Prayer. Care. Learning. Connection.
These are just a few focal points of the recent Hands that Heal training for caregivers of trafficking survivors in Southeast Asia. Hands that Heal is a comprehensive, Christian curriculum designed to train current and future caregivers of trafficking survivors. Thirty-five participants came from 21 organizations and churches from three different countries.
“I see this training giving excellent tools to caregiver teams and aftercare programs,” says Debbie, an OC worker, key coordinator, and a trainer at the event. “Aftercare is not a formula. Each team needs to engage in conversation to discover how they will give comprehensive care to their clients.”
Debbie is the cofounder and consultant of Preventing Exploitation Actively Restoring Lives (PEARL). PEARL is a grassroots anti-trafficking group located in SE Asia.
Educational and Prayerful Training
The Hands that Heal training is thorough, covering understanding the needs of survivors in all areas — physical, psychological, spiritual, and social. It gives a biblical framework of a Christian response to human trafficking and addresses cultural issues in trafficking and trauma.
This training did more than focus on academics. It, also, centered on prayer. Each participant spent time prayer walking through “red light” districts. Walking through these areas is important for prayer and the development of a community assessment.
“The ‘Community Assessment’ unit provides organizations excellent tools to truly understand, from the ground level, a community’s needs and resources so they can accurately address the issues,” Debbie says.
People are the Focus
The training focused on people — hearing testimony from three trafficking survivors who are now thriving.
“Mrs. S is about 4’9” tall with a fighting spirit of a giant,” Debbie says. “After her life-threatening exploitive labor trafficking experience and death-threatening perilous escape on the bottom of a small cargo boat, she became a lawyer to fight for migrant workers’ case rights.”
Ww experienced a variety of violent and harsh employers in Asia and the Middle East. Now she leads a migrant workers’ empowerment coalition.
“Though neither had to endure the horrors of sex trafficking, they know the horrors of captivity and slavery,” Debbie says. “Through God’s grace, they are overcomers, and they are effectively helping others.”
Participants also interacted with women trapped in the commercial sex trade industry.
“Almost everyone from each team had heart-wrenching stories,” Debbie says. “Some girls/women let us pray with them. Some didn’t. In many moments, it just wasn’t a practical thing to do. Even so, we prayed as we walked. Pray for God to multiply and empower every prayer in every instant that we passed by these women and the men who controlled them.”
Networking for Better Care
A critical piece to effective aftercare is networking and partnership, which was another focus of the event.
People working together is essential to successful aftercare. “The networking between providers is essential as human trafficking can cross regional and country borders,” Debbie says.
One participant says: “I had no idea so many people cared about the topic. I made many new friends who I can continue to partner with.”
Trauma-Informed Work Environment
Another objective was to create a trauma-informed work environment for at-risk individuals and sex-trafficked survivors. This was inspired by a Freedom Business Alliance (FBA) partnership.
“I see the FBA trauma-informed workplace piece as a necessary part to bridge a gap often experienced by survivors after leaving the security of a structured program,” Debbie says.
Pray with One Challenge
- Pray each representative will return to their areas and teach the material to their individual teams with effective outcomes.
- Please pray for the five attendees who do not know Christ. He knows their names. They come from different religions and have different backstories.
- Pray for the Lord to be with these caregivers. They experience a lot that challenges their physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual health and well-being. Pray for strength and peace in the work they do.