The first meeting of The Salvation Army's International Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force was held in London on 7 July 2015. The task force has been appointed by the Chief of the Staff (Commissioner William Roberts), who defined its purpose to be 'promoting, encouraging, supporting and coordinating an anti-human trafficking response within The Salvation Army around the world'.
All 15 members of the task force attended the first meeting, which was held following the Boundless international congress. Responsibility for coordinating anti-human trafficking strategy across The Salvation Army rests with the International Social Justice Commission, whose deputy director – Lieut-Colonel Eirwen Pallant – has been appointed to chair the task force.
The other members are: Commissioner Nancy Roberts (World Secretary for Women's Ministries, International Headquarters),
Major Heather Grinsted (Middle East Region),
Lieut-Colonel Marieke Venter (Bangladesh Command)
, Commissioner Nemkhanching (IHQ)
, Captain Andrews Christian (India Western Territory),
Lieut-Colonel Ardis Fuge (USA National Headquarters),
Lieut-Colonel Sara Chagas (Mexico Territory),
Major Lenah Jwili (Southern Africa Territory),
Commissioner Florence Malabi (IHQ),
Commissioner Dorita Wainwright (IHQ), Major Estelle Blake (Italy and Greece Command),
Ms Anne Gregora (United Kingdom Territory with the Republic of Ireland),
Mr Ben Gilbert (IHQ) and Major Bong Salcedo (The Philippines Territory).
Commissioner Silvia Cox (World President of Women's Ministries) gave a keynote address in which she highlighted that The Salvation Army's response to human trafficking is faith inspired and that – in order to combat this social evil – Salvationists and colleagues around the world need to work together. She told task force members: 'Our mobilisation against this terrible evil comes because of our belief that holiness and social justice are linked, they are in our DNA as a Salvation Army movement. We have a heritage, we have the vision of the world for Christ, and we believe that salvation means restoration into the image of Christ, through the blood of Jesus on the Cross. All this has pushed us to “do something” about it.'
The commissioner emphasised the importance of using all possible opportunities to raise awareness and mobilise a global Salvation Army response to human trafficking. She noted the importance of accurate collection of response data and sharing information on training, programme response and resources.
Making reference to Luke 4:18–19, Commissioner Cox concluded her address by reminding task force members that 'the mission of Jesus – which is also our mission – was to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free the oppressed and to announce that the time has come when the Lord will save his people'.
The meeting heard from each member of the task force on three key areas:
• In my experience, The Salvation Army is effective in anti-human trafficking work when …
• In my experience, the most useful resources in developing and sustaining anti-human trafficking work are …
• The Salvation Army can be more effective in anti-human trafficking work if …
Recurrent themes were identified. The task force will incorporate this learning into a strategy to enable The Salvation Army around the world to be more effective in the challenge of combatting human trafficking.