Burnt out and covered in the debris of a damaged life, the couch sat at the entrance to the Free Evangelical Church Holstenwall. The artwork by Youth With A Mission (YWAM) student Rebecca Lozano was commissioned for the recent They Are Not For Sale conference in Hamburg, Germany. It was a powerful and graphic piece representing the destruction that forced sexual exploitation causes to millions of women worldwide.
Today there are an estimated 27 million people being held against their will in bonded labor, involuntary servitude, or sexual slavery. Many victims of slavery have been trafficked from their home countries; they are taken to places where they are undocumented, invisible and trapped. Hosted by YWAM Herrnhut, in co-operation with the Not For Sale Campaign, the conference sent out a clear call to ‘Awaken to Reality and Rise to Action’.
The church where the conference was held, sits on the fringe of Hamburg’s Reeperbahn. Many of those enslaved today are kept for sexual exploitation, and the sights and sounds of the busy red-light district were a gritty reminder that human slavery exists in our neighbourhoods; the places we live, work and worship in. Human trafficking is not a foreign problem. It is not something that happens solely in distant countries; increasingly the problem is in our backyards. Not for Sale is an organization working to teach people methods to recognize modern-day slavery and how to be part of the solution by providing practical steps to abolish it. The conference served as a dynamic way of introducing the Not For Sale Campaign to Europe.
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I like this article because it talks about the reality of human trafficking being everywhere not just in crazy foreign countries where it does not really affect us. There is probably some sort of trafficking going on in your own home town. What can you do about this? I encourage you to do a little research yourself and see what you can find out about what goes on in your home town or near you. What can you do to help, maybe the first step you can do is raise awareness. What you find may shock you…