The World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) and the European Freedom Network (EFN) announced the launch of a new global network to fight human trafficking.
Records say about 43 million people, men, women and children of all ages, are being bought and sold for money. The World Freedom Network (WFN) is the latest effort to stop this modern form of slavery where millions of people worldwide are being victimized every year. The WFN hopes to work with a variety of organizations and experts to help churches in addressing the issue in their communities.
I am excited to see the World Freedom Network become an integral part of the solution through equipping and connecting Christian professionals working in this space as well as engaging churches across the globe to act locally and nationally. —Leanne Rhodes, Global Director of World Freedom Network
“Human trafficking is a global organized crime and needs a global response to combat it,” said Leanne Rhodes, newly appointed WFN Global Director. “I am excited to see the World Freedom Network become an integral part of the solution through equipping and connecting Christian professionals working in this space as well as engaging churches across the globe to act locally and nationally.”
The WFN aims to create a global Christian response to human trafficking. To do this, the network will build autonomous regional networks so churches can focus on the problems in their own local contexts and at the same time, join other regions in representing the Christian community’s opposition to international organized crime. The new network wants to expand its reach by getting churches involved in a global, regional and country levels, and ultimately at the grassroots.
Human trafficking is a widespread and complex crime that works differently around the world that is why the help of the church is vital in stopping human trafficking. Trafficking women for sexual exploitation is prevalent in every region of the world, while in developing countries, many are trafficked for forced labor.
EFN started an initiative called “Don’t Shut Your Eyes” in 2016 that exposes how forced prostitution, begging and labor are common, but somehow we are not aware of it, reports Evangelical Focus. “Exploitation happens under our noses. As a society, we don’t look, we don’t ask questions, we don’t think things can change,” said EFN board member Julia Doxat-Purser.
Rhodes asserted that Christians should be involved in fighting human trafficking. “As followers of Jesus, it is our mandate to engage in anti-trafficking efforts. With over 600 million evangelicals spread over every region of the world, I am excited about the good that can be achieved to turn this crime against humanity around.”
Thomas Schirrmacher, Secretary General of the WEA, said, “Evangelicals have been engaged in a vast number of local, national and transnational organizations against racism, slavery and human trafficking. They advocate for stronger laws, better protection and also run safe houses for those exiting from forced prostitution around the globe.”
With human trafficking exploiting millions of victims around the globe, Schirrmacher welcomed the creation of the World Freedom Network. “I am very pleased that all these aspects can now be visibly brought together and networked so that we strengthen our global advocacy on this issue and can better assist national Alliances to address their governments and fellow citizens with one voice.”