By Jessica Zerkle
There are more slaves today than any point in human history. Experts estimate that thirty million people are caught up in the global slave trade,¹ an industry which generates $150 billion in profits annually worldwide.² In response to these statistics, which represent people created by our God, the Church of God launched the CHOG TraffickLight initiative at the Church of God Convention in Oklahoma City this past June. From a biblical perspective grounded in Luke 4:16–19, this initiative aims to speak for those who have no voice, to go in the dark places to which Christ has called us, and to set the captives free.
Throughout its history, the Church of God has been on the forefront of justice initiatives that sought to come alongside the poor and the oppressed, such as E. Faith Stewart’s work with The Shelter in India, dating back one hundred years. Rooted in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, the Church of God continues to align with the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium Freedom Network, affirming our belief that the church should “faithfully respond to the impulse of God’s holy love by working for God’s reign to be ever more visible,” thus “entering in Christ-like ways into a movement for the abolition of modern slavery and trafficking.”³ We are committing to become modern-day abolitionists for the kingdom of Jesus.
Today, CHOG TraffickLight is forging the way with the mission to create, promote, and unite groups inside and outside the Church of God who are furthering the effort to stop human trafficking. Currently, CHOG TraffickLight partners with five different ministries directly involved with anti-human trafficking efforts. Those organizations are Church on the Street, One Heart, Pink Door, The Shelter, and Stripped Love. Descriptions of and links to these ministries can be found at www.chogtrafficklight.org/partners/.
As a means to collectively unite the Church of God movement, CHOG TraffickLight and Church of God Ministries are asking every Church of God congregation in North America to celebrate Freedom Sunday.4 What is Freedom Sunday? Originally, it was an initiative created by Not For Sale for the purpose of unifying churches in the fight against human trafficking. On February 22, 2015, please consider joining in unity with the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium Freedom Network as we celebrate Freedom Sunday together. There are thirty million men, women, and children enslaved in our world today who have no voice. They are across the globe, as well as in our own communities. Let us be a movement that is not only aware of human trafficking but is following the Spirit’s leading to be the light and love of Christ in our world!
Stay tuned for more information about how you can be involved in Freedom Sunday. Information and resources will be sent by mail, as well as be made available at www.chogtrafficklight.org, to help guide you as you explore how the Holy Spirit is leading your church community. The Holy Spirit anointed Jesus for such a ministry as this. Jesus is the subject. Should we not expect his anointing over us to lead us into the same ministry? Join this freedom movement.