This prayer guide marks World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, which takes place every year on 30 July, but it can be used all year round. You can use it to inform your own private prayer, or as the basis for praying together as a group around themes and topics relating to human trafficking and slavery.
Please note that this prayer guide contains facts and information relating to human trafficking and slavery that are shocking and uncomfortable. If using this in a group context, please be aware that different experiences and contexts may mean this material could be troubling or difficult for individuals.
Today, human trafficking and slavery are illegal in almost all the nations of the world – but they continue to happen. In fact, it’s estimated that around 50 million people are currently trapped in some form of modern slavery around the world (1).
How do we pray for such an overwhelming crisis? In this guide, we’ll go through a few areas to focus your prayers.
Along with ways to pray now, we’ve also given you a few ideas for how to continue to pray for this issue in your daily life. Let’s be persistent in prayer to see an end to this global crisis.
Before you start praying, let’s get a snapshot of the situation. Human trafficking is a hidden crime, so it’s difficult to get exact figures, but experts estimate that:
These are sobering statistics. As you read them, allow the Holy Spirit to bring your emotions to the surface. You may feel anger, grief, or shock – invite God to be with you in these feelings, and ask Him to share His heart with you.
When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers. Proverbs 21:15
We want to see God intervene in the lives of people affected by human trafficking, and we want Him to bring lasting change to their situations.
For those who are trapped in slavery, pray:
For those who are active or complicit in trafficking other people, pray:
Set an alarm on your phone for the same time every day this week. Each time the alarm goes off, take a moment to pray for the survivors and perpetrators of human trafficking. The prayer points you just read can be summarised as ‘R&R’: pray that God would reveal trafficking and restore everyone involved in it.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17
Traffickers prey upon people who are vulnerable. They often target refugees and people who have been displaced from their homes, those in extreme poverty, immigrants and minorities who may not yet know how to navigate in their new nations, communities where law enforcement is absent or corrupt, and children without caregivers.
Take some time to pray that God changes the circumstances that enable trafficking:
Use the news as a prompt to pray. Whenever you see a headline about any of the issues that make people more vulnerable to trafficking – immigration, natural disaster, homelessness, for example – take a moment to pause and pray that everyone affected would be protected from human trafficking.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?”
In the fight to end trafficking, there two areas of power that we’ll be praying into: legal power and economic power.
National governments have the legal power to enforce the laws against trafficking. This looks like legislating against it, investigating and arresting traffickers, and prosecuting wrongdoers. Everyone, no matter where they live, should be able to trust that their authorities will protect them against exploitation, so let’s pray for:
Not all governments are using their legal power to end trafficking. There are around 4 million people in state-mandated forced labour in various nations. (5) Pray that God changes the unjust systems that make this possible.
Large corporations have economic power to affect the world. Many businesses have complicated supply chains – a piece of clothing, for example, may have fibres grown in several different places before being woven into cloth in another place, being dyed somewhere else, and then being sewn into a garment in a factory in yet another nation – all before it ends up in a shop. Each place and stage of production is an opportunity for exploitation.
Forced labour happens in factories, farms, fishing boats and more. Companies have a responsibility to make sure that they are not inadvertently hiring or buying from people who are exploiting others. Trafficking happens because it is profitable – let’s pray for a world where that’s no longer true. Pray that:
This week, as you shop for groceries, take a moment to read the labels and see where things where grown or made. Choose two or three things in your shopping basket and pray for the government in the nations they came from.
In Luke 4, Jesus describes what God has sent him to do:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.”
God is committed to bringing freedom. He is at work around the world, empowering His people to fight injustice, bring down corrupt systems, and offer help and healing to the hurt. Human trafficking and modern slavery is a huge issue, but He is even bigger.
As you bring your time of prayer to an end, spend some time praising God and giving this issue back into His hands.
(1) Global Slavery Index 2022, https://www.walkfree.org/reports/global-estimates-of-modern-slavery-2022/
(2) Global Slavery Index 2022, https://www.walkfree.org/reports/global-estimates-of-modern-slavery-2022/
(3) Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour, report by the International Labour Organization, https://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_243201/lang–en/index.htm
(4) ‘Forced Labour, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking’, The International Labour Organization, https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/lang–en/index.htm#:~:text=12%25%20of%20all%20those%20in,are%20in%20commercial%20sexual%20exploitation
(5) Global Slavery Index 2022, https://www.walkfree.org/reports/global-estimates-of-modern-slavery-2022/