According to the Human Trafficking Hotline, there are over 40 million victims of trafficking worldwide. TEAM is acutely aware of the global crisis of sex trafficking and we thank God for opening doors to anti-trafficking ministry opportunities in various regions.
For this month’s Prayer Focus, we invite you to join us in praying for anti-trafficking ministries and those they serve in these specific ways:
1. PRAY for global workers to find and connect with those in need in a post-COVID climate.
In many areas, especially in places where prostitution is legal, it was relatively straightforward prior to the pandemic to find trafficked individuals. Outreach ministries could approach people right on the street and begin to build rapport and show care for them. However, lockdown protocols drove the sex industry largely online, making it much more difficult for workers to engage with those in need. Ministries are learning new ways to connect, but it is a slow process.
2. PRAY for survivors to be freed from fear and bondage, and to stay committed to recovery.
For those seeking escape or having recently escaped from a trafficking situation, their journey is really just beginning. They often face many fears and difficult consequences of leaving. Depending on the location and situation, survivors may be putting themselves or their families in danger. Traffickers use a variety of tactics to keep their victims under control.
In North America, this might be through addiction to drugs. In parts of Europe, trafficked individuals have been involved in voodoo rituals which “bind” them to their trafficker, creating great fear and spiritual bondage. Still others may face the wrath of local mafia-type groups that seek to harm them or their families if they leave.
3. PRAY for those serving to have a healthy and effective mindset in ministry.
Ministering to survivors of human trafficking can be very heavy, exhausting work. Some TEAM-affiliated safe houses may shelter women from as many as 17 different cultures at once, which can lead to communication difficulties and conflict. Pray for God to provide trained and loving communities to walk with these traumatized survivors.
Also, it is important to remember that trafficked individuals have already been controlled and manipulated – physically, emotionally, and even spiritually. It is easy for well-meaning workers, whether they come from a western background or a national background, to inadvertently use their position of “authority” to try and force transformation too quickly.
Faith-based recovery is most effective when we come alongside people, empowering them to rebuild their lives, rather than believing that we are “saving” or “rescuing” them. Pray for discernment for workers to know the right time to speak truth in love and to share the Gospel, and when it’s best to let their actions speak while the Spirit moves.
4. PRAY for financial provision for anti-trafficking initiatives.
Sometimes ministries find themselves in a “chicken or egg” scenario when it comes to fundraising for things like safe houses. It is difficult to raise money for a safe house that doesn’t have survivors in it yet, but survivors can’t be pursued and provided for until there is a place for them to go. The same is true as programs grow and expand.
Another challenge is that local churches in many global regions do not give to charitable causes as freely as we often see in the U.S. Also, churches abroad tend to be smaller, with a more limited donor base. As anti-trafficking efforts grow worldwide, we know that God is Jehovah Jireh – our Provider.
5. PRAY for continued collaboration throughout the global Church.
TEAM workers are thankful to network with various organizations and individuals around the world with the common goal of bringing the light of Christ into the darkness of human trafficking. Some of our current partnerships include collaboration with the SA Foundation, Alleanza Tesori Raggianti (ATR), the International Christian Alliance on Prostitution (ICAP), and the European Freedom Network among others. We also continually seek to equip local churches to send workers “from everywhere, to everywhere” to reach those in need of the hope of the Gospel.
These prayer points were informed by conversations with TEAM global workers engaged in anti-trafficking ministries around the world. We sincerely thank them for sharing these needs and for their tireless work, day in and day out.
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