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Human Trafficking

Not in My Neighborhood!

A Spiritual Growth and Social Action Retreat on Human Trafficking

By Charlotte Morrow

This text is designed to be used for a group retreat, accompanied by the “Not in My Neighborhood” PowerPoint presentation.

Format for the day

8:45 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Registration
9:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Human trafficking seminar
12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. Lunch
1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Volunteer activity with local women’s shelter or other organization that works with trafficked women and children


This text is designed to be used for a group retreat, accompanied by the “Not in My Neighborhood” PowerPoint presentation. Women will sit at round tables. Their tables will be their group for activities and group work. The facilitator should read the books listed in the presentation. Most of the information is found in the books and websites mentioned.

Materials needed

• Small altar or table.
• Orange piece of fabric or cloth.
• Red cords.
• Tabletop cross.
• Chain (plastic or metal).
• Round tables for groups.
• Long display tables.
• News articles and photos on human trafficking.
• Short quiz on human trafficking.
• World map.
• Map pins.
• Computer and projector.
• Television and DVD player.
• Two documentaries: Stolen Childhood and Not for Sale.
• Craft foam.
• Adhesive magnets.
• Sharp scissors or craft knives.
• Scrap paper.
• Pencils.
• Markers.
• Cookie cutters or other shaped objects to trace for magnet craft.
• Personal stories of human trafficking (printed out).
• Copies of “Human Trafficking Awareness and Action” Bible study from United Methodist Women website. 

Room setup

If available, use round tables for seminar participants. Use long tables for displays featuring articles about human trafficking from local and national papers along with photos. On the display tables place articles providing information about human trafficking statistics for countries around the world and the United States. This information can be found on the U.S. State Department’s website in the Trafficking in Persons Report. Include for display a world map on which each participant can place map pins denoting where they have traveled and lived. Make the worship center the focal point near the front of the room.

Worship center

Place a large cross on a small table that is covered with an orange cloth. Orange is the color used to denote human trafficking awareness. The cross should be in the center of the table surrounded by a chain (plastic chains are usually available in Halloween shops). Lay red cords or ribbons across the table.

Opening activity

As the participants arrive, challenge them with short “quiz” for which all of the answers can be found on the displays or during the presentation. They will review their answers later in the session with their table group.

Opening worship 

The opening worship is based on the story of Tamar (Genesis 38) and story of Rahab (Joshua 2). Red threads connect both of those stories. The red cords on the worship table are there to remind the participants of their connections to women in the Bible stories. You can also use the story of Joseph (Genesis 37:12-36). Both men and women fall victim to human trafficking.

PowerPoint presentation

Show participants the human trafficking PowerPoint presentation, available for download in the sidebar. This section of the PowerPoint includes a litany, explanations of what human trafficking is, the types of modern-day slavery, and statistics on human trafficking. Stop the presentation at slide 31.

Activity: Personal human trafficking stories

Give each woman a personal trafficking story to read. Personal stories can be found at www.polarisproject.org, www.aheartforjustice.com and www.jammedtruestories.blogspot.com. After each woman has read her individual story, she will share the story with her group. The group will then choose a story to share with the entire group, answering the questions provided on the PowerPoint (slide 32).

Documentary screening: Stolen Childhoods

Choose a 10 to 15 minute excerpt from the documentary to show with the group. As a group answer the questions on the PowerPoint (slide 35).

PowerPoint presentation continued

Briefly discuss slides 36-40, which include information on industries that support modern-day slavery and additional resources participants can consult to learn more.

Activity: World map

After the PowerPoint presentation have participants mark the map with pins noting where they have traveled or lived. After everyone has placed a pin on the map, view the map and compare the concentration of pins to the concentration of trafficking in the same areas (slides 41-44).

Activity: Quiz review

Have participants as a table compare the answers as a group and discuss any differences. Instruct tables to find answers for questions still unanswered (slide 43).

Activity: Bible study

As a table choose one facilitator to lead the “Human Trafficking Awareness and Action” Bible study by Glory E. Dharmaraj, available for download on the sidebar. Together participants will study Judges 19:1-30: Woman From Bethlehem using the study’s guidelines (slide 46).

Documentary screening: Not for Sale

Stop PowerPoint at slide 47. Screen a 10 to 15 minute excerpt of the documentary. If desired, create a list of discussion questions.

Activity: Magnets

Give each table craft foam, adhesive magnets, scissors/craft knives, scrap paper, pencils, markers and cookie cutters or other shaped objects to trace. Tell each woman to draw and cut a shape out of the foam that to her represents a symbol of hope. Make the shape large enough to write a phone number on but small enough to be used as a refrigerator magnet. Have each woman write on the foam shape the phone number for the National Human Trafficking Resource Center: 1-888-373-7888. Attach a magnet to the back. This magnet will serve as a daily reminder that slavery still exists and United Methodist Women members must join the fight to end it (slide 46).

PowerPoint presentation continued

This section of the presentation includes ways to recognize a trafficking situation and what participants can do to help stop modern-day slavery (slides 49-56).

Suggestions for what United Methodist Women members can do

  • Encourage recognition of January 11 Human Trafficking Awareness Day within their churches.
  • Encourage women to join the United Methodist Women social action network: www.unitedmethodistwomen.org/act/network.
  • Let women take the informational material from the tables home to share with others, especially the materials from the United Methodist Women Intercept the Traffickers campaign.
  • Read books and articles about human trafficking.
  • Contact local law enforcement agencies about human trafficking in their communities. What do participants’ local agencies do to combat human trafficking? How can participants help?
  • Review the signs of human trafficking victims with youth groups and other groups within the church and community.
  • Participants can rent or purchase and watch the documentaries excerpted for the presentation. Another informative movie on the subject is Dreams Die Hard: Survivors in America Tell Their Stories, available through Free the Slaves. Look also for the film Not My Life, directed by Robert Bilheimer, to be released this year.

Closing worship

The facilitator reads the following story to the whole group (slide 58).

The Starfish Story

adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (New York: Harcourt, 1978).

One day a man was walking along the ocean shore and noticed a young boy reaching down picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean. The man asked the boy what he was doing.

The young man replied, “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

When the man asked him why, the boy replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

The man said, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference.”

The young man bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, “I made a difference to that one.”

Silent prayer

See PowerPoint slide 59.

Closing prayer

The closing prayer should be based on the story of the crippled woman found in Luke 13:10-13. Because of her condition the woman was permanently bent over and could not stand straight, until Jesus saw her and healed her of her affliction. Have each participant stand behind her chair and bend as far over as possible, holding this position as the prayer is given. The woman and this action symbolize those who due to human trafficking are bent over without the possibility of escaping their captive, bent-over state. At the end of the prayer participants stand straight again. Jesus said, “Woman, you are set free from your ailment.” The prayer’s goal is the goal of the retreat: helping trafficking victims stand straight again and ending modern-day slavery (slide 60).

Charlotte Morrow is spiritual growth coordinator for the Kansas East Conference United Methodist Women.

Last Updated: 03/17/2014

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