Human trafficking is the fastest growing industry in the world today, with more than 30 million people being exploited each year in labor and sex trafficking. It is heart-breaking, it is evil and it is dark. It is beyond our control.
But the good news is – there is good news! This is the type of work our very powerful God has been up to since the beginning. It’s what He’s always done: the work of entering the most broken, hopeless, depraved parts of our world and our hearts to rescue and restore. It’s the type of work that He’s called His people, the Church, to do, too. Each of us are called to use the gifts and resources we have to accomplish what God has called us to do.
When we step into situations beyond our control, and play our part, we get to see God move.
Our mission at UnBound is to “activate local communities to fight human trafficking through prevention, professional training and survivor advocacy.”
“Activating local communities” basically means making sure everyone in the communities knows it’s happening and is equipped to do something about it — to play their part.
One way we’ve done this in Waco is by developing and leading the Heart of Texas Human Trafficking Coalition. The coalition is a group of people representing agencies across our community, each doing their part to make the Heart of Texas a hostile environment to human trafficking and a safe place for the vulnerable. This group is made up of local, state and federal law enforcement, schools, health care providers, governmental and nongovernmental agencies, victim service providers and more. Many of these groups have been doing incredible work in this area for years, or even decades, much longer than UnBound has been around. We started the coalition in 2014, however, because we knew that if we worked together, each playing our specific part in collaboration with each other, we could do so much more.
Our part at UnBound is to facilitate and lead this coalition, train the community and advocate for survivors. Law enforcement’s part is to investigate human trafficking crimes, arrest the buyers and traffickers, and protect the victims. State and federal prosecutors build strong cases and prosecute human trafficking crimes. Hospitals, schools and outreach programs identify and report victims. Service providers give support and services to victims and survivors. Everyone plays their part, and we do it together.
Recently Susan Peters, our executive director, was talking to a victim picked up by law enforcement. Susan asked her, “How did you end up in Waco?” The young woman answered, “I didn’t know I was in Waco. People know you don’t come to Waco for this anymore.”
As we’re working together, God is doing an incredible thing — He’s taking Waco, a place known for poverty, crime and disaster, and turning it into a city known as a hostile environment for human trafficking and a safe place for the vulnerable. God is working through our unified effort, each member playing their part, to bring about results beyond our control.
Doesn’t this remind you of the Body of Christ? It’s how God designed us to function together, each playing our part (1 Corinthians 12).
God loves to use our unity to do his work.
Learn more about the Heart of Texas Human Trafficking Coalition:
Local human trafficking coalition reviews county’s first trial
Round table helps increase human trafficking arrests
By Natalie Garnett- Assistant National Director at UnBound