A prayer walk is a great way to raise awareness, educate and create opportunities to serve victims of Human Trafficking. While Human Trafficking is largely a hidden problem, it is happening in your town, county, state and nation. Action starts with awareness.
Often our women’s groups feel that they do not have the capability to make a difference when it comes to the monumental problem of human trafficking/modern day slavery. This is untrue. By educating our women, we could be saving someone’s life. The women can pray, make cards of encouragement, give toiletries or personal care items, and offer life skills coaching. When we serve others with a generous heart, God will take that offering, multiply it and use it in ways we may never know. Matthew 25:40 reminds us, “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me.”
Set up five stations/tables. Add scarves/runners, crosses, candles or prayer signs to each table to emphasize the purpose. Print the action signs and the scriptures for each station. Print various images that support anti-human trafficking. Refer to the resources attached to find some images. Ask the women to bring personal hygiene/toiletry products to donate to a shelter, pantry or a group helping human trafficking victims. Set a goal to raise a certain number of items in the month of January. Take pictures and post your progress on Facebook. Encourage everyone to get involved.
Station 1: Pray for the magnitude of the issue.
Set up: Add a container filled with rice to the table. The rice in the container represents 40.3 million people caught in modern day slavery. It would take approximately 5,757 pounds of rice to have enough to represent every person enslaved today. Take one grain of rice and hold it in your hand. Imagine that each grain of rice is a person with a name, a family and a story.
- Think about a man who is forced to work in a restaurant paying off an impossible debt.
- Think about two sisters trying to get to another country to make a better life, however their “helpers” have more malicious intents.
- Think about children (7-15 years old) who are taken from their homes and forced to be soldiers for drug lords.
- Scripture: “Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless. Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? But You, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; You consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to You; You are the helper of the fatherless. Break the arm of the wicked man; call the evildoer to account for his wickedness that would not otherwise be found out. The Lord is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them, and You listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, so that mere earthly mortals will never again strike terror.” Psalm 10:12-18
Station 2: Pray for victims across the globe.
Set up: Place pads of post–it notes and pens on the table.
Add Actions and Scripture Signs to the table.
Hang up a large world map near the table. World maps showing prevalence of modern slavery can be found at https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/2018/findings/highlights/.
Slavery happens in every country on the globe. Pick a country on the world map. Write a prayer on a post–it note for those who are impacted by Human Trafficking. Take some time in prayer for them and place the prayer on the map.
Scripture: “I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak. I will shepherd the flock with justice” (Eze. 34:16).
Station 3: Freedom Chain
Set Up: Make a red paper chain to drape across the table. Add the station action and the scripture to the overall set up of the station.
Pray for those who work with survivors and those seeking freedom from slavery. Break a link of the chain. This breaking is a symbolic gesture, claiming freedom for another person.
Scripture: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” (Isa. 58:6)
Station 4: Walk a mile in their shoes.
Set up: Print off a couple sets of hands and feet. Put the hands on the wall and the feet on the floor. Add Actions and Scripture Signs to the table.
Many of us can only begin to imagine what victims must endure every day just to survive. We see a little in the movies or read about it in the newspaper, but that is a just a glimpse.
Place your hands and feet in the prints in front of you. Imagine you are the person entrapped in slavery. Close your eyes and use your senses. What do you feel? What do you see? What do you smell? Are your hands and feet tied together? Are you alone in a dark room? What do you have with you?
Pray for those held captive in this dark world. Pray God’s protection to surround them. Pray that the lost would be found.
Scripture: “Rescue the weak and the needy; Deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Ps. 82:4). “Remember the prisoners as if chained with them” (Heb. 13:3).
***If you have experienced something in the past that prevents you from wanting to participate or brings up trauma, we pray for the Lord’s continued healing in your life. If you need help, please seek out your Corps Officer in a confidential setting.
Station 5: What can I do?
Set up: Place several red sharpies at this station.
Add Actions and Scripture Signs to the table.
In advance, ask your women to bring toiletries and personal care items. Often, when people come out of their situation, they have nothing, except what they have on. Have the women place the personal care items at this station while they pray for the people who will be using them.
Everyone can do something to help END IT! Yes, you too!
You can: take awareness classes; teach children about modern slavery; learn to identify victims and how to report suspicious actions; participate in a 5 K walk to fight against human trafficking; create a contact for the National Human Trafficking Hotline in your cell phone contacts: 888-373-7888; donate toiletries and personal items to homeless shelters and to groups helping survivors get back on their feet. If you have professional skills, find a group to volunteer with and offer those skills. Donate!
William Booth said in his last public address, “While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight, I’ll fight to the very end!”
Today, you can continue to pray for the Lord’s leading. Before you leave this place, draw a red X on the back of your hand to show your support in the fight against Human Trafficking.
“Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.” (Ps. 82:3). “The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for Me”” (Matt. 25:40).
The United Nations defines human trafficking as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons by improper means (such as force, abduction, fraud, or coercion) for an improper purpose including forced labor or sexual exploitation. Human smuggling, a related but different crime, generally involves the consent of the person(s) being smuggled. These people often pay large sums of money to be smuggled across international borders. Once in the country of their final destination, they are generally left to their own devices. Smuggling becomes trafficking when the element of force or coercion is introduced.
The Salvation Army is deeply committed to fighting modern slavery and human trafficking. Modern slavery is an umbrella term including human trafficking for sex, labor or organs, exploitative labor practices, child labor and early and forced marriage. It involves not just individuals but also social and economic systems. The Salvation Army believes in the biblical principles of the inherent and equal value of all persons and the duty to care for one’s neighbor. The exploitation of human beings commodifies and dehumanizes the individuals who are trafficked, rewards the inhumanity of the traffickers, and weakens the moral, social and economic fabric of society. The Salvation Army is opposed to the abuse of power against other human beings that is inherent in modern slavery and human trafficking. (The Salvation Army International Positional Statement, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, 2020).
- Human Trafficking | The Salvation Army
- United Nations definition of Human Trafficking: https://nij.ojp.gov
Written by Captain Dana Cook & Major Stephanie Sawka