As Christians who believe the biblical truth that each human life is made in the image of God and should be treated with dignity, we abhor the crime of human trafficking. We also acknowledge a particular mandate from God to protect children who are uniquely vulnerable. For many evangelical Christians throughout the United States, fighting human trafficking and standing for vulnerable children are key policy priorities.
Evangelical leaders from around the country, including Briana Stensrud, director of Women of Welcome, have signed on to a letter organized by our partners at World Relief, urging senior presidential advisor Ivanka Trump – who recently described human trafficking as “arguably the gravest of human rights violations” and who has been one of the most prominent advocates for victims of trafficking within the administration – to do everything within her influence to ensure that the provisions of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) related to unaccompanied children are once again enforced.
These protections govern how children unaccompanied by a parent or legal guardian and apprehended at the U.S. border are to be treated. In order to protect these uniquely vulnerable children from the threats of trafficking, persecution, or other exploitation, the TVPRA requires that these children be transferred from the custody of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – a law enforcement agency without the specialized training necessary to care for children – to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
In March, the Department of Homeland Security suspended TVPRA’s lifesaving protections, citing public health concerns and legal authorities related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of being referred to the custody of HHS, which has trained capacity to care for traumatized, vulnerable children, unaccompanied children are being summarily expelled to their countries of origin, sometimes after brief, unregulated stays in hotels. These children are returned to situations where, tragically, many are at high risk of trafficking, violence and exploitation.
Click here to read the full letter, and sign below to add your name to this list of leaders of prominent Christian anti-trafficking, humanitarian and denominational organizations.
- Scott Arbeiter, President, World Relief
- Briana Stensrud, Director, Women of Welcome
- Philip Langford, President, International Justice Mission (IJM)US
- Russell Moore, President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC (ERLC)
- Walter Kim, President, National Association of Evangelicals (NAE)
- Chris Palusky, President & CEO, Bethany Christian Services\
- Gabriel Salguero, President, National Latino Evangelical Coalition
- Shayne Moore, Anti-Trafficking Fellow, Humanitarian Disaster Institute, Wheaton College
- Kim Berry Jones, Director, Center for Justice & Reconciliation, Point Loma Nazarene University
- Ron Bueno, Executive Director, ENLACE USA
- Sandra Morgan, Director, Global Center for Women & Justice, Vanguard University
- Jill Stoltzfus, Executive Director, Association for a More Just Society US
The Women of Welcome Team