Delegates and representatives at the Baptist Assembly meeting this weekend in Brighton have backed a new campaign against human trafficking launched by their world mission body, BMS.
The ‘In Transit’ initiative is encouraging Christians and churches across the UK to sign and return a postcard declaring their opposition to the exploitative trade in people. They are particularly highlighting the situation in Albania.
People trafficking has become a very real problem for Albania, say churches, human rights groups and women’s organisation there.
For several years, says BMS World Wide, Christians in Albania have been providing practical assistance to trafficking victims through a women's prison ministry.
BMS spokesperson for counter-trafficking work, Hannah Wilson, says that more support and global action is needed. The International Justice Mission (IJM) and CHASTE (Churches Alert on Sex Trafficking in Europe) are other organisations working on the different aspects of the world people trade.
Albania is primarily a country of origin. The vast majority of its victims are girls and women. Two-thirds of those caught up in the cruel trade are sent to either Greece or to Italy, say BMS. Approximately one in 50 end up in the UK.
Campaigners are calling on the Albanian government for more effective legislation, together with international cooperation through the UN.
BMS is helping to train church congregations to recognise trafficking targets, prevent its growth in their communities, and support victims.
“In Transit gives churches the opportunity to take very practical action in ending the scandal of people trafficking," explained Mark Craig, BMS World Mission director for communications.
The initiative has been linked to celebrations and remembrances for the centenary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.