The Evolution of Anti-Trafficking Campaigns in the Church
Exploitation of humans has existed since biblical times. The Bible is filled with stories of individuals taking control of others. Rooted in that idea of control is human trafficking.
Jo Anne Lyon founded World Hope International in an effort to combat human trafficking operations after a visit to Cambodia in 1996.
Lyon hoped for support from the church for her ministry and outreach but did not immediately receive it. Lyons recalls the initial resistance from church members writing, “Many church members chose ignorant bliss because they had a hard time hearing about the abuse. Others saw it as a foreign issue and preferred to focus instead on local ministries.”
After three years of pushing, trafficking initiatives started gaining attention. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act was passed by Congress in 2000, followed by a $50 million allotment dedicated to attack sex trafficking operations by President George W. Bush.
Programs were created for the healing of victims in the industry, and many survivors of commercial sexual exploitation have gone on to lead healthy, free lives. Still, Lyon believes that there is still more work to be done.
“Our goal is one,” Lyon writes. “Eliminating trafficking in persons in our lifetime...The U.S. Department of State estimates there could be as many as 27 million men, women, and children worldwide caught in the cycle of human trafficking today. But I’m inspired to see the fruits of our efforts -- law passed, children protected, justice served -- when we join together under God’s direction.”
Publication date: May 2, 2014