Truth and Reconciliation: How Can We Help?
Trigger Warning: This article talks about sexual exploitation and indigenous trauma.
A pimp makes $280,000 per woman or child they traffic annually.
Sex trafficking is modern-day slavery.
The highest risk group to end up enslaved in sex trafficking are girls and women.
Indigenous people comprise 4% of Canada’s population and 50% of those exploited through sex trafficking.
As you’ve been reading these facts, I suspect you wanted to click away from this blog. It’s just too ugly. It upsets me, you think. What can I do about it?
Let’s think about the story of the good Samaritan. Are we coming alongside and helping the beaten and mistreated individual? Do we avoid the ugliness of human trafficking because it seems impossible that we could do anything that would make a difference? For those of us who follow Jesus, there is a call to help those being led away to death. Missing, Murdered, Indigenous Woman and Girls and Two-Spirited People (MMIWG2S) are a painful reminder of the racism and sexism that is very much a part of the Canadian legacy of colonization. When young people come from the reserve to an urban setting, the life skills they’ve learned on their reservation often don’t hold up to the intentional exploitation towards vulnerable individuals like them in the city.
I’ve had the opportunity to sit and talk with indigenous leaders about the harm done to them and their families through residential schools. I am always struck by what they share when I ask how I can help people participate in the hard work of Truth and Reconciliation. Their gracious response is an invitation to walk with them and learn about their experiences.
The MMIWG2S small group study by Defend Dignity takes you through 4 sessions, listening to an indigenous woman and her daughter, who is a social worker, share about Missing and Murdered Indigenous People. This study allows participants to walk with and learn from indigenous sisters. This video-based discussion and learning guide was produced at the request of pastors across the country who want their congregations to lean into the issues of sex trafficking and MMIWG2S people.
Let’s not be the Pharisee who crosses to the far side of the road to avoid having our comfortable and safe life disrupted by the reality that indigenous women live in grave danger in Canada.
This study is available to every small group. MMIWG2S isn’t a women’s issue; it’s a human issue, and as you take the time to listen and walk with people who understand what it is to be part of an at-risk people group in Canada – one of the best places in the world to live – I am confident the Holy Spirit will lead you to the specific reconciliation work that He has for you.
When we lean into seeing the truth and doing the work of reconciliation, we’re following in the footsteps of Jesus, the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Light, the ultimate reconciler between humankind and God.
Let’s take a moment to participate in the vision prayer for our denomination prayed in Cree by Howard Jolly, Executive Director of First Nations Alliance Churches of Canada (FNACC):
You may also be interested in …
- Read First Nations Alliance Churches of Canada Statement on Kamploops Indian Residential School (June 15, 2021)
- Watch “Building Bridges: Exploring Reconciliation with Indigenous Communities” interview with Kevin John (June 23, 2021)
- Resource List for Indigenous Communities (PDF download)
- “Expanded Worldview – A Journey Toward Radical Love” blog post (December 4, 2020)
- A Prayer for Canada Day with scripture from the First Nations Version, (June 30, 2023)