When I consider the individuals and advocates who have some of the most powerful impact on the protection, well-being and survival of the world’s children, I think of faith communities. Across religious traditions, communities of faith often share common values, such as the motivation to end injustice, promote peace and serve the needs of vulnerable groups. These common values unite faith communities across the United States and encourage collaboration to end all forms of violence against children — including child trafficking.
Child trafficking has been likened to modern-day slavery. This form of abuse and exploitation is not only a grave violation of child rights, but an issue that affects entire communities in the United States and abroad. Faith communities have a unique capacity to be on the front lines of defense for children who are most vulnerable to trafficking and other forms of violence.
Your commitment to serving the needs of children and other vulnerable groups is essential in effecting change to prevent and end child trafficking. Within this toolkit, you will find strategies for action we have developed to help protect the dignity of every child. Therefore, I invite you to share this resource with your friends and fellow community members and work together to take collective action. In the spirit of unity, let us embrace the common values we share and use them to create a better, safer future for the world’s children.
On behalf of UNICEF USA, I am grateful for all that you do to put children first.
Caryl M. Stern
A belief in human dignity, a dedication to end injustice, and a commitment to care for the marginalized are core principles that unite all communities of faith. These principles are also essential in effecting change to end violence, exploitation and human trafficking.
Faith-based organizations and religious groups are important partners in UNICEF’s work to protect children across the globe. UNICEF works very closely with religious communities whose tenets include an interest in the safety and well-being of all people, especially of children. Communities of faith are important advocates for the rights and protection of vulnerable groups, and key players in preventing and ending the exploitation of children.
The End Trafficking Project at UNICEF USA aims to raise awareness about child trafficking and mobilize communities to take meaningful action to help protect children. Individuals across faith traditions are vocal to assert the injustice of exploitation, the importance of hospitality and the imperative to respond to the needs of the vulnerable. That is why the End Trafficking Project views faith communities as especially powerful allies in the fight to end child trafficking.
The purpose of this toolkit is to educate faith leaders, faith-based organizations and houses of worship on the issue of human trafficking, and equip them with the tools and resources to take action against it. The toolkit contains resources from several faith traditions, including scriptural examples from major religious texts, and offers ideas for local faith communities to combat human trafficking.
The faith values highlighted in this toolkit are based on the understanding, interpretation, and guidance of our interfaith partners and do not necessarily encompass the full breadth of views within each major religious tradition. In addition, while UNICEF works very closely with religious communities around the globe, the faith values in this toolkit do not represent the views of UNICEF or UNICEF USA.
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