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At The Samaritan Women, we believe in the healing power of connection with our Heavenly Father and with each other. We humbly ask you to lift our ministry up in prayer and pray for victims, vulnerable populations, and victim services. Sign-up to become a Prayer Partner and commit to praying with us regularly.
Sex Trafficking and the RN’s role
As an RN for over 30 years, I have come to know how important it is to be observant and listen to what you do not hear. Medical staff play a vital role in combating human trafficking. Many victims of human trafficking encounter healthcare workers during their time of exploitation, however very few of them are identified by healthcare staff. It is important for nurses and medical staff to be trained on how to recognize potential victims and intervene effectively. Some obvious signs and symptoms to look for are: black eyes, bald spots from hair being pulled out, broken teeth, burns, bite marks, rectal and vaginal trauma, addiction, anxiety, depression, and branding, such as a tattoo that marks their ownership by the trafficker. Some less obvious signs are: Jaw and neck problems (from repeated forced oral sex), malnourishment from being starved, sexually transmitted infections, infertility, UTI, not knowing where they are, no identification on them, not being given the chance to speak for self, and always looking at the person who brought them in before they answer medical questions. It is important that the RN get the victim alone for the assessment. Some questions that may be gently asked include the following:
- Can you leave your job or situation if you want?
- Have you been threatened if you try to leave?
- Have you been physically harmed in any way?
- Do you have identification (ID) on you? If not, who has your ID or other documents?
- Do you have to ask permission to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, or talk with others?
- Are you being forced to do what you are doing?
- Where and with whom do you live? Are there locks on the doors and windows so that you cannot get out?
Medical facilities can have posters hung with information on Human Trafficking hotlines in places victims might see them, such as outpatient clinics, emergency departments, and facility bathrooms. Never give a patient written information for them to take unless they specifically ask for it. A victim’s life could be in danger if their trafficker finds the evidence. RN’s can also schedule a follow up appointment so there may be another opportunity to get the individual help. For your safety and the victim’s safety, never confront a suspected trafficker directly. The Samaritan Women offers a course for medical professionals on recognizing victims of human trafficking, it includes signs of victim identification and reporting. Trafficking in America: A Learning Forum for the Medical Community was last offered in Louisville KY. Please go to The Samaritan Women’s webpage to request a training.
Dear Lord, thank you for this day, and thank you for the gift of life. We are grateful that this worldwide problem has finally come to the surface, but we have so much to learn, and much more work to do. We ask that you give us the knowledge, courage, compassion, and the strength to fight this health issue that is permeating our world. Open our minds, our arms, and our hearts so that we can serve those in need. It is in Jesus’ name that we pray.
St. Barnabas & St. Susanna Coptic Orthodox Church
Providing Support for Immigrants
Immigrants are trafficked in the United States in a variety of industries including: agriculture, hospitality, restaurants, and domestic work. They may be forced into prostitution, sexual servitude or used for labor exploitation. Immigrant victims fall prey to traffickers through a variety of common tactics. They often come to the United States seeking a better life for themselves or to support family members abroad. Through fraud, traffickers may entice their victims through the promise of legitimate employment. If traffickers bring their victims into the United States or give their victims a loan to support their family members abroad, they will expect the victim to repay the debt. However, traffickers often impose exorbitant amounts of interest or find other reasons which make it impossible for the debt to be paid off, thereby creating a debt bondage situation.
Not only do traffickers monitor their victims and physically isolate them, but they also decrease the likelihood of liberation by preventing their victims from learning English. As another means of entrapment, traffickers often deprive their victims of their passport or other identity documents. Immigrant victims lack knowledge about the legal system in the United States, making them wholly unaware that they have any legal remedies. Traffickers exploit this lack of knowledge and coerce their victims through abuse of the legal system, telling their victim that as an undocumented immigrant no one will believe them or help them. Traffickers commonly threaten deportation if their victims do not comply with their demands. They may also threaten to harm family members living abroad in countries where the rule of law is not enforced. Immigrant trafficking victims who are forced to return to their country of origin are often vulnerable to re-trafficking in countries, which lack rehabilitative resources and legal protections for trafficking survivors.
Lord God, I am completely overwhelmed by this horrific crime which completely disregards the sanctity of human life and destroys the lives of so many of your children. If I consider the depth of this problem I may be disheartened into inaction. Please break the hardened hearts, which participate in these crimes, and direct our steps to bring healing to your children, one precious life at a time. Through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Church of the Nazarene
Providing Support for Trafficking Victims
Trafficked victims often face drug or alcohol addictions, criminal records, a lack of education, and no support system. Even after escaping The Life, they can become easily discouraged, fearful of the unknown, and tempted to go back to unsafe people and situations because it is the life they are familiar with.
