UK Groups: Church Must Stand Against Trafficking

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A growing number of Christians in the United Kingdom have taken a stand against human trafficking by rescuing young children from some of the worst kinds of modern slavery.

Hope for Justice says children as young as three have been trafficked into the U.K. from China, Bangladesh and Nigeria for sex, drugs and domestic slavery. They report the situation has gotten worse, with a massive 50 percent increase in child trafficking in the U.K. in just two years.

Ben Cooley, founder of Hope for Justice, hosted "The Stand" event in Manchester to equip the church to help end human trafficking in Europe.

Cooley said he started the initiative after hearing about the plight of trafficked people around the world.

"I was horrified to find out that it was the fastest growing crime... that it was bigger now than it ever has been," he said. "And so like any young Christian I thought the church needs to know about this."

Cooley has seen how the children in the sex trade can be changed.

"The hardest thing about the work we do is the not rescuing them -- when you go into these dark, dingy, stinky places and you look into these girls eyes and you know that today isn't their day," he explained. "But it's the greatest joy when you look into their eyes and you are able to bring their freedom, you are able to restore hope and you are able to bring them into a new life."

The main speaker at The Stand was a well-known American social advocate, Tony Campolo, who highlighted the urgent need to fight for justice for these vulnerable children.

"It's shocking. I don't think most people are aware that there are more people enslaved today than at any other time in human history," he said. "They are saying that as many as 1,000 people are imported into the United States every month to be sexual slaves."

Campolo hopes the church will respond to the challenge and take a major stand in tackling human trafficking.

"I am hoping that they will go back to their churches and began to sensitize the people in the churches," he said. "I would hope that every church would have a committee set up to address this issue."

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Peter Wooding

Peter Wooding

CBN News United Kingdom Correspondent

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