A few months ago we were blessed with having Gareth Russell as a guest speaker sharing his experiences and what the charity stands for. It was extremely moving yet shocking discovering what is happening within our very own City. Gareth was eager to share more about Hope for Justice and how we ‘The Church’ can support so read on.
What is the driving force behind Hope for Justice?
We want to see an end to modern day slavery in this nation, in our lifetime. Hope for Justice has a four part strategy; we identify and rescue victims, train frontline professionals to identify and refer cases of slavery, advocate on behalf of victims and provide restorative care to rebuild individual futures. Hope for Justice is operational in Cambodia, the US and the UK but doesn’t currently operate all 4 program areas in all countries.
Why is such an organisation essential for this country?
The kind of fear and manipulation experienced by many victims means they would never consider reporting their situation to the law enforcement. This creates a desperate need for trusted third parties to identify victims, raise public awareness, provide excellent aftercare and train frontline professionals who can build bridges between the victim and the police. Hope for Justice works closely with victims to make sure they enter safe accommodation and get the support they require. After some time in a safe environment, victims are often able to overcome the fear they’ve been instilled with. At this point the victim may feel comfortable telling their story to the police but it is always the victim’s choice whether to cooperate with the police.
What are some of the facts and things going on that people are not aware of?
Trafficking is a global problem and it’s happening in our communities, perhaps even on our street. In a 2005 report the International Labour Organization estimated that $31.6bn is made from the forced labor of trafficking victims, with $15bn of that money being generated within industrialised nations like our own – that’s pretty much half. With the public paying more for services in ‘developed’ nations there is more profit to be made from forced labor and sex trafficking in nations like our own than in ‘developing’ countries.
What can the Church do to help further the work of Hope for Justice?
There are three areas where we ask the church to join with us:
1. Invite a speaker: Share the work of Hope for Justice in your church once a year. Our team will help you put together the best sessions for your members;
2. Pray With Us: We’re combating a significant injustice and oppression. Pray for ongoing investigations, court cases and victim recovery.
3. Give Regularly: Whether you are an individual or a church, your regular financial gifts can help fund freedom for those still trapped in slavery.