MCC And Human Trafficking—Why?

by James Rowe

Why are members of Metropolitan Community Churches joining the effort to stop human trafficking and slavery?

First, we care about all human beings. When anyone is oppressed, we still have work to do.

Second, being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer adds to being vulnerable to exploitation and to the possibility of losing our freedom through human trafficking.

Close to 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ. More than a third of the entire homeless population is under 24 years old, and half report sexual abuse and violence as motivations for running away.

Our youth can easily become the targets of human traffickers. They meet a “kind” older person, or even a peer, in a mall who offers them dinner. The next thing they know, they are drugged and in a system of forced prostitution. With damaged self-worth to begin with, and no one to turn to for help, they are deeply vulnerable.

Within 48 hours of being on the street, 1 in 3 homeless teens is recruited for the sex-trade.

This is a global issue. MCC works in Eastern Europe where being openly gay is very dangerous. In one instance, young gay men from Hungary were lured with dreams of quick money. The Miami Herald reported, “the young men were forced to live in a cramped one-bedroom apartment while performing sex acts around the clock, sometimes with johns, other times on live web cameras, according to the arrest warrant. Up to eight men lived and worked in the apartment.”

“More than 27 million people suffer under forced labor and sexual servitude in over 165 countries around the world, including the United States,” said Senator Bob Corker. “…[M]odern slavery is a crime of opportunity that thrives where enforcement is weak, so raising the risk of prosecution can achieve significant results.”

Senator Corker is a co-sponsor of legislation that has the potential to build bridges around the world to help end exploitation. The End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015 is a bi-partisan effort to help law enforcement officials prosecute these crimes.

Slavery and human trafficking touches all of us—including LGBTQ people—and must be stopped! Join with MCC members to spread the word on this freedom movement. Contact your congresspersons and urge them to support the legislation.

The initiative will fund programs outside the United States that:

  • Contribute to the freeing and sustainable recovery of victims of modern slavery, prevent individuals from being enslaved, and enforce laws to punish individual and corporate perpetrators of modern slavery;
  • Set out clear, defined goals and outcomes that can be empirically measured; and
  • Achieve a measurable 50 percent reduction of modern slavery in targeted populations.

Click here for the bill text and here for a summary of the legislation.