Mission Moment: January 17, 2021
Greetings. I’m Sally Butzin, a member of the UCT Community Action Committee. Today our mission moment focuses on human trafficking. January is Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and UCT has played a positive role in our community to support the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center, known as STAC. Through our quilt sale and other donations, UCT was instrumental in helping STAC get started, and our investment is paying off in STAC’s growing influence to protect survivors and educate the public about the horrors of human trafficking.
What is human trafficking? Basically, it is modern-day slavery, where people are coerced into working without pay, or with very limited pay, making them dependent on their captor. It is called trafficking because many victims are recruited in their native countries or home states, and then transported to a different location far away from home. They are promised a better life or tricked into believing that someone will love and care for them. But the outcome is far more sinister.
There are two kinds of human trafficking: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Sex trafficking involves forcing people, often young girls and boys, into prostitution. Labor trafficking involves forcing people to work in restaurants, hotels, nail parlors, and other service industries, often for long hours with little or no pay.
And don’t be mistaken, human trafficking occurs right in our own backyard. Recently police rescued a 13-year-old girl in Tallahassee who had been sex trafficked for years, with multiple men arrested, as well as her own mother. With Covid-19 restrictions, teenagers are especially vulnerable to being recruited over the Internet while they are home alone with little supervision.
What can you do? You can be alert to signs that someone is being trafficked, such as always being accompanied by a person who will not let them speak or interact. You can go to the STAC website to learn more signs and opportunities to help. And you can continue to let your financial pledge support the Community Action Committee’s efforts to reach out and help those who need our help. And I invite you to join our committee to increase our effectiveness. As Jesus has admonished, “When you do it unto the least of these, you do so unto me.”
Dr. Sally Butzin and the Community Action Committee