Christian groups are marking Anti-Slavery Day in the U.K. with a call for action and prayers, given the huge increase in child victims in the last year.
The group Anti-Slavery, which monitors trafficking and slavery victims in the U.K., has calculated that there were 2,118 children identified as potential victims in Britain in 2017, which is a 66 percent increase from the year before.
"Despite these shocking numbers, the U.K. government does not have a coherent plan for preventing child trafficking, so many children only receive help once the harm is done and a criminal offence takes place, instead of preventing the offence in the first place," the group said.
"Britain also fails to adequately protect children identified as victims of trafficking or those at high risk, such as unaccompanied migrant children, who go missing from care at an alarmingly high rate, with a high risk of re-trafficking by their exploiters."
The campaign sheds light on the forced labor, forced sex, domestic servitude, criminal activity and organ harvesting that victims are subjected to.
Christian charity CARE called on believers to pray in order to highlight the plight of the more than 40.3 million people around the world who are trapped in modern slavery, with the majority of them being women and girls.
"Modern slavery robs people of their dignity, freedom and human rights and it has no place in our society. The sheer scale of the problem is frightening and many victims are hidden in plain sight. It's easy to feel overwhelmed at the scale of modern slavery and wonder how we can help to tackle it but we think prayer is a great place to start," said Louise Gleich, CARE's senior policy officer – human trafficking, according to Inspire magazine.
"We know prayer has the power to change things. If the church gets behind this issue and spends dedicated time this week praying for victims of modern slavery, just think of the amazing impact it would have," she added.
Gleich said that the if church would step up "and commit to pray for victims of modern slavery it would not only raise vital awareness about this crime but also send a powerful message to society about how the church supports the vulnerable in society."
The Salvation Army meanwhile suggested that one way Christians can help raise awareness is by getting a special edition #WeAreNotForSale temporary tattoo.
"In the past seven years, The Salvation Army has supported more than 7,000 adult victims of modern slavery in England and Wales. This Anti-Slavery Day I'm standing in solidarity with victims of this heinous crime to say #WeAreNotForSale," the group said, encouraging people to share the temporary tattoos with friends online.
"Trafficking and slavery is still happening to thousands of people across the U.K., and The Salvation Army needs our help to raise funds and awareness #AntiSlaveryDay2018 #WeAreNotForSale," it added.
The Salvation Army further explained that the barcode-style tattoos, proceeds for which go to its Victim Care Fund, are meant to stand in solidarity with survivors of modern slavery.
"When people are held as slaves, they are treated as objects that can be bought and sold, with the ways in which they are exploited limited only by the imagination of their trafficker," it noted.
"Victims are made to feel powerless, isolated, and tricked that there is no one who will help them."