January is National Human Trafficking Awareness Month. This program is designed to raise awareness regarding anti–human trafficking and encourage your community to get involved in the #FightforFreedom initiatives of The Salvation Army.
Human trafficking is a form of modern slavery, a multi–billion–-dollar criminal industry that denies freedom to 40.3 million people around the world. And no matter where you live, chances are it’s happening nearby. From the girl forced into prostitution in a hotel room, to a man discovered in a restaurant kitchen, stripped of his passport and held against his will. All trafficking victims share one essential experience—the loss of freedom.
In The Salvation Army there are 28 programs across the United States dedicated to serving survivors of trafficking. Fighting trafficking is part of our heritage in The Salvation Army and we are continuing that legacy today.
- Identify a Salvation Army Anti–Trafficking program (or if you don’t have one nearby, contact a local anti–trafficking organization) that you want to encourage and once you get in touch with the program director, determine what would be the best way for your group to serve. Examples: Collecting toiletry items, collecting items for babies, offering to cook a meal or desserts – find out what would bless the survivors that they are serving in their programs. Check the map of all TSA programs: https://sajustice.us/fight-for-freedom/#current-initiatives
- Invite a staff member from the program to share with your group about trafficking and learn about how their program is serving If they are unavailable, you can show a video clip or documentary. Visit www.sajustice.us for free video resources.
- After the speaker or video clip, share more about the service project and how your corps will be supporting the local anti–trafficking Ask the women’s group to bring in items to donate. If the corps is purchasing the supplies, have the group help put together care packages. Invite the women to write encouraging notes with scripture verses, prayers or encouraging quotes to share with those coming out of trafficking. Provide these to the local program you have identified.
Rahab the Harlot
Read Joshua 2:1–24
Some people are defined by their occupations. That is clearly the case with Rahab, who was a prostitute in the city of Jericho. Her job title was practically her last name—Rahab the Harlot. Her house was built into the city wall, providing both lodging and favors for travelers. It was a natural place for the Israelite spies to stay, as they would be mistaken for Rahab’s customers.
Rahab knew her position was dangerous. She could have been killed if she had been caught harboring the Israelite spies. But she took the risk because she sensed that the Israelites relied on a God worthy of trust. And God rewarded her by promising safety for her and her family.
Rahab is remembered not for her harlotry but for her bravery. Not for loving men but for trusting God. God works through people like Rahab, whom we are inclined to reject. God remembered her because of her faith, not her profession.
Our past does not determine our future. Rahab rose above her situation through her trust in God. She was blessed with a good husband and she is listed in the genealogy of Jesus. If God can turn a harlot into a holy vessel, entrusting her with the very genes that would one day produce the King of Kings, surely there is hope for anyone with a past.
Human Trafficking is a heavy topic and it is difficult to know how to respond. In The Salvation Army, we are committed to fighting this injustice and know that this is something close to the Lord’s heart. If your corps wants to find more ways to fight trafficking and support the Fight for Freedom initiatives, contact your Territorial Anti–Trafficking Coordinator.
Close your time together in prayer. You can utilize guided prayer and scripture from the worship resource at www.sajustice.us.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for His own glory.”