Today marks the 6th Annual European Union Anti-Trafficking Day. In previous posts I have spoken about the injustice of human trafficking worldwide. More recently I have focused my attention on the situation in Europe, primarily Italy. I have found that of the victims who are trafficked into Europe, 90% are brought for sexual exploitation (as opposed to labor, domestic servitude, and other forms of trafficking). 25% of those who are trafficked across international borders are from mainland Europe.

In Italy alone, about 40,000 victims are exploited sexually (Transcrime Joint Research Centre on Transnational Crime) making it an 850 Million dollar business (EUROPOL). Of those who are victims, the majority being exploited in Italy come from Nigeria, Romania and Morocco and the UN estimates that 8,000-10,000 Nigerian women are trafficked into prostitution in Italy every year.

As a new resident of Italy I have become invested in what can be done to help those exploited within its borders. I presented a tentative plan to the OM Italy team about how they could develop an anti-trafficking ministry to the victims in our region. I proposed that the ministry would develop in 3 main phases over the next few years: Phase One: Prayer & Preparation, Phase Two: Street Work & Short-Term Outreach, and Phase 3: After-Care. The plan was well received and the leadership team has commissioned me to move forward with Phase One! So, this means that over the course of the next year I will focus on working to develop this ministry by leading a regular time of prayer for the ministry, further researching the situation in Italy, networking with others in the area who are involved in similar work, and beginning to educate the church here about the issue of human trafficking. It has been exciting to see God continue to direct and equip me to pursue this ministry!

On this 6th EU Anti-Trafficking Day I am joining a call to prayer initiated by the European Freedom Network. Will you join me in combatting these injustices intentionally through pray for the next 40 Days? The EFN has provided an informative daily prayer guide in 3 formats that you can follow along with me as we ask God for His intervention to end the exploitation of victims in Europe. As Dietrich Bonhoeffer once stated, “We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice; we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.” The best position we can be in to do that is on our knees.

In His grip,

Erika Tello