches and local community.
Participants would be the first ripple in a widening circle of public actors to stop human trafficking. To date, more than 1,500 people have become aware of this issue through the direct action of a team member.
The section on Christian Social Action also initiated this train-the-trainer project to inspire and help all United Methodist Women members to take effective action in their communities. During the training, representatives from local service provider programs, mayor’s office, and local and federal law enforcement agencies provided a broad context.
Atlanta was chosen because of the activism of its mayor and to creatively challenge Atlanta’s position as a leading center for trafficking in the United States. Two additional United Methodist Women members have joined the team, and each person has developed an Action Plan to heighten awareness about the issues of human trafficking within their conferences and to combat human trafficking at the state and national level.
United Methodist Women members are working with policymakers and collaborative groups to advocate for the prevention and protection of those who are trafficked and for the prosecution of the perpetrators of this crime.
Judy Kading, the social action mission coordinator for the Iowa Conference, has joined the Des Moines Network Against Human Trafficking. Read her reflection on her experience since the Human Trafficking training.
The Massachusetts Council of Churches contacted the Washington office to identify a representative for its Statewide Task Force on Human Trafficking, and they received Brenda Lopez, the social action mission coordinator for the New England Conference, who will serve as the trafficking team’s representative on the task force.
Tara Wilson, Social Action Coordinator for the West Ohio Conference, scheduled a presentation to the Perry County Teachers Association.
Anna Noble, a team member from the California–Nevada Conference, appeared as a guest on a local radio program, discussing the United Methodist Women trafficking initiative.
Read the heartfelt words of your fellow United Methodist Women as they express the personal and community transformation brought about through this mission experience.
Contact your social action mission coordinator or mission team to arrange for an issue education forum on human trafficking.
Use: The United Methodist Women 2010 Program Book Let’s Get Together
Contact: A Future. Not a Past.
The Washington office, working with the Women’s Funding Network, has provided each team member with a toolkit and action guide to establishing a service center in your community to stop the sexual exploitation of children. A Future. Not a Past. (AFNAP) is looking for institutional partners that will dedicate staff and resources to ending prostitution in your community. Contact AFNAP at 404-224-4566 or e-mail Kaffie@afuturenotapast.org.
Call to report a suspected incident of human trafficking: You can help someone.