Summary: Chicago is one of the national human trafficking “hubs” for the 17,000 estimated people who are trafficked in the U.S. each year. These victims of trafficking are often foreign born and especially vulnerable because of language limitations or legal status. They are an almost entirely “unreachable” people group, held in bondage and brokenness by the evil one. The local church must be involved in the front lines of prayer, prevention, identification and healing of victims of human trafficking. Learn more about the human trafficking leadership track at the Summit. 

 Opportunity:

  • The law enforcement, judicial, legislative, and social service network in Chicago/Illinois is nationally known and renown for its effective work on anti-human trafficking.
  • Immigrant pastors play a unique role in both preventing trafficking in their community and identifying victims

 Problem:

  • Unfortunately, evangelical churches have been much slower than the governmental and social service agency sectors to engage in ministry to this most vulnerable group.
  • Recent energy focused on anti-human trafficking among Anglo-American churches has leaned towards international trafficking with limited meaningful engagement in local anti-trafficking ministry.
  • Immigrant pastors and their churches are often unaware or not engaged in preventing trafficking or caring for victims in their communities.

Unity: Collaboration between immigrant and non-immigrant churches is key in this effort as is between the many different disconnected churches and social service agencies in the city of Chicago. A unified vision and strategy as the body of Christ can help bring us together in this effort.

Mission: Victims of human trafficking are among the most vulnerable in our society, fitting in the “widows, orphans and strangers” triad so often spoken of in scripture. By raising awareness of this issue and moving churches towards action on behalf of (and in prevention of) human trafficking the church is demonstrating God’s love for the marginalized. The church is uniquely positioned to offer holistic care for those at risk (evangelism, discipleship and community development) to prevent human trafficking and holistic care for those rescued from trafficking. Through this, good news is proclaimed to the poor and captives are set free (Luke 4:18).

Short Term Goals:

  1. Informally connect the faith-based anti-human trafficking community in Chicago
  2. Promote awareness among immigrant church leaders of the realities and methods of preventing and identifying victims of trafficking (and who they can partner with to help with this)
  3. Promote awareness among Anglo-American pastors, churches, and their membership about the realities of domestic human trafficking and what they can/should do about it (and who they can partner with to help with this)
  4. Promote effective “models” of church-based ministry that addresses human trafficking

 Get Involved: To get involved in this initiative through research, prayer, leadership, or learning, please contact Jerry Shaffer jerry@cometothewell.org

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Human Trafficking Leadership Track

Slavery in America and Around the World

by Pat Welther

This seminar will look at slavery then and now. Too many times we do not understand the connection between today’s slaves and those of our past. If we do not understand this, we will be doomed to repeat the same over again. We will be looking at who slavery’s victims are, who its perpetrators are, and how you can become the hero of the story.

Pat Welther is a task force member of Making Waves, a social justice organization of The Well Church in Geneva, IL., established in 2010 to fight Human Trafficking until it no longer exists. Pat is a Behavioral Health Nurse, working in addiction and mental health for over 25 years. She is a mother of 3 children and 9 grandchildren. Her role as mother and grandmother is in part what has motivated her to get involved in the fight against those who steal the innocence of children and often their very lives.

Understanding the Victim’s Mindset “Bangkok Bar Girls and the women at the well”

by Matt Hook

Bangkok’s red light district is considered the epicenter of the world’s commercial sex trade.  While Thailand and its problems may seem to be a million miles away, many of the difficulties of ministering to these girls are the same in any location.  Come hear about the lives and issue these women and girls face, along with some of the successes of those who are currently helping them escape the sex trade’s grasp.

Matt Hook’s background is in the high tech industry. He and his wife moved into the inner city of Aurora, Illinois in 1998 when their first child was born.  Their goal was to help the neighborhood kids any way they could.  The challenges of gangs and drugs gave many opportunities to be involved. Matt helped Jim Larson begin Servantworks in 2003 to reach women and girls in the red light districts of Bangkok, Thailand.

The Bible Confronts Human Trafficking

by Boaz Johnson

Human trafficking is the most horrible form of modern-day slavery. More than 35 million people are trafficked today and 80% of these are women and children. Yet, this is not just a modern phenomenon. Throughout history, women and children have been trafficked and enslaved. The Bible–in the Torah, the Prophets, the Wisdom Literature, the Gospels and the Epistles confront this horror in different eras of history. This session will give you biblical principles and tools to confront and eradicate human trafficking today.

As a child growing up in a slum of New Delhi where children were sold into slavery, Rajkumar Boaz Johnson experienced a chain of life-changing awakenings and came to view Jesus and his teachings as the answer to poverty and slavery in India and beyond.  He is Professor and Chair in the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies at North Park University. He lectures extensively on global slavery, world religions, and environmental stewardship.

Working Together to Combat Human Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation in Chicago

Panel moderated by Boaz Johnson

This panel discussion with leaders of the Human Trafficking Advocacy Group will facilitate a discussion about what ministry to women exiting sex trafficking and the sexual industry looks like. The goal is to use our collective experiences and understanding to further the practical and life-changing work already taking place across Chicagoland.

Elyse Dobney is Volunteer Manager for STOP-IT, the Salvation Army’s initiative against human trafficking for Northern Illinois.   Elyse serves in several roles:  raising community awareness on the issue of human trafficking, training community service providers regarding victims of human trafficking; and providing direct outreach to potential victims of trafficking.

Rachel Durchslag has been working in the social justice community since 2000. After receiving degrees in women’s studies, social work, and social service administration, Rachel founded the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, an organization that works to eliminate sexual exploitation through litigation, advocacy, policy reform, and resource development.

Brenda Myers-Powell has worked since 1997 with marginalized women trying to exit prostitution and drugs. As a community organizer for the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless (CCH), she has assisted in organizing, training and empowering women to speak with legislators and encouraging them to use their own voices to bring change for their communities and themselves.  She is cofounder of the Dream Catcher Foundation, working closely with different organizations to create linkages with the community and special populations.