The Salvation Army is in the fight against human trafficking
It was a rainy day in the city, and Stacy was desperately searching for help. Her clothes were soaked. She was cold and barefoot and had nowhere to go. She frantically asked the first person she saw, “Where can I go to get help?” He pointed her to The Salvation Army. When she got there and saw the woman at the front desk, she broke down in tears. The woman, Carolyn, knew something was very wrong. Concerned that this could be a trafficking situation, she called the case manager. Stacy was given a warm meal and a change of clothes.
When she was made comfortable, Stacy shared that her name would be found on the national missing children’s list. She had run away from a group home with her boyfriend who promised her a better life. But when the two got to the new city, the boyfriend immediately turned on her, threatened her life and trafficked her online through a website. For several months she felt trapped, isolated and scared until she got up the courage to run away. She risked everything for a chance to get away from her trafficker. Thankfully she was able to get to The Salvation Army Community Center, where signs of her situation were recognized and she received the resources and assistance she needed.
This is a true story that reveals The Salvation Army as a beacon of hope in our communities, a safe place to feel valued and accepted. A place to get resources and find a listening ear. Thankfully, in this case, personnel were trained and equipped to know how to respond to Stacy as a trafficking survivor. They provided a safe and nonjudgmental space to listen and understand Stacy’s situation and get her the right assistance.
Whether we know it or not, every day the women’s ministries, social service programs, and youth programs of our corps are serving trafficking survivors and those at risk for trafficking. Many survivors do not identify as a trafficking victim and will not disclose their situation immediately. The more we are aware and trained, the more people will understand human trafficking and know the signs to look for and how to respond.
If you want to get more involved in fighting human trafficking in your community, there are many ways you can begin to engage.
- The first step is to become more aware of the issue and to become educated. It is important not to jump in too quickly without first becoming informed. Sometimes, we think we know the best way to help, but our actions may unintentionally be harmful.
- Once you have gone through training, investigate what resources already exist in your community. Are there organizations involved in anti–trafficking work that you could support? Does The Salvation Army have an anti–trafficking program nearby? Could you help organize a documentary screening to raise awareness and begin a dialogue about how your community can best respond? There are so many ways we can engage in the Fight for Freedom, and we need everyone to use their unique voices and gifts.
- Yes, outreach and direct services are vital in this work, but we also need advocates to help raise awareness and to use their time and talents to support our programs in creative ways. It may be a dance or theater group using their platform to raise awareness and funding for the programs. There are so many ways to get involved. What could it look like for your community?
If you want more information or want to connect with the Fight for Freedom initiatives going on in your community to fight human & trafficking, please visit www.sajustice.us. You can also contact your Territorial Anti–Trafficking Coordinator at Territorial Headquarters:
USA Southern Territory Headquarters
Social Services Department