NCM human trafficking workshop creates collaboration

NCM human trafficking workshop creates collaboration

 

(Photo: Point Loma Nazarene University professor Dr. Jamie Gates presents at an anti-trafficking workshop hosted by Nazarene Compassionate Ministries in Johannesburg on May 19.)

 

A wide range of people participated in an anti-trafficking workshop co-hosted by Nazarene Compassionate Ministries and The Goal in Johannesburg on May 19.

 

The group of about 100 participants included Nazarene pastors and students, advocacy groups, visitors from California's Point Loma Nazarene University, and government officials from South Africa's social development department, justice department and police service.

 

This type of cross-industry collaboration is important in the fight against human trafficking, said Diane Wilkinson with the National Freedom Network, which unites the efforts of anti-trafficking groups in South Africa.

 

South Africa, where an estimated 100,000 victims are trafficked each year, is considered a highway for human trafficking. Recruiters use the country’s reputation as an economic hub – a place with jobs, gold and money – to attract victims from other African countries with false promises of career opportunities, Wilkinson said during her presentation at the workshop.

 

Also presenting was Point Loma professor Dr. Jamie Gates, who spent much of his childhood in South Africa as a Nazarene missionary kid. Gate’s is the Nazarene Church’s lead human trafficking consultant in North America and is director of Point Loma’s Center for Justice & Reconciliation. He has led Point Loma students on study abroad trips to South Africa every other year since 2005.

 

 

At the workshop, Gates gave examples of how Nazarene churches and universities can be involved in anti-trafficking efforts. The movement to train faith congregations about human trafficking is on the rise, he said.

  

 

“There’s this growing awareness (about human trafficking), and now people are saying, ‘What do we do?’” Gates said. “And yet, there’s not a lot of good, solid research.”

 

 

Point Loma is involved in anti-trafficking research and activism in San Diego, and it was the first university in the United States to provide a scholarship specifically for human trafficking survivors, Gates said.

  

 

South Africa is also seeing a rise in anti-trafficking collaboration among schools, police agencies, churches and nonprofits. For example, NCM’s anti-human trafficking and gender-based violence coordinator Stephen Phillips has trained volunteers with The Goal, a South African organization that supports character development in youth, on how to talk to students about human trafficking. Nazarene Pastor Hubert Tiger is The Goal's co-founder and director.

 

On May 20 (pictured), volunteers with The Goal and Point Loma students taught eight classes at Eldorado Park secondary and primary schools about how to define human trafficking and avoid falling into a trap.

 

The volunteers acted out skits to show students how easy it can be to fall into human trafficking. In one skit, a girl enthusiastically accepts a job offer to work as a model in England. The "agency" says if she gives them her passport, they will take care of all the travel arrangements. In England, the girl finds herself enslaved in domestic labor, with her passport still in the hands of her recruiters. 

 

Students at the school learned that human trafficking recruiters can be anyone, even a peer. They learned they can call human trafficking helplines, 08000 RESCU(73728) or 0800 555 999, if they sense danger. The students were encouraged to become advocates by sharing the lessons they had learned with friends and family.

(Photos by Daniel Mutowa)

  

 

GET INVOLVED

 

To learn how you or your church can be involved in anti-trafficking efforts, contact Nazarene Compassionate Ministries’ regional office in Johannesburg at ncm@africanazarene.org.

 

Click here to learn about NCM’s Global Anti-Trafficking Fund and the work that it supports. Help spread the word about the anti-human trafficking efforts with your friends, family and community.

  

MORE RESOURCES

  • National Freedom Network presentation about human trafficking in South Africa
  • Nazarene Compassionate Ministries presentation on human trafficking