USA (MNN) — January 11 is known as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day — a time to refocus, and remember the work being done to free millions stuck in modern-day slavery.
Furthermore, starting in 2011 by Presidential Proclamation, the entire month of January has been designated National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
It may be hard to believe human trafficking activity is found in each state in America. Yet, Allies against Slavery says about 86% of communities with populations over 250,000 reported sex trafficking was an issue. And, between 100,000 and 300,000 children are at-risk in the U.S. every year.
“We don’t like to think that that actually occurs, especially in the US,” Bethany Christian Services’ Brian DeVos says.
“But I know UNICEF even talks about the United States…as…one of the top destination points for victims of child trafficking and exploitation. It’s something you don’t really want to believe exists in your own neighborhood, but it actually does – it’s in our own backyard.”
While young people and girls are generally more at-risk, all genders and ages are vulnerable to exploitation. The family unit is at the heart of it all, according to Bethany.
A large number of trafficking victims are unprepared orphans aging out of the system, and children coming from families that are breaking apart. Why? Because each victim doesn’t have a strong support system to keep them safe, DeVos explains.
“Most of the kids that we serve are at-risk [because] of family breakdown, or abuse, or neglect, or living in extreme poverty.”
Bethany is working to counteract trafficking by building stronger families to surround and protect children. De Vos says, “part of Bethany’s model is to prevent child trafficking by building strong families.”
For orphaned or foster care children, Bethany wants to “work on changing the paradigm shift from placing kids into institutions to strengthening and building families.”
They are approaching their work with Christ in mind. DeVos says having a Biblical approach is key in helping people and showing them the love Jesus has for them.
Pray for the millions of people stuck in human trafficking to find freedom. Also,do your part to prevent human trafficking by financially partnering with Bethany to produce stronger, close-knit families.