REV SANDY MATHESON: We can all work to combat human trafficking

Jessica Gunjal will be speaking about human trafficking at St Paul's Church, Sarisbury Green.
Jessica Gunjal will be speaking about human trafficking at St Paul's Church, Sarisbury Green.

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The vicar of St Paul’s Church, Sarisbury Green says it may seem like a distant problem, but it’s not.

One of the issues that has been thrust into the spotlight over the past few years is human trafficking.

We’ve become more aware that millions of people worldwide are forced to work for little or no pay, or are sexually or financially exploited in ways that we wouldn’t tolerate if it involved our families or friends.

It might surprise you to hear that India – a relatively developed country – is home to around 18 million of the approximately 40 million people who are held in some form of modern slavery around the world today.

In Mumbai alone, almost 3,000 girls under the age of consent went missing in the last six months of 2017 – many are presumed to have been trafficked and sold. Around 40 per cent of commercial sex workers in Mumbai were identified as borderline minors.

I know a little about this because my brother Andy lives in Mumbai and works with a charity that helps these people.

Oasis India aims to prevent this happening, and to rehabilitate and reintegrate the victims with their families.

For 20 years, they’ve been working in one of the largest red light areas in Asia and have helped more than 1,000 women to leave abusive situations and to start a new life.

Next Tuesday, we’ll hear a bit more about this in St Paul’s Church, in Sarisbury Green. We’ll welcome Jessica Gunjal, who has been working in Mumbai since 2003. She has helped many girls who have been caught up in human trafficking.

Jessica will be speaking after our regular bring-and-share lunch – bring something to eat and share it with others – from midday.

It’s a great opportunity to hear a first-hand account of what really happens in these situations.

We’ll also be considering what we as Christians, and as others who are concerned about this, can do to help.

It might seem like a distant problem in a far-off country, but we know that the demand for sex workers includes people travelling from the UK.

Why not join us to find out more and see if you can help to combat this horrific issue.

St Paul’s Church is in Barnes Lane, Sarisbury Green.

Go to spsg.org.uk.