Written by Kayla Ewert, Second Life of Chattanooga Intern

Earlier this year, I did some research on ways that different groups in the United States and around the world targeted trafficking. One of those groups was the United Methodist Church and specifically, the United Methodist Women group.

United Methodist Women and its parent organization, the Women’s Division, have focused on fighting human trafficking for more than a decade, both locally and internationally. “The Protection Project” offers training to educate members about human trafficking and offers practical suggestions for actions they can take in their own communities. Church members are also educated about how to identify where trafficking victims may be working and about how to interact with local law enforcement. This not only spreads awareness but a practical understanding of trafficking.

The church also encourages members to advocate for better laws related to trafficking, support plans for more shelters and other programs for trafficking victims, and investigate how immigration patterns and policies play a role in the problem.

The United Methodist Committee on Relief was the first NGO (nongovernmental  organization) to work with Armenian authorities in all regions of Armenia to reintegrate trafficking survivors back into society.

In 2008 the United Methodist General Conference (the denomination’s top legislative body) approved a resolution calling for the abolition of trafficking. Read the resolution here {http://www.umc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=lwL4KnN1LtH&b=4951419&ct=6480471}.

This past year, the church started the Super Bowl initiative called Intercept Human Trafficking: Let’s Reverse the Momentum, which highlighted the fact that the Super Bowl is the single largest human trafficking event in the United States. Read more about that here {http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umw/news/articles/item/index.cfm?id=1119}.

The church also offers various resources for members, such as the Human Trafficking Fact Sheet, Human Trafficking: A Resource for Preventing, Protecting, Prosecuting, and Voices of Human Trafficking. To view these resources, click here {http://new.gbgm-umc.org/umw/act/trafficking/}.

As an organization, the United Methodist Church partners with the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Julian Center, Stand Against Human Trafficking, the Center for Victim & Human Rights, and more.

What ideas do you have for getting your church or organization involved in the fight?