Today’s blog was written by Danielle Lambert, a student at Oklahoma Baptist University. Danielle was enrolled in, “Contemporary Issues for Women in Ministry.”

In the United States, we have a problem that is swept under the rug more often than it’s addressed. Human trafficking is a multimillion dollar industry which preys on innocence and fear. Here are four facts that outline the trafficking industry in the United States.

1. Human Trafficking extends further than sex slavery.

Many times, people hear “human trafficking” and assume it means sex. While sex is a huge part of trafficking (i.e. brothels, clubs and pornography), the trade also uses people for cheap, or free, labor. Labor camps, underpaid and possibly abused hotel staff and massage therapy clinics all serve as covers for trafficking situations in both the sex and intensive labor capacity. Not all hotels or massage clinics involve trafficking, but consumers should be aware that it does exist.

2. Trafficking primarily affects women and children.

Women in the United States should be concerned with trafficking because it’s affecting women and children. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, “Victims of trafficking can be any age and any gender. However, a disproportionate number of women are involved in human trafficking both as victims and as culprits.” Some reports show children as young as 12 to 14 are used in the trafficking trade.

3. It’s more of an industry than you think.

The Super Bowl is an epicenter of human trafficking. Surprising? It should be. One of the biggest events stateside for the New Year is also one of the biggest events for traffickers across the country. As fans descend on the hosting city, traffickers open their doors for business; some women expected to sleep with up to 25 men a day. It’s a money-making strategy, much like any other business or corporation, just significantly darker and buried deeper within society.

4. Efforts to curb trafficking have worked, but there’s still work to do.

The state of Oklahoma, this year, received a “C” grade from Shared Hope for what it’s doing to criminalize human trafficking. While improvements have been made over the past four years, there is still more to do. Shared Hope provides information about human trafficking in each state and steps to contact representatives to change laws which further criminalize trafficking.

Not only do victims of human trafficking matter to Christ, they should matter to the Church. The “Big C” Church. In our modern society that is filled with fallen and lost people, trafficking is and continues to be one of the most dangerous and degrading industries. As the body of Christ, it should be our concern to seek to save the victims of trafficking, as well as, stop the culprits from furthering the industry. Polaris, Not For Sale, and the US State Department all offer resources to help identify and assist trafficking victims.

For more information on how your church can be involved, visit the BGCO Women’s website at www.bgcowomen.org and look at the STOP Sunday resources.

STOP Sunday is January 11, 2015.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com