Updated: Mar 4, 2020
Human trafficking is defined in the dictionary as: "the action or practice of illegally transporting people from one country or area to another, typically for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation." In September 2017, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that 24.9 million men, women, and children were victims of human trafficking around the globe. The most common form of human trafficking is for sexual exploitation, and it affects men, women and children, although most victims are women.
Polaris, a non-profit company devoted to fighting human trafficking, had some alarming statistics. “In 2018, Polaris worked on 10,949 cases of human trafficking reported to the Polaris-operated U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline. These cases involved 23,078 individual survivors; nearly 5,859 potential traffickers and 1,905 trafficking businesses.” Though there are no statistics yet in the United States about human trafficking, these numbers are definitely scary. It is a problem we need to work to eradicate completely, and we can only do that armed with knowledge.
So how does human trafficking happen? Recruiters find their victims in a variety of ways: pretending to offer love and affection, isolating the victims by kidnapping them and then moving them from location to location so that they aren’t able to be found, posting jobs or advertisements, making promises regarding money and security… plenty of ways, each terrible in its own right.
There were claims that World Mission Society Church of God, otherwise known as “God the Mother” was involved in human trafficking. God the Mother church has often been referred to as a cult, by both experts and former members. The movement began in 1964 in South Korea. The Church believes that its founder, Ahn Sanhg-han, is the second coming of Christ. The founders are “God the Mother” and “God the Father” and they believe all other religions are the work of Satan. The church has campuses across the country.
So how does this tie into sex trafficking? There were rumors that the church was approaching young women, asking them if they knew about “God the Mother” and then inviting them to an offsite church. There were claims that this was a front for a human trafficking scam. However, when looked into, there was no validity to the rumors. USCPD Deputy Scott Prill investigated a WMSCOG church congregation near campus and found no link to human trafficking. "There's no evidence supporting this claim of sex trafficking, so we've been trying to get that message out," Prill said.
If nothing else, however, this should teach us to be cautious. Though the church was cleared of these charges, it doesn’t mean that it’s not possible for such a situation to happen. To be safe, keep yourself educated. Stay aware, be cautious of strangers, avoid unsafe situations, protect your passport, register with your local U.S. embassy. If you see something, say something. The National Human Trafficking Hotline is: 1-888-373-7888, or you can text them at: 233733.
Photo By: Pixabay