Causes of Vulnerability: Financial Instability

Stability, as I stated in yesterday’s blog, is a core common desire of all humans. When things become uncertain and unstable in our lives, our core axis of being is altered, and we immediately, sometimes desperately, seek a way to return to sound and certain footing. I wrote yesterday about how political instability like we have seen with the COVID-19 pandemic has caused increased vulnerability to becoming involved in human trafficking for people all across the world. Today, I would like to explore the ways that the financial instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused increased vulnerability to human trafficking.

Many people in the West have lost jobs and are facing tremendous financial pressure to pay bills, purchase food, and pay for other essential items to support life. In other parts of the world, food shortages and societal lockdowns have created major problems for those who are not able to get to the daily markets to buy or sell food and other goods. Many friends in Africa have told me that they believe hunger will kill their people long before the virus can reach them. Because humans seek that stability I mentioned earlier, these situations can quickly become untenable and cause poor and uninformed decision making by people who are, in a word, desperate.

Traffickers can easily prey on victims with one of the most well-known tricks that is particularly successful in these times of uncertainty and instability. The promise of a good, well-paying job in another country is an age-old technique and one that works even better when people’s desperation is at unprecedented high levels due to the pandemic. The only defense to this trap is knowledge that the job offer is probably fake and for opportunities to be created in local church communities t0 provide skills that lead to jobs and income for people in the community. HOPE61 has a number of stories of just this thing happening after HOPE61 trainings, and now is the time to make sure more and more people around the world are ready to refuse the offers of these traffickers.

On the other hand, these desperate and unstable times due to the virus could cause those that might never think of becoming a buyer and seller of humans, a trafficker, to see this evil activity as an only option to feed, clothe, and house themselves and their family. Desperation is a nasty plague that causes people to make decisions they might not have made before. The influence of faith and the community of the local church has proven to be an invaluable asset to communities in helping people realize that there is always a better solution to the current problems than becoming a purveyor of human flesh and entering into the world of human trafficking.

As the pandemic begins to show signs of letting up, HOPE61 is committed to being on the front lines to prevent this evil scourge. We will start trainings as soon as it is safe to do so, and we are making plans to ramp up the speed and frequency of trainings across the globe. But we need your help to do that. As Giving Tuesday approaches, will you prayerfully consider supporting the efforts of HOPE61 to prevent human trafficking and share the Gospel message with the vulnerable, both here in the United States and across the globe? We cannot do it without you!

By Tom Overton, HOPE61 Global Director

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