It has earned the label “modern-day slavery” and affects virtually every country in the world.
Human trafficking is rapidly growing because of the worldwide demand for cheap labor and services, including commercial sexual activities.
Since being founded in 2001, Global Women (GW) has been concerned about this atrocity in which vulnerable women and girls make up the majority of victims. Sex trafficking is the most commonly identified form of human trafficking.
Global Women envisions a world where every woman is empowered by the love of God, valued by her community and equipped to fulfill her unique purpose.
Their response to issues that stifle this vision comes through global partnerships with indigenous Christian women and indigenous-focused Christian organizations.
The global partnerships address one or more of GW’s initiatives: sex trafficking, clean water, maternal health, education and economic development.
GW’s response to sex trafficking is to support trafficking-prevention efforts and rehabilitation and restoration programs.
Current global partnerships addressing this initiative are in Moldova, Central Asia and Myanmar (Burma).
Tens of thousands of Moldovan women are estimated to have fallen victim to human trafficking.
Most victims come from rural areas, where economic hardships and ignorance turn young girls into easy prey for traffickers.
BOL’s holistic programs focus on trafficking prevention, rehabilitation and restoration.
Their reach begins with young girls and includes teens and adult women.
Global Women assists the ministry of BOL by supporting Yulia Ubeivolc, a trained psychologist, who provides leadership as well as counseling through multiple programs.
Additionally, GW funds training for school leaders, helps provide an annual summer camp for women in the restoration program, and, for several summers, has sent a team to assist the BOL staff at camp.
GW has global partners in two central Asian countries. The partners and the countries where they live cannot be named to help ensure their safety.
Human trafficking, nearly unknown in Central Asia during the Soviet period, is now a major problem facing the region.
In one country, Beginning of Life provided seminars and training and assisted with the development of a prevention program for vulnerable girls.
One participant shared about the impact this has made on her. “I have found good friends and received many useful and wise advises. On the meetings we discuss such topics as human trafficking or sexual violence and exploitation.”
“I always dreamed about leaving the country to find better life somewhere else, but now I became aware about all this things. I decided to complete my education and to get a profession first, and then to start seeking an employment here in K. I won’t go somewhere following big and fake promises,” she said.
Global Women provides funding for the trained, indigenous woman leading this program as well as support for her work.
The other central Asian partnership provides prevention services for women who have been incarcerated and are at risk of being trafficked when released without a job, a home or a source of income.
This residential ministry equips them with life skills and sewing training. Having a marketable skill can lead to employment, helping the women become self-sufficient.
Global Women supports the efforts of this partner through a stipend for the instructor and funding that provides program supplies.
In Myanmar, GW continues a longstanding partnership with Naw Paw Gaw and two training centers.
Many of the trainees are from remote areas of the country still devastated by the 2008 cyclone Nargis.
Poverty, lack of access to education, and loss of family members put girls at risk of being trafficked.
GW provides scholarships and instructional support for a six-month residential community health worker training at the ZOE Development Center.
There, students gain the skills necessary to work in city clinics as well as in rural areas of the country.
GW also supports the Hope Center, where girls are trained in traditional loom weaving.
By equipping young women for employment, the programs of both centers in Myanmar provide them with hope for their futures away from the lure of traffickers.
In addition to supporting their global partnerships that address human trafficking, GW feels a sense of responsibility to raise awareness about the issue.
Information about trafficking, and Global Women’s other four initiatives, can be found in GW publications, at regional events, on their website (under revision) as well as through their Facebook page and blog posts.
The organization is also committed to praying for the indigenous leaders and the women and girls who are beneficiaries of their programs.
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles on how Baptists are addressing human trafficking around the world. A column by Chris Hall of BMS World Mission will appear tomorrow.