Human trafficking is a crime against humanity that, sadly, still flourishes. Ending this crime is the tikkun olam mission of Temple Emanu-El Beth Sholom, Montreal. Peggy Sakow and other members of the Temple Committee Against Human Trafficking and Interfaith Coalition were profoundly generous in their encouragement, guidance and support of crafting this prayer. Here are eight facts you should know about the sex trade. To listen along as you read, click on the triangle in the bar below. The text follows.
Against Human Trafficking
G-d of the prisoner,
G-d of the slave and the captive,
The voice of suffering echoes across the land.
Lonely weeping in a night that never ends.
Are sold like coal
To be burned and discarded,
Traded like empty boxcars,
To haul unbearable loads of
Cruelty and degradation.
Are kidnapped and conned,
Used like empty vessels,
Their bodies abused and violated,
Their hearts and souls assaulted.
Source of comfort,
Rock of love and truth,
You call upon us to stand
In the name of justice and freedom:
To witness against human life
Treated as chattel,
To fight those who
Trade human beings as property,
To muster our power and energy
Against this force of evil.
Bless those who dedicate their lives to human rescue.
Grant them the fortitude to battle in the name
Of the unknown, the unseen,
Those who have been forgotten.
May the work of their hands never falter
Nor despair deter them from their holy calling.
Bless those in human bondage with hope and courage.
Grant them the strength and fortitude
To face the shames and tyrannies forced upon them.
Hasten their release.
Grant them lives of health and prosperity,
Joy and peace.
Blessed are You, G-d of All Being,
Who summons us to liberate the oppressed.
© 2011 Alden Solovy and http://www.tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: Other prayers in this series include “Against Poverty” and “Against Tyranny.” In January this prayer was used by the ATZUM Task Force on Human Trafficking http://www.tfht.org/. TFHT was headed to Israel to lobby for criminalizing the act of buying sex. The demand for paid sex fuels the crime of human trafficking. As part of the mission send off, Rabbi Gary Bretton-Granatoor of Congregation Da’at Elohim in New York City read it at Friday night services. Here’s a link to Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Amazingly, there is one state in the U.S. that has not criminalized human trafficking, West Virginia. Please consider adding this prayer to your Passover seder.
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