At the IJM Orlando Prayer Gathering, we got to hear about the work that’s happening to end slavery and we had the opportunity to pray for some specific issues IJM is facing around the world.
Whether or not you were able to make it, these are the things that were prayed for at the event and we’re putting them here so we can continue to pray—on our own, in groups, as you drive, when you eat, etc.. Prayer is not the least we can do; it’s the most we can do, to petition God to make right the things around us that are wrong and broken.
So, these are the things...
Pray for | Forced Labor Slavery/labor Trafficking
Pray that 2017 will be a year of rejoicing—with many children set free, restored, and flourishing. [As of May, 54 children have been rescued, including 30 children rescued in April in IJM Ghana’s largest rescue yet!]
Pray for resilience for the team. Our casework is rapidly multiplying, especially for aftercare as they see to the restoration of the children. Pray for increased capacity and resources for shelters to care for children rescued off the lake, and pray that the Church in Ghana would grasp God’s heart for justice and take ownership of the problem, specifically opening shelters to care for victims.
IJM is responding to a massive need by opening an office in Bangkok, Thailand, that will rescue men, women, and children from labor trafficking in the Thai seafood industry. Please pray that God would give IJM favor as we seek to rescue and restore victims of trafficking to freedom, restrain the traffickers perpetrating this cycle of violence and exploitation, and strengthen public justice systems. Since many trafficking victims are recruited from different countries, we will be building new relationships not just with Thai authorities, but also with law enforcement agencies in neighboring countries and global seafood retailers to help end slavery.
Because of attendees’ prayers at our 2016 Global Prayer Gathering, our Bangalore team saw five criminals convicted for slavery-related offenses in the last year. These cases often take several years to reach a judgment because hearings are frequently delayed and there are not enough judges or prosecutors, so we are very grateful to see justice delivered. We believe these convictions have sent a strong message to the community that criminals can no longer exploit the poor with impunity. Please pray for appropriate court verdicts in four cases that are currently close to convictions this year. Please pray that we will see these cases move through the court systems efficiently and that justice would be secured.
Please pray for the IJM Bangalore investigations team as they search for victims of labor trafficking in our project area. Slavery exists even in the middle of Bangalore city, but finding victims is incredibly difficult, dangerous, and intense. Our investigations team needs God’s leading in 2017 to find suffering in violence across the city of Bangalore and its surrounding areas, so we can bring rescue and relief.
Pray About | Commercial Sex Trafficking of Children (Or “Traditional Sex Trafficking”)
In previous years, IJM Mumbai has been directly involved in initiating the work of justice with the police against sex trafficking. We now pray that, through all our efforts of capacity building, guiding, and supporting the police to rescue victims, they will proactively and independently investigate trafficking networks and secure charges against suspected perpetrators on their own. Please pray that the police, prosecutors, and social services will coordinate together to make the whole system more efficient and protect even more girls from trafficking.
Currently, aftercare shelter homes and protection agencies in India struggle with a lack of infrastructure and trauma-sensitive social workers. A sound system of social services is integral for successful restoration of survivors of trafficking. Let us pray that social services will provide improved quality of care to survivors of trafficking in Mumbai.
In July of last year, we rejoiced when, for the first time for our office, one of the survivors we have the privilege of serving reached “Restoration” —a life of dignity and health, and free from exploitation. Our psychologists and social workers invest significant time in the life of each survivor, bringing to bear services to help them complete their education and economic empowerment, receive the therapy they need to heal from trauma, and develop healthy relationships with family members who can come alongside them in their healing. This path is long, but we’re committed to it for each survivor. And since last July, we’ve had 14 other survivors reach restoration. We hope to see this number continue to increase in the future, but please continue to pray for the physical and emotional health of survivors, and for a robust network of aftercare providers across the country who are equipped to care for them.
