Anti-Human Trafficking

Stopping Slavery before it Starts – A Story from Cambodia

Human trafficking continues to flourish today in 167 countries – that’s 85 percent of the world. Every day, women, men and children of all ages and nationalities are captured and forced to work on farms, in factories, in hotels or in the commercial sex trade – generating billions of dollars of revenue each year. But the worldwide church has stepped into the fight against this gross injustice. World Relief stands with local churches in Cambodia and the United States and empowers them to protect their communities from human traffickers. Cambodia’s bustling capital city, Phnom Penh, is a hot spot for slavery and trafficking – but across Cambodia, there’s a growing movement of churches standing with their communities to end slavery. In 2014, over 400 Cambodian churches worked together to spread awareness about human trafficking. This crime flourishes in darkness, but when it’s brought into the light, perpetrators begin to lose their power.

Yim Srey Oun in Cambodia
Yim Srey Oun in Cambodia

Yim Srey Oun, a farmer and mother of three, lives just outside Phnom Penh. As a busy mom, she counted on her family to work together to finish the ever-growing list of chores. “My husband and I always encouraged our children to study and we worked hard to support them. However, many times we would need their help to do other work in the farm but I never had thought of letting my children have enough time to study at home,” said Oun.

Then, last year, she attended a human trafficking training session through World Relief. She learned she could love her children by allowing them more time to devote to their studies. Their education is an investment in the security of their future – and it could protect the children from situations in which they’d be vulnerable to traffickers.

“I hope the anti-trafficking project of World Relief will continue to help and train the rest of the parents in my community...Moreover, I am looking forward to seeing fruitful cooperation and more efficient and effective implementation to prevent human trafficking in our country and stand for vulnerable people who live in our community as well,” said Oun. Pastors, youth volunteers and village leaders are spreading awareness about human trafficking far and wide across Cambodia.

Until all are free, the church will stand strong in the pursuit of justice.

Empower a Hero: Veng Bun in Cambodia

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Veng Bun is a church leader, father, farmer – and a hero. He lives just outside the bustling city of Phnom Penh, a source and destination city for trafficked men, women and children in Cambodia. People of all ages are bought and sold in this city, then exploited for sex, labor and domestic work. In the past, Veng was also at risk of being sold into slavery. He wasn’t aware that traffickers preyed on migrant workers like himself.

Veng in Cambodia
Veng in Cambodia

Veng grows crops on a small plot of land outside his house, but that hasn’t always provided enough income to support his four children. To make up the difference, he often traveled for jobs as a construction worker or wood-cutter. On these routes, workers become vulnerable to traffickers. This is how many become enslaved for years, working without wages or a chance to go home.

Then, two years ago, Veng attended a trafficking prevention program hosted by World Relief. There, he realized his community’s vulnerability, as well as his own. As he learned about the tactics of traffickers, Veng knew he couldn’t keep this life-saving information to himself. Since he was a church leader, he was perfectly positioned to protect his village. Then World Relief staff equipped him with the tools he needed to educate his neighbors about the risk factors for human trafficking and ways they could prevent it together.

Since then, he’s watched his community grow in trafficking awareness. By shedding light on an injustice that is shrouded in secrecy and conducted under the cover of darkness, Veng is leading a movement that spreads from his church into the greater community. Now, his church and village stand together as a united force against human trafficking. This is what makes Veng a hero.

You can stand with church leaders like Veng as they empower others to confront the deep injustices impacting the most vulnerable. Join the movement today at EmpowerAHero.org!

Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.

- Acts 20:28

Pray, Educate and Empower: 3 Ways You Can Abolish Modern-Day Slavery

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There are more than 20 million slaves today. That’s more than 20 million human lives that are being exploited, abused and neglected. These victims of human trafficking are forced into prostitution or coerced to do hard labor with little to no pay. It’s prevalent in many countries around the world, including the US where it’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of people are trafficked into forced labor or the sex trade each year. But in spite of the enormity of this abuse and neglect of God’s creation, there is significant hope. Churches, organizations and volunteers throughout the US are on the front lines combatting this injustice with the power and love of Jesus Christ. And as we observe National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the US, we want you to join us at World Relief as we empower the vulnerable to overcome one of the worst tragedies of our time.

Here are three simple ways you can be a part of this movement to end modern-day slavery:

  1. Pray – one of the most powerful tools we have as Christians is prayer. God’s powerful response to the prayer of a righteous person knows no bounds (James 5). Join our partners at Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking on January 10 at 6 PM EST to pray for freedom.
  2. Educate – Know the realities of the problems and the solutions. To learn more about the facts, figures and stories of human trafficking, visit here. And don’t keep this to yourself, but share the knowledge with friends, small groups and others in your community – our impact is stronger when we’re united.
  3. Empower - To empower victims and survivors of modern-day slavery, you can either invest financially at https://worldrelief.org/donate or you can give your time and skills by helping survivors recover. For more information about volunteer opportunities, check out http://worldrelief.org/volunteer/us-opportunities.

The problem is enormous, but as followers of Jesus Christ who gives freedom from bondage, we have the solution to bring an end to modern-day slavery.