Human Trafficking in Missions Term Paper

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Human Trafficking

In October of 2007, 30 nuns from 26 countries, whose congregations have members in various Asian countries, met in Rome to discuss the trafficking of women and children in India and other parts of Asia. They formed the International Network of Religious against Trafficking in Persons. Seventy-four million South Asian women have been reported missing and 20 million are said to be working in Indian brothels (Glatz, 2007). These nuns are only one of a growing number of religious organizations that are lending their resources to combat the horrors of human trafficking.

Throughout history, missionaries and other religious groups have worked continuously on this human atrocity.

When one hears the word "slavery," it brings to mind the blacks in the United States who were brought from Africa to work on the plantations in the 1700s. However, slavery, also known as "human trafficking," has been happening throughout human history. For example, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, thousands of women were taken from Eastern Europe with promises of a better life and sent to South America as prostitutes for white slave trade.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Term Paper on Human Trafficking in Missions Assignment

Today, this is a growing problem. As Tran (2007, p.22) notes: "Those who want to make lots of money and don't care about breaking the law to do it have three main options: they can deal in drugs, deal in guns or deal in humans beings. Of these dubious but lucrative businesses, trafficking in humans is the fastest growing." It is estimated that the number of slaves in the world is somewhere between 12 million (United Nations figure) and 27 million (the figure by Kevin Bales, president of Free the Slaves, an organization committed to ending global slavery). The Vatican declared in 2007 that human trafficking in this time is a greater scourge than the transatlantic slave trade of the 18th century. The problem has not bypassed the U.S. By any means. Ironically, the countries where sexual slavery is most objectionable tend to be the largest destination locations. The CIA estimates that at least 17,500 women and children are trafficked into the U.S. each year, though other reports put the number up to 50,000. The UN's Trafficking in Persons report listed the U.S., Nigeria, Romania, China and Thailand, among the top 11 destination countries.

The conditions that make human trafficking easy and very profitable arise wherever the demand for unprotected labor is overshadowed by the wealth and greed of those who pay for it. Such a situation produces the combination of desperation of the worker and profiteering by the slave trader. Says Stefano Volpicelli, who for years studied and fought slavery: "Trafficking is not born from the minds of inherently malicious individuals whose only aspiration is to harm and degrade women. Without excusing vile behavior, it is a phenomenon in which both victim and perpetrator are born from the same scourge of utter desperation" (Tran, 2007, p. 22)

In the late 1990s this growing problem gained increasing visibility, and local and national governments, international bodies like the United Nations, USAID and nongovernmental organizations began to commit significant amounts resources to address this growing human rights catastrophe. The UN's approach is based on the "Three Ps": Prevention, Prosecution and Protection. Since trafficking often involves trickery, prevention includes creative ways of warning potential victims. Ukrainian movie stars have acted in popular videos to warn people about this issue. Nations such as India have grown increasingly aware of slavery, and local religious communities utilize local channels to raise awareness and provide protection for women and children.

As is always the case throughout history, religious organizations have become involved with any form of slavery. The International Network of Religious against Trafficking in Persons that was formed in 2007 has chapters throughout the world.

In 2007, David Busch of ABC Radio National interviewed several religious leaders about the trafflicking problem. Pauline Coll of Brisbane, a Good Samaritan sister, coordinates Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking of Humans, ACRATH. This is a large national network of Catholic religious orders dedicated to anti-trafficking. Coll noted that a several recent catalysts motivated the religious orders to take action. In 2001 and 2004, international leaders of 800 congregations of Catholic women declared the trafficking of women as a global priority for their one million members and orders worldwide began to mobilize.

Also being interviewed by Busch (2007) was Louise Cleary of Melbourne, most recently world leader of the Brigidine sisters and founder of ACRATH. Cleary explained that the Brigidine sisters have an asylum seekers project that mainly ministers to young men. In Melbourne and Sydney, the sisters became aware that there were small groups of women arriving, as well. The women would be in the detention center one week and then gone in a week or ten days later. When beginning to question the men at the shelter, they found that the women were being picked up in raids. The nuns found that that they had been brought into the country against their will. Another person interviewed was Commander Paul Moulds of Sydney who oversees the Salvation Army's street outreach programs.Molds said that the Salvation Army, too, started becoming aware of this problem in Australia as well through their other programs: "In almost every capital city the Salvation Army is running street-based outreach programs, and I think there is a new understanding that some of the people that we meet -- and we're talking to girls standing on street corners, we're talking to prostitutes...are in fact trafficked people.

Margaret Ng a nun and working with the Josephite Counter-Trafficking Project in Sydney explained that it is not easy to reach those who need help. "And one of them actually said, 'How do I know you can be trusted? How do I know that you're not from the brothel owner?' So I refer her onto the other detainees and also speak about my going there before they even arrived, and this helps to allay their fears." If there time, they are offered a safe non-judgemental environment to tell their story. Ng continued: "If we are talking about relieving suffering and bringing hope, at least it's good to be able to open to them the phase of acceptance for who they are and not what they have done, and acceptance of their self-worth....A deeper understanding of who they are and that they are good, and that this will help them to survive whatever trauma has been part of their being trafficked" (Busch, 2007)

According to its website, the Catholic overseas aid and development agency Caritas International has locations among other locations in Nepal, Philippines, Thailand and Cambodia. They focus on areas where it sees that poverty and cultural factors have lead to a lack of value being placed on girls and women. Caritas International has identified four major areas for action against trafficking that are suited to its modes of action; prevention, assistance, advocacy and networking. Likewise, the Sisters of Good Shepherd has a ministry in 14 Asian countries. For example, the sisters in Taiwan work with at-risk youth to prevent sexual exploitation and prostitution. The organization runs five small group homes to help victims of sexual exploitation to recover and reintegrate. They also conduct group counseling to victims of trafficking

The stories are in every country. When Moon was 12 weeks old in Burma, her birth mother sold her to a local woman, who raised her like a slave. When she was three, this second "mother" forced her to wash dishes in a restaurant eight hours a day. When Moon turned 13, the woman sold her virginity to a Western businessman in Thailand, but she fought free. A few months later, her second mother blocked the hotel room door after an Indian man paid $800. Moon was then beaten until she submitted to sex. She was carried home and could not walk for10 days. A year later, across the border in northern Thailand, the same woman tricked Moon into working at a noodle stand that was a brothel. When Moon refused to comply with her first customer, the owner taped her hands to the bed. The second night, 15 men used her; the next night, 9; the next, 11. (Jewell, 2007, p. 28).

The johns included men from Thailand, Myanmar, Japan, Korea, India, and the West. The owner's brother, a policeman, drugged Moon and 10 other captive girls to keep them awake at night. They were threatened with cigarette burns and beatings. The police were paid off and also had sex with the girls. Moon tried to escape, but the woman owner and her brothers locked her in her room and kept an armed vigil at the brothel. Moon stated: "I cursed every god. But in my heart, I believed someone would come and help me" (Jewell, 2007, p. 28).

After nearly a month in the brothel, the police and International Justice Mission, an evangelical ministry, rescued her. Since that time four years ago, missionaries Mark and Christa Crawford have introduced Moon to Jesus and tried to help… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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