WEA creates a task force on human trafficking

NEW YORK, N.Y. — The World Evangelical Alliance—which seeks to raise awareness about human trafficking—has created a task force to help local churches respond to its victims.

Christine MacMillan, a commissioner for the alliance and task force spokeswoman, said the commitee would develop strategic approaches and tools to help church leaders to become responsive to the victims of human trafficking.

"The task force—by conviction—has the potential to develop skills of awareness for the WEA constituency of national alliances that represent 420 million. Looking at the atrocity of human trafficking may invoke lament where 'tears flow like a river day and night,'" she said in a news release while referring to Lamentations 2:18. "Perhaps the task force is to release tears in God's church as the door to which we produce strategic interventions of determination."

Preliminary task force members were selected from the alliance's Women's Commission: the Rev. Eileen Stuart-Rhude, the executive director; Jennifer Roemhildt Tunehag of Sweden; and Jocelyn Durston of Canada. Appointees will be responsible for developing the global vision and effectively applying the vision principles in their regions. The panel is expected to expand in the coming weeks. Several qualified men are expected to be added to the task force shortly, with the final panel announced in coming weeks.

In addition to raising awareness through community events and projects, the task force members will be charged with various strategic duties, including working with regional United Nations offices and local churches to develop a plan to curb the practice and intervene with vulnerable and at-risk persons and to encourage action on behalf of existing social service church missions.

"The anti-human trafficking task force holds to credence of action," MacMillan said, emphasizing its desire to make change and not just meet. "It embraces a spiritual worldview of unconditional compassion. Its love of God is intentional in encouraging society to live in communities of capacity and dignity in relationship. It views trafficking as an injustice to God's desire to live in relationships of mutual respect."

Resource materials for the local churches are already on order, and major projects of churches are currently taking place in Eastern Europe, India, Canada and Australia.

Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, international director of the alliance, said it was essential that evangelicals address the growing heartbreak of the modern-day slavery.

"It is a travesty that more than one person a minute is trafficked across borders every year," he said. "It is my hope and prayer that this WEA initiative will help mobilize and train our global community to respond in meaningful, effective and biblical ways. As Christ-followers we must do all we can to help end the injustices of this worldwide calamity."

The alliance is made up of 128 national evangelical alliances located in seven regions and 104 associate member organizations. The vision of WEA is to extend the kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society.

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