Human Trafficking Justice Niagara is Urging Parishes to Mark Freedom Sunday on February 19

By on December 19, 2022

Freedom Sunday, a global church movement, provides an opportunity for people to deepen their understanding of modern slavery and human trafficking in today’s world and in their own communities. The timing of Freedom Sunday corresponds with National Human Trafficking Awareness Day each year on February 22.

The Reverend Jody Balint, rector of St. James & St. Brendan Anglican Church in Port Colborne, is the chair of Human Trafficking Justice Niagara. Jody worked at Covenant House in Toronto for six years, a non-profit serving at-risk, homeless, and trafficked youth between the ages of 16 and 24. She is well aware of the real and potential impact of human trafficking on young people today, especially those experiencing homelessness.

Her homily from Freedom Sunday 2022 is just one of many liturgical resources assembled for parish use last year. In fact, further resources have been assembled for Freedom Sunday 2023 and will be available on the diocesan website niagaraanglican.ca.

The following key components of Human Trafficking Justice Niagara’s mandate were identified and received at diocesan synod in November 2022.

Prayer: Ensure that prayers and concern for human trafficking become an integral part of parish life, particularly on National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, February 22.

Education: Equip and inspire social justice facilitators and teams by developing and sharing current local resources and evidence-based knowledge about modern-day slavery, human trafficking, and forced labour.

Action: Provide facilitators, clergy, and lay leaders with the tools to ensure their parishes are able to assist local outreach supporting victims of human trafficking.

Advocacy: Model strong leadership and resolute political action to address human trafficking and modern-day slavery. Support parish and diocesan leaders in recognizing the presence of trafficking in our communities and ways to speak out against it.

If you are looking for ways to impact this justice issue in your area, please join Human Trafficking Justice Niagara.

For more information, contact the Reverend Jody Balint at [email protected].

  • Deirdre Pike

    Deirdre Pike is the diocese’s Justice and Outreach Program Consultant. She also serves on the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton, and is a regular contributor to the Hamilton Spectator.

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