National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month

By The Stream Published on January 14, 2019

“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” Isaiah 1:17

In honor of National Slavery & Human Trafficking Prevention Month, The Stream is highlighting stories related to human trafficking. Please join us in educating ourselves about this fight and committing ourselves to prayer. Please pray for slavery to end in our nation and in the world. Pray that God will give wisdom to leaders in the church, world governments, business, and communities to promote justice in their lands. Ask God to change our own hearts to care about what He cares about, to pray for His will on the earth and to give and act as He directs.

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Consider giving to RescueLIFE, a ministry of our publisher, James Robison. RescueLIFE allocates funds to vetted Christian ministry partners in the U.S. and around the world. These ministry partners fight traffickers, educate communities, rescue victims from the hands of traffickers and restore those who have been rescued through the love of God.

The following Stream articles share news and stories of redemption related to modern slavery and human trafficking:

At age 5, Andi Buerger feared for her life. Her mom told her she was a problem and threatened to kill her. She felt alone. Her mother, father, older brother and extended family members preyed on her. Little Andi went out to the curb of her street in Los Angeles, California. She knew cars could be dangerous. She waited for a car to come by so she could run out in front of it.

Buerger says it’s been a long journey of hurt and healing since then. Now she speaks with enthusiasm about her life, her connection to God, her marriage, and Beulah’s Place. It’s a non-profit she started to help homeless abused teens and young adults become independent. She and her husband have become mother and father figures to many of them.

“I have the most blessed life right now,” Buerger said.

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Andi Buerger, age 57, knows the pain of abuse. From age six months to 17 years, family members preyed on her. Her family passed her around throughout her childhood to other family members to use for sex. Her mother tried to kill her. By age five she felt desolate. She tried to end her life.

“My particular case is hard to grasp,” Buerger said.

This took place in the 1960s, before much light was shined on human trafficking. But Buerger was passed around to be used, like sex trafficking victims are.

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A study on the brutal sex trafficking trade published by the Loyola University Chicago’s Beazley Institute documents it. Sex traffickers often force their victims to get abortions and STI treatments at Planned Parenthood. So they can quickly get them back on the streets. The report notes that victims had “significant contact with clinical treatment facilities, most commonly Planned Parenthood.”

In fact, Planned Parenthood was the most-visited free-standing facility for trafficking victims. It came second only to hospital emergency rooms! Why Planned Parenthood? One survivor explained that it’s “because they didn’t ask any questions.” That’s a huge problem.

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A ministry in Nepal intercepted more than 1,500 victims of trafficking during 2018, says Ralph Done, director of missions at Life Outreach International (LOI). These victims, almost all women and girls except for 20 boys, were under the control of traffickers who were on their way to pass through the Nepalese border with India.

Done called this effort to stop traffickers at the border both a prevention and a rescue. When stopped at the border, the traffickers have not yet taken the girls and boys to the place where they would be exploited for financial gain.

“If these girls ever get across the border by the traffickers, they disappear and they’re never heard of again,” Done explains.

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President Donald Trump signed into law the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2017 on Wednesday. This is the last in a series of four anti-trafficking bills the president signed in the past three weeks.

The bills were needed to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000. The TVPA of 2000 stands as the cornerstone of federal human trafficking legislation. It must be reauthorized every few years, but expired in 2017. The most recently signed version of the law tightens criteria for whether countries meet minimum standards for eliminating human trafficking, or modern slavery.

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“Being in foster care was the perfect training for commercial sexual exploitation,” said a youth rescued from that abuse. Quoted in a report from the California Child Welfare Council, the child explained:

I was used to being moved without warning, without any say, not knowing where I was going or whether I was allowed to pack my clothes. After years in foster care, I didn’t think anyone would want to take care of me unless they were paid. So, when my pimp expected me to make money to support “the family,’” it made sense to me.

Placement in foster care can be one traumatic experience in a child’s life. Too often it comes before another one: commercial sexual exploitation.

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Somewhere in Southeast Asia, four women hold up signs for free beer. Other women, in scant clothing, sit at store fronts waiting to be selected by a john. These aren’t ordinary prostitutes. These women are caught up in the business of sex trafficking. They all have one thing in common: an expression of pain on their faces. But with your help, that can change.

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A pair of sharp eyes saved 26 girls from human traffickers last week in India, but what about the thousands of other children without heroes to look out for them?

Children trafficked in India isn’t exactly news, but the common factor in many of their stories is fascinating. Various publications report many children vanished at train stations.

The numbers are heartbreaking. But everyday heroes give hope that trafficking can one day end, or at least diminish. One such story happened last week on a train.

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Law enforcement arrested more than 2,300 accused child sex offenders and identified 383 children who have been victims of sex abuse, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday.

Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task forces made the arrests nationwide between March and May in a sweep dubbed Operation Broken Heart, identifying an additional 195 offenders who produced child pornography or committed child sex abuse, according to the DOJ. The 383 children were allegedly either forced to participate in the production of child pornography or had suffered recent, ongoing or past sexual abuse.

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Planned Parenthood provides abortions. Do you know what else the group provides? According to the pro-life organization Live Action, cover-ups of child sexual abuse.

Live Action just announced a new video series. Titled “Aiding Abusers,” the seven videos will be released on YouTube. Three have been released so far. Topics include recorded cases of employees failing to report sexual abuse, testimony from former workers, and Planned Parenthood’s failure to report sex trafficking.

The #MeToo movement is exposing sexual abuse in multiple industries. Live Action president and founder Lila Rose says it’s time the movement came for Planned Parenthood.

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Democrats have added one new subject for their attacks on Donald Trump. They claim he doesn’t care about the abuse and sex trafficking of the children of illegal immigrants. They say his administration is letting horrible things happen to the children as part of his attempt to secure the border.

The mainstream media went after Trump with stories of small children being torn away from their families or put into children’s detention centers hundreds of miles away from their parents. A social media campaign asked #WhereAreTheChildren.

It would be horrible, if true. But what really happens with these children?

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On April 6, federal authorities shut down Backpage.com, the most popular site to advertise prostitution and sex trafficking victims, according to one U.S. study. Yet that same day, the Women’s March called the shutdown an “absolute crisis for sex workers.”

The controversy raised important questions, especially during Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Why might a woman choose “sex work”? Is her life different from that of a sex trafficking victim? How can churches help all the victims of the multi-billion dollar sex industry? The Stream spoke with two individuals who have answers.

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Each year millions of children and women are caught up in the sex industry and trafficked worldwide. RescueLIFE combats “the horrors of the sex industry by reaching, rescuing and restoring.” The ministry goes into villages around the world to teach children about the dangers of human trafficking and what to watch out for. Working with local partners, the ministry also rescues children from the sex industry. They seek to restore the children by placing them in safe, loving homes and by teaching them about the love of Jesus.

LIFE Today’s Sheila Walsh spoke with The Stream’s Nancy Flory about the ministry and its work.

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In recent years, hotels and motels have become places where for trafficked women are housed. Their “owners” — the brutal men who dehumanize and threaten them into submission — like to remain on the move. Hotels provide for the fast getaways on which these monsters rely.

But trafficking in persons — otherwise known as slavery — cuts across borders and cultures. Estimates vary, but around the world, at least 20 million people, maybe as many as 30 million — are forced into sexual bondage, coerced labor, and involuntary domestic service.

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