Freedom Sunday is a global event that encourages different faith communities to unite for a day of worship, prayer and action to end human trafficking. It will be held on 18 October to coincide with European Anti-Slavery Day.
Human trafficking is the world’s fastest growing global crime. More than 30 million men, women and children throughout the world are believed to be victims of the human traffic trade. It is one of the largest sources of income for organised crime, generating tens of billions of dollars annually.
Faith communities have an important role to play in campaigning against human trafficking. In December last year, religious leaders including Pope Francis, Archbishop Welby, Rabbi Dr Skorka and Grand Ayatollah Al-Modarresi signed a historic declaration calling for the eradication of modern slavery by 2020.
“In the eyes of God, each human being is a free person, whether girl, boy, woman or man, and is destined to exist for the good of all in equality and fraternity,” the declaration reads.
“Modern slavery, in terms of human trafficking, forced labour and prostitution, organ trafficking, and any relationship that fails to respect the fundamental conviction that all people are equal and have the same freedom and dignity, is a crime against humanity.”
This year, 21 different denominations, networks and faith-based groups have come together to produce a downloadable resource pack for Freedom Sunday. It includes sermons, theological reflections, hymn suggestions and campaigning advice for congregations. Head over to the Freedom Sunday sign up page to download the resource pack.
UnitingWorld, the international development agency of the Uniting Church, is working closely with the Church of North India to tackle children trafficking in the North East Himalayan region.
Many children living in the remote areas of India miss out on education because of the long distance needed to travel to school. They are often at risk of being lured out of India with the promise of work and then forced into prostitution.
One way to help children become less vulnerable to human traffickers is through education. Providing access to local education equips children with the vocational skills needed to earn a stable income in their home town.
Earlier this year, the Church of North India opened a new school with six classrooms, staff facilities and dormitories for up to 300 students. They plan to expand it to include a medical clinic, a vocational training centre and boarding accommodation for children from the most remote areas.
You can support UnitingWorld’s education projects in India by making a donation here.
Image adapted from Marc Falardeau via Flickr.