New York (PRWEB) September 23, 2013
The President of Auburn Theological Seminary, the Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, met with White House officials and civil society leaders to develop strategies to combat the widespread human rights abuse of human trafficking last week. The invitation-only event, “Taking Action to Eradicate Modern-Day Slavery,” gathered the nation’s top leaders on this issue to share best practices; discuss new tactics for preventing and ending trafficking and supporting and empowering survivors; and creating demand for a moral economy that is free of slave-made goods.
“Human trafficking is modern-day slavery, and it’s happening all over the world, including in all 50 of our states and even in Washington, D.C.,” Henderson said.
Henderson led a pressure campaign that gathered more than 600 religious leaders and 250,000 petitioners to protest against Backpage.com’s providing a platform where pimps were able to traffic minors. Village Voice Media has since split from Backpage.com.
As a mother and religious leader, Henderson has strongly spoken out against sex trafficking of children. “When boys and girls are sold for sex, it is a collective failing and an injustice that we are responsible for remedying. A single trafficked boy or girl is too many,” Henderson said.
In addition to working to bring down commercial platforms that enable and legitimize the sex trafficking of minors, Henderson has advocated for a holistic approach to the issue. “To prevent sex trafficking, we must also address the circumstances that make children vulnerable to exploitation — poverty, neglect, abuse, substance addiction, or being cast out because they identify as LGBT. We must support programs that lift up young people, offering them love, guidance, and a sense of belonging.”
The White House convening was inspired by the recent report of recommendations entitled “Building Partnerships to Eradicate Modern-Day Slavery,” from the President's Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Faith and civic leaders discussed tactics for raising public education and awareness, increasing victim identification, empowering and supporting survivors, building consumer markets for slave-free goods, and preventing and reducing demand.
A strong proponent of building bridges and working across faiths and ideologies, Henderson welcomes the opportunity to listen to other civil society leaders and create new strategies for addressing the issue. “No single group or religious tradition can alone end human trafficking. Stopping this scourge will take leaders of faith and moral courage working together to protect the most vulnerable among us.”