Session One

Human Trafficking: An overview

The UN Defines human trafficking “as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.” To put it simply, human trafficking is the exploitation of vulnerabilities for commercial gain. For this reason, Let My People Go’s mission is to mobilize the church to fight human trafficking by loving those most vulnerable.

To better understand the impact of human trafficking, here are 15 key facts that you need to know:

  1. It generates $150 billion dollars annually.
  2. Like any other “business,” it functions on the law of supply and demand.
  3. Over half of those “supplied” globally are women and girls.
  4. Trafficking happens as people are compelled to work by “force, fraud, or coercion.” To be considered human trafficking, the aforementioned “means” must be clear, except in cases of those under the age of 18. Click here to download a resource that will further explain how power and control are used to manipulate potential victims.
  5. At any given time, it is estimated that there are between 20.9 to 36 million people held in what amounts to modern day slavery.
  6. Human trafficking affects all 50 states in the U.S. as well as every country in the world.
  7. Victims of human trafficking are hidden in plain sight. They are everywhere, even in church.
  8. In America alone, it is estimated that between 14,500 and 17,500 foreign nationals are trafficked into our borders each year.
  9. Not all human trafficking is for sex. Actually, 68% of victims are trafficked for forced labor, while only 22% are trafficked for sex.
  10. Often times, we come face to face with trafficking victims without even knowing it. Many are trafficked within the construction, service, hospitality, and tourism industries.
  11. Believe it or not, the movie, Taken, is not entirely accurate. Not all victims are kidnapped by strangers, instead they are exploited by those whom they trust.
  12. The “chains” that hold many victims captive are not physical but emotional, and psychological. This is often referred to as “traumatic bonding.”
  13. It has been estimated that between 75-95% of those in prostitution were sexually abused as children.
  14. Approximately 1,200 illicit massage parlors are open just in New York City (which, by way of comparison, has some 2,500 bars and nightclubs, along with 280 or so Starbucks).
  15. Generally, traffickers target those who are most vulnerable and ANYONE can be vulnerable.




Though these facts and statistics can be overwhelming, as people of faith, we can still find hope. In your groups, read Shandra’s story.



Questions for small group discussion

What shocked you? Why?

Where does trafficking occur? How do you find out?

Today, your team will spend the entire afternoon in one of NYC’s three Chinatowns. Each of you has a significant role to play:

  • Navigator: You will guide your team through out the city. You will use “city mapper” or “google maps” to make sure that everyone arrives safely on site all week. Today, you will find and locate where you will start in your particular chinatown.
  • Recorder: Your job is VERY important. You will take notes of locations that you visit; whether you are praying, passing out posters, or “products.” Please include facts about the setting in your notes. We strongly suggest that you use your phone to take notes, not merely because it’ll be easier to add to the spreadsheet, but more importantly, because if there is you are staring at a brothel and scribbling down notes … people will ask questions. Ergo, don’t do that!
  • Researcher: Your job is two fold: 1) You will keep your eyes open for opportunities as you are walking through each neighborhood. 2) You will use google to find potential areas where people are being exploited. Talk to me before you leave for further information.
  • Prayer leader: As you find potential places of exploitation, you will lead the team in prayer. Please keep your eyes open and pray nonchalantly.
  • Project Leader: The project leader for each team will be female. This is important as only girls will be entering into the massage parlors, shop keepers and nail salons with the “product.”

As you go, you may cross paths with a potential victim of human trafficking. In order to identify a potential victim, you need to know how to recognize the red flags and how to report it?


Here is your challenge for today: Whichever teams consumes the most southeast asian food in Chinatown for $5 per person wins tonight’s prize!

Before our next morning session:

Take a couple of moments and complete the survey on to see how many slaves are currently working for you.

Read what others have said about LMPG and hear Iryna’s Story  


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