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RESOLUTION ON HUMAN TRAFFICKING
Approved at the Governing Board meeting on September 22, 2008
 

Background Policy Base:

“Human Rights:  The Fulfillment of Life in the Social Order,” November 17, 1995.
“Christian Principles and Assumptions for Economic Life,” September 15, 1954. 

Human trafficking, also known as “trafficking in persons,” is the use of force, coercion, fraud or abduction to exploit the person for profit. Victims of human trafficking are subjected to labor and/or sexual exploitation, which may take many forms including debt bondage, commercial sexual abuse of children, prostitution, pornography, bride trafficking, child soldiering, domestic servitude and forced labor. Human trafficking is currently the third largest criminal industry in the world today, after arms and drug dealing. It is also the fastest growing.[1] 

According to the U.S. Department of State[2], approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders, not including the millions that are trafficked within their own countries. In the U.S. alone, between 14,500 and 17,500 are trafficked each year. The International Labor Organization also estimates that there are 12.3 millions people in forced labor, bonded labor, forced child labor, and sexual servitude at any given time, although there are estimates ranging from four million to 27 million. 

Women, children and people from poor nations are the most likely targets of human trafficking around the world. In fact, the State Department estimates that more than 80 percent of trafficking victims are women and girls and about 50 percent are under 18 years of age.[3] 

Human Trafficking is a crime against humanity and ultimately a sin. Human trafficking denies the values of human life, exposes victims to serious health risks, endangers the mental well-being of victims and impedes the ability of victims to reach their full God-given potential. As Christians, we believe that “ all human beings are made in the image of God, that every person is of intrinsic worth before God and that every individual has a right to the fullest possible opportunities for the development of life abundant and eternal” (NCC Human Rights Policy Statement, 1995). It is our responsibility to use the resources at our disposal to end human trafficking and to advocate for global policies and practices that would bring the activity we now know as human trafficking to a conclusive and absolute end. 

Whereas 

Human trafficking devalues human life and treats people as commodities—selling them to the highest bidder; 

Women, children and people from poor nations make up the largest percentage of victims of human trafficking and are the most vulnerable to it; 

Trafficking of humans is the third largest criminal industry in the world, surpassed only by the drug trafficking and illegal arms trade; 

The involuntary bondage and sale of human beings is a crime against humanity and a sin against God; 

Freedom, justice and peace are central biblical themes; and, 

The Justice for Women Working Group has identified human trafficking as a major area of concern and is planning a conference on this issue September 29 to October 1, 2008 with other ecumenical and interfaith partners, government agencies and other groups; 

Therefore, be it resolved: 

The member communions of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA will educate their congregations about human trafficking and advocate for policies that will bring an end to these corrupt activities; 

The member communions of the NCC will use the “Social Creed for the 21st Century,”[4] as one ecumenical teaching tool to addresses the evils of Human Trafficking and motivate our join actions;   

The Governing Board of the NCC supports and endorses the Justice for Women Working Group’s conference and their ongoing educational effort on human trafficking;  

The NCC endorses and promotes “The Rescue and Restore Campaign”, an initiative of the US Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) and Administration for Children and Families (ACF) a public awareness Web site to combat human trafficking and a referral hotline 1-888-373-7888, that connects victims with NGOs in their local area;[5] 

The NCC advocates for policies and practices that will end human trafficking, including congressional actions which support full funding such as  Bill #HR 270 which amends Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to authorize funding for fiscal year 2008 to 2010;[6] 

The NCC works with international ecumenical bodies and other agencies to bring an end to human trafficking in the United States and abroad; and  

The member communions of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, USA will recognize December 10, 2008 – the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights[7] and to observe January 11th as Human Trafficking Awareness Day[8] through prayer, reflection, education and actions that will assist in bringing an end to these forms of modern day slavery.   


[2] United States Department of State. (June 2007). “Trafficking in Persons Report” http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/82902.pdf.

[3] U.S. Department of State. (2007).

[4] Social Creed for the 21st Century was approved at the NCC General Assembly on November 7, 2007. (http://www.ncccusa.org/news/ga2007.socialcreed.html).

[5] The Rescue & Restore Campaign website offers outreach kits to educate and assist health care providers, social service provides, and law enforcement officers in their efforts to identify and help victims of trafficking (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/trafficking/index.html)

[6] Bill #HR270 has been held in the Health Committee of the US House since 2007.  It amends the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 to authorize trafficking victims-related appropriations for activities of (1) the Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking; (2) the Secretary of Health and Human Services; (3) the Secretary of State; (4) the President; (5) the Secretary of Labor; (6) the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; (7) the Secretary of Homeland Security; and (8) the Administrator of the Untied States Agency for International Development.

[7] (http://www.un.org/Overview/rights.html)

[8] US Senate Concurrent Resolution 40 passed on June 22, 2007 supported the annual observance on January 11th of Human Trafficking Awareness Day. (http://www.ncccusa.org/news/senateresontrafficking.html)

See also: World Council of Churches statement on  trafficking
                   World Council of Churches Contact, special issue on trafficking


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