“We need to use traffickers' own strategies - we need to network the way they network.”

Tash ZA 2One of OM Czech Republic's missionaries went to her home country, South Africa, over the summer and to lead two awareness seminars concerning human trafficking, as well as a training seminar for those engaged in ministry to victims of human trafficking.

These seminars took place in Johannesburg, to a church located in an area known for its high levels of gang violence and drug abuse, and at the another multicultural local church, near the former Alexander “township” where prostitution is rife.

The awareness raising and training seminars presented an excellent opportunity to not only share about the tactics traffickers use to lure victims, but also the street work that this OM missionary - Natasha - is engaged in related to anti-trafficking in Czech Republic. She shared insights gained through this ministry, which may be of benefit to those engaging in similar ministry in South Africa, highlighting the necessity for relationship-building among street workers and those enslaved by the sex industry, as well as the power of intercession and prayer ministry.

 

Each seminar was tailored to the specific audience, and the requirements given by the South African organisers of each seminar. At ABSA bank head office, being a secular corporation, no overtly Christian dialogue was permitted, bringing the focus of the presentation onto sharing statistics and data related to anti-trafficking in both the Czech Republic and South Africa. As bankers from various ethnic, religious, and cultural groups were present, it was a wonderful opportunity to reach a wide range of influential people who have a wide and varied scope of influence. Many were moved by the seminar and discussed how they planned to engage in awareness campaigning of their own within their spheres of influence.

At one of the churches, the seminar was geared to 50 teenagers, who, living in an area strongly influenced by gangs, are those who are most vulnerable to the coercion tactics of traffickers. Here the seminar was presented as a dialogue and discussion time, with the youth sharing their experiences of drug abuse and trafficking within their area, and our missionary adding to their stories with some concrete details about the coercive tactics employed by gangs focused on trafficking.

Part of these seminars was sharing information regarding resources and training manuals that are used in the European context. The South Africans present there felt that there is a great need for further training in South Africa, and were interested in hearing how training is done in Europe and which resources best meet the needs of such training.

The time in South Africa highlighted the need for cooperation and information sharing among workers in various countries engaged in anti-trafficking efforts. It became all the more clear that due to the international border-crossing nature of the trafficking industry, those engaged in ministry to combat trafficking need to network, resource share and work together across borders, to bring God’s light and love to those ensnared by the global sex industry.

As one South African ex-law enforcement man told this OM missionary, “We need to use traffickers' own strategies - we need to network the way they network.”

International prayer support is greatly cherished.