Harsh Reality of Human Trafficking Shocking, Horrifying

Post a Comment » Written on April 17th, 2008     
Filed under: News
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (April 17, 2008) – The men and women wept. They were angered, saddened, shocked, and horrified. They prayed and asked to hear more.

What those attending Faith Covenant Church had heard was the reality of human trafficking, as Sunday’s church service focused on the worldwide tragedy that continues to enslave millions of men, women and children around the world. The congregation focused on the issue as part of its Women Ministries Sunday, says Pastor Karen Lichlyter-Klein.

PostcardsWomen Ministries of the Evangelical Covenant Church has made combating human trafficking the focus of a three-year project called “Break the Chains,” which is designed to raise awareness, raise funds, and provide new opportunities for the people who have been enslaved. Many of the individuals are forced to work in the sex slave trade, in factories and as domestic help.

Tina Martinez, who serves on the national Women Ministries board and is a longtime Faith Covenant member, spoke briefly on human trafficking. The church then showed the Women Ministries video on human trafficking.

“It was a stunning and moving video and caused many in our congregation disbelief that such atrocities were happening,” Lichlyter-Klein says. “One woman said to me that if she had a hard time watching it, imagine what it would be like to live it.”

Although it was Women Ministries Sunday, the men responded the same, according to Lichlyter-Klein. “Many men thanked me for this and one, with tears in his eyes, said he had no idea and was amazed it was really happening.”

PrayerLichlyter-Klein preached briefly on the freedom offered by Christ and called for new abolitionists. Then the people were given an opportunity to respond at different stations. The top photo shows individuals visiting the postcards station, with a copy of one of the notes at the prayer station illustrated below. To see additional photographs of some of the stations, please see Special Stations.

“We had a potato-peeling prayer station – a table set up with a display of pictures and facts and instructions asking the people to peel a potato, imagining what the life of an indentured servant would be like,” Lichlyter-Klein says. “Then they wrote prayers on the paper that lined the table.”

Other stations included a map where people could sign up to pray for different countries; a postcard station, where worshipers could write to encourage their government representatives to fight trafficking; a resource table; and a donation station that included facts about the connection between trafficking and the chocolate industry. Pieces of “slave-free chocolate” also were offered.

An 18-year-old member of the church and Lichlyter-Klein began discussions regarding the youth’s desire to work on a campaign to stop trafficking. Other members asked if more presentations about human trafficking could be made in the future.

Children also learned about the Break the Chains theme in their own time of worship. Member Susan Miller, who is an author and children’s curriculum writer, led that service “so our kids got in on the issue too, but in a much safer and child-appropriate way,” Lichlyter-Klein adds.

For more resources and information on what the Evangelical Covenant Church and Women Ministries is doing, visit the human trafficking website.

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