Pray About | Cybersex Trafficking of Children
Please pray for adequate shelters and foster care for survivors of cybersex trafficking. We’re providing care and intervention for pre-pubescent children in this case type. We’ve rescued babies under two years old, and many cases involve siblings. There is a need now in the Philippines for specialized programs and shelters for these new survivors and aftercare homes willing to take whole sibling groups, not only girls or only boys. Pray that foster families and shelters would arise that can provide stable, long-term support and care for survivors, and pray that more service providers would be led and equipped to support the unique needs of these children. We are also still waiting for sufficient resources to be directed to open a permanent processing center for our clients, to be a safe space for them immediately after rescue.
Please pray for more police officers and police funding to be provided to the anti-trafficking unit so that the unit can conduct more cybersex trafficking investigations and operations across the Philippines. There is a national anti-trafficking unit, but it lacks bodies and money. For example, last year the primary unit IJM Cebu partnered with had only nine officers; now it is down to six officers.
Please pray for community action, as government agencies cannot operate alone in addressing cybersex trafficking of children. We need an environment that will support and encourage the government in combatting this crime. We need new partners to arise: communities, churches, and universities to take up the fight. We need communities to be appalled by what is happening and to see that cybersex trafficking is not a victimless or “virtual” crime. We need them to be aware of the issue and act. We need a cohesive plan that will stir action and create a lasting impact so Filipinos stop offering up children for online sexual exploitation.
Pray About | Sexual Violence Against Children
Pray that the Church in Guatemala would feel empowered to be advocates for at-risk children. Pray that they would be leaders who make an impact in their local communities to see the sexual violence against children come to an end in their country.
Pray for strength and wisdom for our aftercare caseworkers who face difficult and heavy challenges as they support children who have experienced sexual violence. Pray for the commitment of our clients and their families to persevere in therapy. Also pray for a smooth transition to a new Director of Aftercare this year.
Pray for the continued restoration of Yessica, who was raped by her own father from the time she was 11. When she was 14, Yessica became pregnant, and finally told other family members what had been happening to her. The family decided Yessica should have an abortion, and the procedure was painful and traumatic. Yessica became despondent, and in the words of our Aftercare worker, “She looked like a zombie. She would not lift her head to talk to you or even look you in the eye.” But here is where the miracle begins: Yessica began meeting with our Aftercare worker for therapy, and her mother encouraged her to go to church. Yessica says that the confidence of her mother, her aunt and uncle, her pastor, and the IJM social worker have given her comfort. Seeing Yessica today, you would never suspect the horror she has lived through. She has one of the brightest, most lively faces you will ever see. She wants to be a journalist, is very involved in her church, and appears to love every moment of life. This is the redemptive kingdom of God at work! This is what our good Father can do through the power of our prayers and the work of our hands.
POLICE ABUSE OF POWER | KENYA
Pray for the case of our colleague and friends—Willie, Joseph, and Josephat—who were murdered last summer. Pray that this case would be a breakthrough in the Kenyan justice system, and model for holding police accountable. The trial is expected to continue throughout this entire year.
Pray for our advocacy, that we would lead a unified and engaged coalition of partners who courageously demand political action, leading to the transformation of the police service in Kenya.
PROPERTY GRABBING | UGANDA
Pray for wisdom and creativity for the team as we begin new initiatives to change cultural norms that reinforce the exploitation of widows and orphans. Pray for a change of attitude toward women, particularly that Ugandans would see God’s heart for all—especially vulnerable groups.
Pray for God to raise up government partners who are willing to take a stand against violent attitudes toward women.
CITIZENSHIP RIGHTS | CHIANG MAI, THAILAND
Please pray that we can help inform villagers in our target areas about their rights. We want to mobilize Church leaders in these areas to move beyond discussion about citizens’ rights and into real engagement in their communities for the rights of citizens.
Please pray for the IJM citizenship team as we search for ways to ignite passion among government officials and create vision for them around the change they can make in Thailand regarding citizenship rights. Because of the amount of work that comes from the application approval process, government officials often have negative attitudes toward the process. We are praying for significant transformation among these officials and are seeking God’s wisdom for our team.
Thank you for praying and thank you for being willing to move toward brokenness despite how difficult and uncomfortable it can be. If you want to learn more about IJM and the work they’re doing, visit www.ijm.org.