On the morning of May 8th, I attended the “Interfaith Summit on Ending Human Trafficking in San Diego,” sponsored by the Interfaith Center for Worker Justice. The conversation focused on what congregations can do to help stop human trafficking, with speakers addressing the issue from a variety of backgrounds, including survivor networks, law enforcement, community advocates and educators. We were told that ministers and faith communities are often “first responders” on this issue, especially when they provide a safe space in which those who are being exploited can seek help.
Churches and people of faith were challenged to become informed about the signs of trafficking so that we can be the eyes and ears, as well as the heart, of God in our society.
When asked what ordinary people can do, the panelists were unanimous: if you see something, say something! If you think something looks suspicious, report it to the police. They also agreed that the many groups and non-profits working on ending trafficking in our community could use our help. Volunteers are needed not just to be trained to work in rescue, but also in the important but less glamorous areas of taking phone calls, making referrals, and educating the broader community about this issue.
The speakers expressed great confidence that, despite the enormity of trafficking in San Diego today, the involvement of faith communities can ensure that this modern slavery comes to an end. Given our numbers, our presence throughout the community, and—of course—with the power of the Holy Spirit among us, how can we not share their confidence in us?
Mary Doak, Associate Professor of Theology, University of San Diego
Join us Sunday for the forum on “Human Trafficking and Bodily Resurrection” with Sister Judith Sheridan, director of Mary’s Guest House at 9am in the Guild Room