A Conversation About Human Trafficking

Major Irene C. Norman and Raissa Di Caterina conduct a mini conference.

Major Irene C. Norman and Raissa Di Caterina conduct a mini conference.

When I learned about human trafficking, I was a high school student. I noticed a Salvation Army campaign in Brazil during the World Cup. The Army was front and center in bringing awareness to the high rate of human and sexual trafficking that typically occurs during major sporting events.

As a child of officers, I was aware of the social issues occurring in my community. However, this anti–trafficking campaign caused me to realize how little I actually knew about this and other global ills.

In the United States, the Army has many rehabilitation centers and shelters. These centers focus on alleviating the physical, psychological, and spiritual pain of being manipulated and exploited. Trafficking takes its toll and leaves many people depressed and often suicidal.

In the spring of 2015, I assisted the women’s ministries secretary and anti–trafficking coordinator at the Army’s Greater New York Division. I learned about the work the Army is doing nationally and internationally. I gave a presentation at a corps that summarized the Army’s anti–trafficking work. And I prepared information on the warning signs as well as provided anti–trafficking hotlines.

It becomes easier to ignore a “global” problem when we think that it is far away. In reality, forms of human trafficking are happening everywhere to an estimated 28 million people.

There is also a misconception that women are the only victims. In fact men, boys, and girls are also targets. They are trafficked to labor in fields, in homes, or in factories.

Being part of the solution

The first thing we can all do is to educate ourselves. There are abundant resources online that will help us understand what trafficking is, where it’s happening, and most important, how we can spot and stop it.

We can be aware of our surroundings and pay attention to suspicious activity, whether it’s in a nail salon or in someone’s home. We should be always willing to help a person who we think is a victim, whether it’s through immediate intervention or by calling a hotline operator. It’s better to try and be wrong, than to miss an opportunity to help a person in need.

by Raissa Di Caterina

Check out these additional resources:



An Inside Look

The Scent of Water:
Grace for Every Kind of Broken
By Naomi Zacharias
available on

Author Naomi Zacharias talks to women working in brothels in Mumbai, survivors of the Indonesian tsunami, a girl waiting for a life–saving operation, and victims of domestic violence. The pain Naomi feels in the face of these injustices reveals a common struggle that exists within us all. Rise with her as she wrestles with her identity, faces redemption, and then understands her own story and ultimate calling. The Scent of Water will show you that pain can also be beauty and each can be found in surprising places. As Zacharias searches for answers, she inspires hope that will empower you.

Following a career in finance, Naomi joined the staff of her father’s ministry, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), and helped launch Wellspring International, an initiative devoted to providing grants to international groups that help at–risk women and children.


2016 Anti–Trafficking Online Prayer Resources

Every year, The Salvation Army sets aside the last Sunday in September to focus on the plight of trafficked people. This year, it’s Sunday, September 25.

Resources for the International Day of Prayer for Victims of Human Trafficking 2016 are available on The Army’s website, A variety of posters featuring this year’s theme, “Speak Out—Give Hope!” are available in English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese. To create further translations locally, there’s also a poster without words. A Bible study, sermon outline, prayer, video resource, and materials for children enrich these resources.

Content from previous years is also available at

Major Brad Halse, Communications Secretary
The Salvation Army International Headquarters

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