Salvation Army Responds to Human Trafficking

Categories: Feature

Modern-day slavery exists. Although it is illegal in Canada, thousands of people every year are being bought and sold. Human trafficking is a hidden evil that The Salvation Army chooses to target.

The Salvation Army’s Response
The Salvation Army has been involved in anti-human trafficking efforts since 1884 when it first established a “Rescue Home” for women and girls escaping prostitution on the streets of London, England. Within 30 years Salvation Army rescue homes grew from one to 117.

Now, more than a century later, The Salvation Army in Canada and abroad is part of a revived movement for the abolition of human trafficking and forms of commercial sexual exploitation.

Through raising awareness, policy advocacy, prevention, and the provision of trafficking survivor services, The Salvation Army seeks to restore dignity and respect to those who are trafficked. In-person submissions made to government committees have helped change laws and gain better protection for victims.

Furthermore, in Winnipeg and other cities, The Salvation Army operates a diversion program whereby men are held accountable for their involvement in pornography or abuse of women, and face the consequences.

And, in 2009, The Salvation Army in British Columbia opened Deborah’s Gate, one of the first Canadian safe houses for human sexual trafficking survivors. It’s confidential location and 24-hour staffing provides maximum security for women fleeing violent and exploitative perpetrators. Its specialized program of care gives opportunity for women to find long-term freedom from fear and trauma and hope for their future.

Annual Weekend of Prayer
Since 2006, The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda has held an annual Weekend of Prayer for Human Trafficking. This year, on September 23-25, thousands prayed for people who have been exploited by or who are vulnerable to human traffickers, for those who aid people and for perpetrators, that their eyes would be opened to the dignity of each individual.

Timea’s story
Globally, an estimated half million women are trafficked annually for the purpose of sexual slavery. Kidnapped and/or lured by those who prey on their dreams, their poverty, and their naiveté, women are trafficked to foreign lands where they are sold to pimps, drugged, terrorized, caged in brothels and raped repeatedly.

Take Timea for example. When she found herself in financial difficulty she responded to a local newspaper ad that read: “Looking for young girls. Jobs outside the country. English not necessary.” She was convinced she had found the solution to her problems.

But, when the 21-year-old stepped off the plane in Toronto from Budapest, Hungary, her dream to earn a living as a waitress disintegrated. Her passport was taken, she was kidnapped, then forced to work in the sex-trade industry.

During her three months as a stripper, Timea was raped by her agents, suffered mental abuse, was undernourished, forced to have sex with the club’s clients and was threatened with death on several occasions. She is one of very few who outwitted her captors, making a dash for freedom.

How You Can Help
For more information and how you can help click here.