World Relief Calls Attention to 'Invisible Children' During Christmas

Human trafficking is being pressed on all sides within the United States, which recently passed legislation in the Senate to strengthen laws against the perpetrators of human slavery and to combat the domestic sex trade industry.

With overwhelming votes from both the House and Senate, the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005, authored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), is on its way to becoming law and protecting the hundreds of thousands of women and children who are victimized each year.

"With a crime as abhorrent as human trafficking, it is essential that the United States takes the lead and that includes within our own borders," said Smith. "We must work to target the criminals – slaveholders – who force these young children and women into unimaginable horrors."

Meanwhile, children in countries that have yet to pick up speed on the trafficking crime continue to be "easy prey for predators," as the international relief organization World Relief called it.

Every year, an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked for sexual exploitation, according to the 2006 UNICEF State of the World's Children report – Excluded and Invisible – and many children and families remain unaware of the dangers of trafficking.

"Let's say that a girl does not eat for a day," said Hubert Morquette, World Relief country director of Haiti, describing a common scenario. "She is hungry but she will survive. However, the next day, she has nothing to eat. Now, she has gone two days without food. A married man asks her, 'Can I take you to a restaurant?' She will not say 'no.' The next day, he offers to buy her clothes… a nice dress. Do you think she will say 'no'? Before long, she is his mistress. She has become dependent on him for food and clothing."

"It makes me want to respond with the churches… to show these children there is hope," he added.

World Relief has been mobilizing and equipping churches in various countries, including Haiti, Burkina Faso, and Port-au-Prince, to protect the victims of the modern day human slavery.

In the latter country, World Relief has been working with a grassroots network of 30 evangelical churches, building a support framework for children at risk and providing food and refuge.

As the world celebrates Christmas at this time, the relief organization calls attention to the "invisible children."

"During this time of year, we remember the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior," said a released statement by World Relief. "We reflect on the hope and joy that we find in His coming to earth. This hope and joy was intended for all – let’s not forget the 'invisible children' among us."