The Rev. Adrian Dannhauser was in contemplative prayer when she felt a particular tug at her heart. The Associate Rector from Church of the Incarnation felt God calling her to do something about human trafficking. At first, she tried to reject the request. It was too hard, too ugly, she reasoned. But the calling to mobilize others against human trafficking persisted, and today, Adrian heads The Episcopal Diocese Of New York Task Force Against Human Trafficking
Human trafficking impacts hundreds of thousands of people across the world. And it is not just a problem found overseas. Human trafficking victims have been located in all fifty states, including New York. “It really is modern-day slavery, “ says Adrian. “Human trafficking is defined by lack of choice. “
Adrian explains that children get lured into a relationship with a pimp who they believe is their boyfriend, usually around the age of 13, and then usually the relationship turns into something exploitative.
“You think you are entering a loving relationship, or an education opportunity, or you are going to travel the world, or a well paying job,” she explains. “There’s always this false promise.” Women and children are ordered online and delivered to hotel rooms, and are driven up and down the coasts of the United States.
In response to this devastating issue, the Episcopal Diocese of New York Task Force Against Human Trafficking began a little over a year ago. They started by encouraging people in the diocese to get active to support state legislation to strengthen penalties against traffickers and provide stronger support for survivors.
The task force also developed a 3 part Christian education series: “Unbind and Let Go.” This bible study helps Christian communities respond to human trafficking in the U.S. View this resource here.
The Task Force also brought the UN Gift Box to the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine. The gift box looks like a wrapped present with promises similar to the false lures of human traffickers, and when they walk inside, the viewer confronts a very different reality. “The visceral reaction from the viewer is really powerful,” says Adrian.
On March 14, the Task Force will host an interfaith panel: “Unbind and Let Go: Mobilizing Faith Communities to Combat Human Trafficking” at the Church of the Incarnation. Adrian encourages all to attend this important event to hear from experts about this issue and learn how to work against human trafficking.
“The main thing we can do is educate ourselves in order to be vigilant, “ Adrian says. “Human trafficking a scary, awful, ugly reality that God calls us to shine a light on.”
To get involved in the Task Force, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
To learn more, visit the following resources:
Trafficking Resource Center
Episcopal Diocese Trafficking Information