Footsteps 96 - Human trafficking

We know that human trafficking happens all over the world. You may live in a region where you see its effects clearly every day or it may be more of a hidden problem. Perhaps people from your village or town have been trafficked to nearby cities. Maybe they have gone in search of work but found themselves in jobs where they are not treated or paid fairly and are not free to leave. Or perhaps you live in a large city and know of people who are working without a wage or are being exploited in the red-light district. Human trafficking is never far away from us.

In this edition we have included a number of stories from people who have experienced human trafficking in different regions of the world: Uganda (page 16) and in the Horn of Africa (page 3). We hope this will help Footsteps readers understand how it affects ordinary people in communities like yours. We have included case studies of organisations in Cambodia (page 6) and Brazil (page 10) who are taking action to prevent trafficking happening in the first place, as well as a tool that you can use to tell others about the lies traffickers tell (pages 8 and 9).

One person's story touched me personally. When I lived in Central Asia, I had a wonderful teammate and friend called Katya. She told me that some years before she had been deeply in debt because her small business had run into trouble. She needed to pay off her debts and met a man who said that, if she went to Turkey, he would give her the money to clear them. All she had to do was live as a wife in the home of a rich Turkish man. My friend felt she had no choice and agreed. She got a visa to leave the country but in her heart she did not want to go. An uncle of hers had recently joined a local church and she poured out her troubles to him. He called his pastor and together they agreed that they would collect money from their congregation and pay off her debt themselves instead. What an incredible gift! The church was not rich but it gave everything it could to free my friend from her debts and give her the choice to stay in her own city. A year later, she heard from others that what the trafficker had told her had been a lie. She would in fact have been working in the red-light district.

When I think about human trafficking, I think about my friend who so nearly became a victim of this terrible crime. But I also think of the local church and how it intervened to help her at her time of greatest need. I hope that, after reading this issue, you will be more aware of the dangers of human trafficking and better equipped to play your part in bringing it to an end.

May the blessings of freedom be yours.

Alice Keen Editor

Please find below articles from Footsteps issue 96 in html.

To download a pdf version of Footsteps issue 96, please click here (PDF 1.8 MB).


  • Bible study: Joseph – human trafficking survivor

    The Bible was written thousands of years ago but it has much to say about what we might see as a modern problem: human trafficking. We will look specifically at the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis, chapters 37–50.

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  • Born to fly: from fear to freedom

    The Born to Fly Project is a child trafficking prevention programme that educates children and their parents about the dangers of child trafficking. The aim is to educate children and teenagers about the lies that traffickers use – and help them to make a commitment not to be trafficked.

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  • Bringing justice, influencing the powerful

    Many of the problems we address in advocacy work arise because of abuse of power. Usually, in trafficking situations, traffickers have gained power because they have used force, violence, bribery or coercion to get what they want.

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  • Lies traffickers tell

    Many communities who are at risk of trafficking have low levels of literacy. Communicating through pictures is an effective way to raise awareness about the lies which traffickers use to trick people.

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  • Mobilising cities to protect children and young people

    It started with small steps in 2011, when the Bola na Rede (‘Ball in the Net’) campaign was dreamed up and planned. The movement grew. By summer 2014, the campaign involved more than 300 churches, dozens of organisations and hundreds of individuals.

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  • Preventing trafficking in Cambodia

    Poverty is the main cause of human trafficking in Cambodia. If a family is poor, it is very vulnerable to trafficking, especially if family members have not had much education.

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  • Resources

    A selection of books, websites and training material on the subject of human trafficking.

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  • The dream that became a nightmare

    Footsteps had the privilege of interviewing a woman who had been trafficked from Kampala with false promises of work in Asia. She agreed to share her story, in the hope that others would be warned of the dangers and be protected from the harm she suffered.

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  • What is Human Trafficking?

    Human trafficking is the transporting or abduction of people for the purposes of exploitation, using coercion, fraud or deception. Trafficking happens in nearly every country in the world. Most victims are trafficked close to home, within their country or region of origin, and their exploiters are often fellow citizens.

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