On Thursday, May 31, the World Evangelical Alliance’s (WEA) Commission on Women’s Concerns (CWC) and Global Human Trafficking Task Force are hosting a day-long event on the subject of human trafficking. The meeting titled ‘What is so human about trafficking?’ will be held in Oakville, Canada, featuring international and local speakers from Europe, USA, Africa, Canada and more, also including a survivor from the sex trade who will tell her story.
Human trafficking is the fastest growing criminal activity in the world today and the second largest revenue generator after drugs, worldwide. The majority of trafficked victims are women and children, forced into the sex trade or illegitimate labor, the CWC writes, and states: “Human trafficking is not just a ‘third world’ problem!”
“There are 27 million people in slavery today. Eighty per cent of those trafficked are women and children and 70 per cent of these women and children are trafficked for sexual exploitation,” said Rev. Eileen Stewart-Rhude, Executive Director of the CWC. “It has just begun to be recognized as something that needs to be dealt with all over the world. Therefore our real objective is to make people aware of it because most of the time people aren’t even aware.”
Commissioner Christine MacMillan, Chair and Spokesperson of WEA’s Human Trafficking Global Taskforce adds: “As we consider raising awareness around the topic of Human Trafficking, we may have more questions than answers. The first and ongoing question always needs to be - what's HUMAN about trafficking? Trafficking is not a subject or an issue. It is about women, children and yes men who today have names, stories and enslaved broken dreams.”
Some of the keynote speakers will include Founder of Men Against Sexual Trafficking (MAST) Stan Burditt, Policy Analyst with the Centre of Faith and Public Life Julia Beazley, Commissioner Christine MacMillan, Jennifer Roemhildt of the European Freedom Network, which is combating human trafficking in Europe, and a woman who will discuss her escape from human traffickers.
Besides raising awareness, the speakers at the meeting will discuss ways to recognize the presence of human traffickers as well as ways to combat the root of human trafficking. “Stan Budritt’s goal is to interrupt the demand for human trafficking. Therefore he is speaking specifically to men because it is the men who are keeping this thing going,” Stewart-Rhude says.
“The gathering in Oakville is offered in God-given hope that awareness becomes action and action brings release to modern day slaves," Commissioner MacMillan concludes.