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Euro Cup comes to Ukraine, human trafficking expected to increase

By December 14, 2011

Ukraine (MNN) — The tragedy has already taken place. According to the Ukrainian government, more than 400,000 women and children have been taken out of Ukraine — trafficked for one reason or another. This is a huge travesty. Today, there are many organizations involved in rescuing them from this horrific fate, but fewer groups are preventing it.

EFCA Reach Global Missionary Amy Richey works in Ukraine. "I'm involved in helping to train Ukrainians who are going into churches and mobilizing believers to get involved in awareness training. The churches are eager to get involved, but they don't know where to start."

So, Reach Global is pointing churches in the right direction with some simple steps like "getting involved in an orphanage," says Richey. "Orphaned kids are one of the largest at-risk groups in Ukraine.[Churches] can also start focusing on youth ministry. At-risk youth are a very, very high-risk group as well."

Churches are getting more involved, especially because the Euro Cup is coming to Ukraine in June. Richey says there is "sex trafficking that surrounds a game like that. The final game will be played in Kiev, so people are more aware, and that makes the churches more open and understanding for their need for involvement."

While preventing young people from being targeted for trafficking is a goal, it's not the ultimate goal. "The ultimate purpose is to bring them to Christ," says Richey. "Often traffickers prey on vulnerability. They look for someone who needs that affection, who needs affirmation that they're beautiful. And if we can help children understand that they are image bearers of God and we can help them understand their value in Christ and their value as a human being, our impact will be very long-lasting."

While we as believers can support their work, taking a trip to the region to spend time with orphaned children is also a great way to have a direct impact. "You may never realize the great impact that you're having. To that child that you befriend and get to know and encourage, it really could keep them safe for the rest of their lives."

While traveling to an orphanage in Ukraine may not be possible for you, Reach Global has another option. "We're releasing, after the first of the year, a monthly newsletter that will be distributed via e-mail. It will go out to people who have signed up and will [consist of prayer requests] for anti-human trafficking in Europe."

If you'd like additional information about human trafficking in Ukraine, click here.

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