Africa (MNN) — Child trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar
industry that affects every country in the world. The United Nations estimates that 1.2 million
children are trafficked worldwide every year.
The global economic crisis has intensified this problem in
the poorest slum areas. Lorella Rouster with Every Child Ministries
agrees. "They are major sources
of child trafficking simply because the children are so vulnerable due to
the economic conditions."
ECM concentrates their work in poverty-stricken
Africa, where children are trafficked internally from the rural areas to urban
centers to work as domestic servants. In other areas where ECM has projects, there are broader concerns. For example, a UN report cites Uganda as
a source country for men, women and children trafficked for forced labor and
It's a heinous crime that
flourishes in the dark and behind closed doors, hence the need for holistic
approaches in interventions. Rouster
says fighting child trafficking and child evangelism are perfect
compliments because trust and relationships are needed for both jobs. "To evangelize children and families, you
need to get to know the people very well; and to stop child trafficking, it
also requires that you know the area intimately so that you can see if anything
is going wrong."
To that end, ECM is deploying some of their regular workers
to high-risk areas where extensive child trafficking is occurring. Their strategy has proven effective. "Some of our street workers who knew one
certain area very well, had been able to intervene twice, coming to the rescue
of children: one who had been trafficked and another who was in imminent danger
of being trafficked."
Their success prompted them to take a wider view of high-risk zones. "A goal would be to look at
all of the really hot areas where children are always in imminent danger and
have workers there."
So how does the Gospel and child evangelism effectively
combat trafficking? Aside from having
eyes and ears on the ground, Rouster explains that "the Gospel gives a
tremendous sense of worth to a human being." When people can appreciate that, their
children take on a different significance. "When you understand that God loved us so much
that He left heaven to die for us, then that family begins to develop a sense
of self worth."
ECM is trying to develop a network of workers who can both
evangelize the children and intervene in dangerous situations, but that could
take dozens of people. They're at the
beginning of recruiting and resourcing. "Pray for God's protection over our workers.
This is a dangerous and physically challenging role. Also, we are raising funds
to add additional staff members for these positions."
You can help. Click here.