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Human trafficking is often more about psychological exploitation rather than physical restraint.


With images of women being tied up and shackled, news and mainstream media often paint a skewed picture of the realities of human trafficking. While these images can lead people to believe that trafficked individuals are physically restrained, it may come as a surprise that many are able to go out in public but remain victims due to psychological abuse and coercion. “[Victims] are given certain promises about


their life outlook, and then they end up in situations where wages are withheld, they are kept in places with a guard and they are not allowed to speak for themselves,” Reumann said.


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To advance change, know your local resources and partners. Many Lutheran-affiliated organizations and


partners are trying to combat human trafficking at the state and local levels. All welcome passionate volunteers and advocates. In Wisconsin, Lutherans work with legislators,


public servants and other nonprofits to build a united and comprehensive campaign to help fight, prevent and raise awareness of human trafficking. “The Lutheran Office for Public Policy in


Wisconsin is addressing [human trafficking] by educating people in the church and at community events, advocating for public policies and helping others to be advocates for just legislation,” said Cindy Crane, its director. They also work with Cherish All Children, an ELCA ministry that helps congregations prevent sexual exploitation, and belong to a statewide consortium on anti-human trafficking in Wisconsin. Pastors and synod representatives can also be


a source for learning more about how to join the anti-trafficking movement.


The facts


According to the International Labour Organization, there are an estimated 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally:


• 68% are trapped in forced labor. • 26% are children. • 55% are women and girls.


More than 21,000 cases of human trafficking have been reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline in the last eight years. The hotline annually receives multiple reports of cases in each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C.


Source: polarisproject.org


For more • To learn more about ELCA congregational efforts to fight human trafficking, see the article “It happens close to home” at LivingLutheran.org.


• Read the ELCA social message “Commercial Sexual Exploitation” at elca.org/socialmessages.


Dierberg Clark is a freelance writer living with her husband and twins in Chesterton, Ind.


RELIGION NEWS & SOCIAL ISSUES • LIVINGLUTHERAN.ORG 31


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