In Exodus, Moses led the Jewish people out of slavery from Egypt, but when faced with trials, the Jewish people longed to go back to their life of slavery, instead of embracing their life of freedom and trusting God to provide. But Moses did not give up on them, he continued to lead them for 40 years and advocated to God for them so they could experience His love and freedom. Like Moses, we must help lead these individuals out of slavery by sharing Christ’s message of truth and love, and walking alongside them through their healing journey. We know that healing comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ and we are called to be His hands and feet.
At The Samaritan Women we want all victims of human trafficking to experience the love of Jesus and to find hope in Him. Our vision is that any survivor, anywhere in the nation, would have access to qualified, compassionate care.
Dear Heavenly Father,
We pray for you to intervene and stop the evil practice of human trafficking, and I pray that your people are doers of your Word and not just hearers. Help victims realize your love and help them not to look back longing for their former lives because of fear of the unknown. Help them to realize they are loved by You because of the value You put on them as His children. Help us Lord to shed your light in this dark world, and please bless the organizations fighting against human trafficking and allow them to be victorious in their mission to eliminate human trafficking. I pray this in your precious son Jesus’ name.
Mrs. Johnnie Fries
The Navajo Nation and Human Trafficking
The Navajo Nation is the largest Native American reservation in the U.S. and is one of the many populations vulnerable to trafficking. Tribal communities have historical trauma and culture loss, high rates of poverty, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, and low levels of law enforcement. Over thirty percent of the residents do not have running water, and some families do not have electricity. The schools, healthcare, and Head Start programs are under-funded and there are high rates of runaway youth. Many youth are in the foster care system are exposed to violence at home or in the community.
Missing persons reports are often overlooked and many of those who disappear end up in trafficking situations. Labor traffickers seek out Native American boys and young men as well as girls to labor in oil fields, sweatshops, and as domestic help. Native American girls and women are targeted by sex traffickers because they are perceived as vulnerable and exotic. Sex trafficking is estimated to be a $12 billion a year business.
Tribal leaders are crucial to addressing trafficking, including working to have codes or laws to prosecute traffickers. Educating casino staff on how to spot trafficking and notify the tribal police is one way to spread awareness. The Navajo tribal nation has codes such as the Violence Against Women Act, and there is hope that other tribes will follow their lead. In 2019, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Task Force was established to help determine the scope of the problem and proactively protect indigenous women and girls.
Lord, may we remember what you taught us, to love our neighbors as ourselves. Help us to be aware of how our actions and lack of actions affect all of your children. May we always keep close to our hearts what Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) May the first citizens of this country have their voices heard, their culture and traditions preserved and passed on to younger generations. Protect those that are vulnerable to trafficking and strengthen the community as they fight to protect each other. Amen.
Bill and Beth Hadley
Psychological Impacts of Sex Trafficking
Young adults and children together form the core group of sexually trafficked victims, with traffickers focusing on recruiting girls between 12 and 14 years of age.
Trauma among the victims of this young group can affect cognition and behavior for decades. Such trauma often leads to symptoms similar to those of veterans returning home from war. Victims of such trauma are four times more likely to become an alcoholic and fifteen times more likely to commit suicide. Such trauma can also inhibit academic success. Students with repeated exposure to sexual exploitation are nearly three times more likely to repeat a grade, have low literacy, and enter the school-to-prison pipeline. Victims find it challenging to leave their abusers for fear of being physically harmed or killed.
Trafficking often causes memory loss, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, emotional trauma, and extended anxiety. Victims may also experience the Stockholm Syndrome defined as a condition in which hostages develop a psychological alliance with their captors, or develop “traumatic bonding” which is loyalty to a person who is destructive. They look to their abusers for a sense of security, food, shelter, and clothes. Let the church rise up and extend love, care, and hope to those who are suffering from the many psychological issues of modern-day slavery – human trafficking.
Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your presence among us during these difficult times. Many young women are experiencing feelings of failure, guilt, and lack of confidence. Guide them on the path to renewed faith in You as they rebuild their lives. Each of us is precious in Your sight. We know with complete confidence that You will help us, particularly trafficked women now in recovery, to follow Your will and serve others in need.
- Dr. Bill A. Hadley. Facing The Truth. Understanding and Reforming Men Who Buy Sex (Cordon Publications, 2019).
