With the Academy Awards just around the corner and everyone abuzz about whether or not to boycott the Oscars, we took a moment to reflect on an interview we did last year with Mira Sorvino. In addition to being an Academy Award and Golden Globe winning actress, Sorvino is also a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, humanitarian, and scholar. Since 2009, she has served as the U.N. Goodwill Ambassador the Global Fight Against Human Trafficking as well as working with other non-profits to end human slavery. We sat down with Sorvino and talked about her faith and how it influences the work with human trafficking that she does.
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” Hebrews 2:14-15
Sorvino shares, “I pray a lot. I go to church whenever I can. I have four kids. I’m trying to raise them in my faith. My minister is a woman. She’s also my godmother. She’s an incredible lady. She guides me with a lot of spiritual aspirations. I try and ask God to use me as He sees fit, especially in the human trafficking work that I do…I work privately as an individual as an advocate and activist, but that’s something that is very connected to my faith because I feel like as a human being on this planet you tend to live selfishly so I just feel very strongly that you have to try and do something to help other people who are in need. Whatever strength God is according you is the way that you should serve. Anytime someone treats a human being as less than themselves, that burns me up and makes me kind of crazy and human slavery is one of the strongest expressions of that ill, that social ill that we have in the world today. I pray before I give my speeches, and I hope I’m doing God’s will with what I’m doing.”
An estimated 27 million men, women and children are in bondage across the globe. There are more slaves in the world today than at any other point in human history. Human trafficking is the illegal trade of human beings, mainly for the purposes of forced labor and sex trafficking. It is the world’s fastest growing criminal industry and affects every nation across the globe and in every setting urban, suburban and rural. According to the A21 Campaign, every 30 seconds, someone becomes a victim of modern-day slavery. The average age of a trafficking victim is 12 years old and unfortunately only 1-2% of victims are rescued. What many people don’t realize is that no one signs up to be a slave. Many people are recruited through seemingly legitimate businesses as hostesses, domestics and agricultural work.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
I don’t think you have to be a Christian to care about human trafficking,” says Sorvino. I don’t think you have to be a Christian to love people and to bring hope and inspiration…I don’t think you need to be a party to any of those belief systems to actually be moved and affected and driven to action…”
Regardless of what your stance is on the Academy Awards and Oscar boycott, there are many noble actors and actresses like Sorvino who are using their platform as an opportunity to bring about social justice. We look forward to hearing about the work that they do! God has given each of us gifts and talents so that we can help others. For some people that might mean helping with human trafficking for others it could be another cause.
- What are you passionate about? Find a ministry, organization or group that you can volunteer with. God has given you gifts and talents to help others. Whether it is web design, counseling, social media, or admin work, every non-profit has needs for volunteers to fill. If there isn’t anything locally, consider helping remotely or starting your own non-profit. Here are some groups doing great things with human trafficking: A21 Campaign, Polaris Project and International Justice Mission (IJM).
- Pray! The biggest way we can help with human trafficking is by praying. Pray for the decision makers that they would improve legislation on this issue. Pray for businesses that use slaves that they would be caught. Pray for the men, women and children being trafficked, that they would be set free. Pray for the law enforcement, that God would protect them and lead them to the captors. Pray for human trafficking agencies that God would provide the resources that they need to continue to do their work.
- See something, say something! If you notice an interaction between people that doesn’t seem right, call the authorities. Many victims will not come forward about their situation as a result of the fear and abuse from their trafficker or despair that they don’t feel like their situation will change even if it is reported. Here are some signs: malnutrition/dehydration, signs of rape/abuse, a child traveling with an adult that they don’t know the name of, a person that does not have any travel/identity documents, one person seems very nervous and the other person is answering all the questions, or one person is paying large sums of money and the other does not have any money. This list is not exhaustive. Do not approach the trafficker on your own. Alert the authorities, many of which have been trained to spot and deal with trafficking. We encourage you to check out groups like A21 and IJM as they have lots of resources.
To read our entire interview with Mira Sorvino click here.