In 2014, the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) received a Thank Offering grant from Presbyterian Women that helped make possible WCRC’s 2015 Lenten project, “Broken for You.” “Broken for You” sought to bring the call of the Accra Confession* into action by highlighting courageous women, men and children from around the world whose bodies are broken daily in physical labor and/or sexual exploitation. More than just a Lenten project, the “Broken for You” campaign sought to raise awareness of the evils of human trafficking, and create a spirituality of dignity and fullness of life for all people.
The Thank Offering funded much of the “Broken for You” anti-human trafficking working group that met twice during 2014 and 2015. This group met once in Hannover, Germany, to produce the Lenten project and then again in El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico, to meet with churches and groups working with survivors of human trafficking. The grant also allowed the group to vision for 2016 and 2017 on resources and actions that the global church and local churches can take against trafficking.
Human trafficking is an intentional trade, and no country is exempt. It is fed by economic systems that place values on people based on gender, race, sexuality and status. The value is not on human beings’ lives, but on their bodies, in a market that is anything but free and anything but fair.
Christians around the world gather at the Communion table to celebrate Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. We celebrate Christ’s willing sacrifice, and the offering of his own body: “broken for you.” Christ gave himself freely so that we all might be free. However, there are many who are not free and who do not give their bodies freely. Many of these individuals are the “least of these”: children or people who are poor, downtrodden or exploited. They are trapped in systems that commodify people’s bodies.
The Accra Confession calls upon Reformed Christians around the world to engage injustices in the world as part of their faith in Jesus Christ. The Accra Confession states: “The root causes of massive threats to life are above all the product of an unjust economic system defended and protected by political and military might. Economic systems are a matter of life or death.”
The grant funded raising awareness of the blight of human trafficking around the world, but it also allowed the working group to listen to survivors of human trafficking, adjusting resources and approaches to meet the needs of individuals who escaped trafficking.
*The Accra Confession was written in 2004 by the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. In the 2011–2012 Horizons Bible study, Confessing the Beatitudes, Margaret Aymer referenced this contemporary confession as a model for faithfully responding to our world.