- Adaora Ntukogu. Mental Health Needs of Sex Trafficking Survivors, Destination HealthEU News Perspectives.
- Organicswan873. Sex Trafficking: Impact On Victim’s Mental & Physical Health, October 23, 2018.
Pastor Tony Forman
Pastor at West Baltimore Unity and Unity UMC
Chaplin at The Samaritan Women
Encouragement for Fathers
One of the high-risk groups in sexual trafficking are children from unstable home environments. Home environments where the father is absent and non-supportive or home environments where the father is present, but abusive, sexually, and physically. Statistics provided by The Samaritan Women’s Advocate Training Program states that the average age of recruitment into sex trafficking is 11-13 years old. 87% of victims of sex trafficking are from substance abusing homes and 70-90% were physically or sexually abused. Victims in this age group are chronic runaways, seeking a father figure, seeking love, seeking acceptance, and seeking security. In some of these environments the parents are the traffickers.
This is a call to all father’s, men that are father’s biologically, men that are fathers of blended families, men that are father’s based on personal relationships and men that are father’s because they have been given an opportunity to have a positive impact in a young person’s life. This is a call for men to stand up and be the father’s that God has called us to be.
Let us pray
Lord God, you said in your Word, “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required;” as fathers we are given families, wives and children, and with that gift it is required of each father to be the foundation for their family. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, and husbands are to love their wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Father God you also said in your Word, “from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.” Lord God you have entrusted the father with children, and you demand godly offspring; therefore, as father’s we are to raise our children with good moral standards. It is the duty of the father to love his wife and nurture his children.
Lord God, I pray that fathers surrender their will and submit to the authority of Jesus Christ and by faith in Jesus, be the example of love in their families. Lord strengthen fathers so they can show their daughters how a woman is supposed to be treated, by loving their wife, in the presence of their daughter. I pray that she sees that love is patient, love is kind, and not self-serving, that she sees this by your actions. Lord strengthen fathers so they can show their son’s a man of God, a righteous man of faith with integrity. A man that surrenders his will to the will of God, a man that blesses his children by his life of righteousness. Lord God, I lift up all men and ask you to strengthen their heart hearts, for our blessings is in our obedience to you and the father is the key for the success of the family unit. All these things I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.
Foster Care Awareness
The month of May is Foster Care Awareness Month. Please join me in the Healing Power of Connection as we lift up these vulnerable youth.
The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting us all, and it is unquestionably dealing a devastating blow to our most vulnerable populations. Youth in foster care, and those who have recently “aged or transitioned out” of the system are in particular danger of feeling isolated, and are extremely susceptible to being exploited. Children and young adults without family to help them feel loved and supported often fall prey to the tactics predators use to lure them into a life of trafficking.
According to FBI statistics, approximately 60% of the youth rescued in child sex trafficking raids are from foster care or group homes. And with the additional pressures caused by COVID-19, it is expected that stress and circumstances will cause even more to fall prey to traffickers. According to a March 2020 survey conducted by FosterClub, older foster youth are experiencing:
- Housing Instability: Approximately 40% were forced to move or fear losing housing
- Food Insecurity: Approximately 28% are in crisis
- Insufficient Financial Resources: 1/3 have less than a week of money to pay for basic needs
- Severe Isolation and Mental Health Concerns
Dear Heavenly Father,
As we face the uncertain days ahead, we hold up to you those who are most vulnerable, in particular those children in foster care and those who are out on their own, feeling alone, scared and unsure of what life holds for them. Please embrace them in the warm folds of Your Love, let them know that with You they are never alone…they are precious and beloved. And help us to open our hearts to those most in need…give us the ability, courage and compassion to mirror Your love here on earth and minister to those who desperately seek stability, support, love and a sense of belonging. Help us live out the words of Jesus, when he said, “Let the little children come to me, do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” (Mark 10:14)
We pray for this in Your Holy Name,
A common saying in recovery is “addiction is a disease of isolation”. Social isolation is critical to preventing the spread of coronavirus; however, it also prevents people from support systems used to maintain sobriety. Experts generally recognize two categories of addiction – chemical and behavioral. When you hear the word addiction, perhaps you automatically think of drugs and alcohol; and they are in the chemical addiction category. Have you ever considered that shopping, porn, video games, online browsing, or even exercise can become addictions? Activities that seem harmless at first can take a downward turn when they negatively impact our lives. Any of these can cause a loss of interest in things that previously brought us pleasure. Addictions cost people jobs, relationships, and health.
In Mathew 11:28 Jesus tells us: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
God is waiting for anyone that struggles; He knows the pain of sin and He wants to bring healing. God does not keep count of our past mistakes. If you are struggling with an addiction reach out and get help and if you are in a relationship with someone battling addiction there is help for you too.
Types of addictions:
Shopping, Gambling, porn, video, games, porn, sex, food, exercise, plastic surgery, drugs, alcohol
Survivors and Survivor Services
- Social distancing and current circumstances surrounding COVID-19 may remind a survivor of the feelings and experiences they had when they were being exploited.
- These current conditions can mirror the isolation, intimidation, unpredictable expectations, threats, and restrictions asserted by traffickers.
For survivors to break free from the chains of their past; for their minds and spirits to be protected; and for their fears and anxieties to be replaced with God’s presence and love.
- Since the onset of this pandemic, some shelters have had to temporarily close, hold off on the intake of new residents, and some that had planned to open soon are now in a season of waiting.
- Shelters may be experiencing a change in atmosphere among the household.
For shelters to continue to trust in God and have hope in HIS plans; for leaders to have wisdom and guidance on how to navigate during this time; renewed strength and energy for staff and volunteers; and peace and harmony among the household.
At Risk Populations
Children are at higher risk of being exploited and abused during a time of crisis. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month; your report of suspected child abuse or neglect has the potential to save a child’s life. Studies have shown that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18. Which means you have people in your life and in your church that have lived this terrible trauma. Many victims choose not to disclose or report; therefore, the true prevalence of child abuse may be significantly underestimated. All children are at risk for falling prey to a sexual predator. Ninety six percent of the survivors that entered The Samaritan Women’s residential program were sexually abused as children. Traffickers are adept at preying on human weakness; they look for people in vulnerable situations and fill a need.
People most vulnerable to human trafficking are those who:
- Were sexually abused
- Lived in substance-abusing households
- Came from fatherless homes
- Resided in a group home, or had numerous foster care placements
- Have been exposed to violence
- Suffer from low self-esteem or loneliness
Reporting suspected abuse: Provide as much information as possible
- Child’s name
- Location abuse happened (if known)
- Type of abuse
- Home address
- Parents or guardians’ names
- Age of child
- Name of abuser and relationship to child
If child discloses listen and document what was said, it is not your responsibility to investigate if the allegation is true. Be as accurate as possible when documenting, use the child’s words and place them in quotation marks.
- Darkness to Light https://www.d2l.org/
- The Samaritan Women https://thesamaritanwomen.org/
- Maryland Children’s Alliance, Inc. https://www.marylandchildrensalliance.org/child-advocacy-centers/
My prayer is that the people of the church will rise up, protect children and fill their unmet needs.
Social Distancing, Porn, & Sex-trafficking
- Visits to online porn sites are skyrocketing
- People are experiencing higher levels of stress, loneliness, anxiety, and isolation, and are turning to porn to cope
Connection to Sex Trafficking
- Victims of sex trafficking are forced into the production of pornography
- Viewers have no way of knowing if the person they are watching gave their consent
- Increased porn consumption can lead to increased loneliness and a negative view of self and others
- Research shows that people who stop consuming porn report having higher self-esteem, higher-quality intimacy, better focus, improved energy, and overall more happiness and joy
- Visit our resources page for books, videos, documentaries, websites, and more
Dear God, Thank you for the technology that allows us to stay in connection with our loved ones during this time of isolation. I pray that that technology would be used for good, to draw people out of loneliness and into loving community with one another. I pray for eyes to be opened to the harmful effects of pornography, for there to be an end to demand, and for those struggling with addiction to find freedom. I pray for freedom for those trapped in slavery, that you would restore their lives and surround them with your love so they know their worth and value in you. Father, I thank you for your mercy and grace, and the peace, hope, and joy, we have in Jesus. It’s in his Holy Name we pray, Amen.
Kids Online Safety
Talk with your children about:
- Keeping personal information including names of parents, parents’ workplace, school, teams, afterschool activities, etc. confidential
- Only talking to people that they already know in person
- Good secrets vs. bad secrets
Appropriate vs. Inappropriate Images
Remind your children:
- What photos are safe to send
- Sent electronic photos live forever
- Report anyone who asks to engage in sexual activity online
Parents on Guard
Be sure to:
- Know what apps your kids are on and have access to their passwords
- Adjust privacy settings to the strictest level possible
- Set internet time limits (no devices after bedtime)
“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.”