Franklin Graham speaks out about human trafficking while on a trip to Southeast Asia
“One of the major problems here is human and sex trafficking,” Graham posted on his Facebook page. “Young people are promised jobs as a maid or in a factory or on a boat in the fishing industry, and they leave their home country with high hopes. Then the bosses take away their passports, don’t pay them, and they are entrapped in slavery. Young girls are sold to brothels. Pray that God’s people will be able to make a difference.”
Graham, who was joined on the trip by Fox News host Greta Van Susteren and her husband, John Coale, met with church leaders and traveled to remote border villages to minister to people. One mother told him that she hadn’t seen her son in eight years, since he was recruited to work in the fishing industry.
“It’s a form of slavery,” Graham said. “And this is happening today in 2015.”
In a Facebook post, Graham spoke out about one of the most common ways that Cambodian men are trafficked. “Ruthless fishing boat owners beat their workers unmercifully, and if they don’t produce, they are thrown overboard because the owners can go get another one. This is a very sad situation. Human beings should not be disposable.”
Samaritan’s Purse is focused on preventing the horrors of human trafficking in these vulnerable regions. Our staff provides education about the risks of accepting illegal jobs in fishing and other industries. We also offer income generation opportunities such as raising chickens or growing mushrooms. This combination of knowledge and financial resources equips at-risk communities to better protect themselves.
“Samaritan’s Purse has been working here for a number of years trying to help people that get caught up in this vicious cycle of human trafficking,” Graham said. “It breaks your heart. But we can do something about it. We can make a difference. Our team up here is making a difference.”
The trip also included visits to Myanmar and Vietnam.
In Myanmar, Graham met with church leaders to pray and discuss how Samaritan’s Purse can help meet needs for suffering people in their country. He also stopped by the Shwedagon Pagoda—the oldest Buddhist temple in the world—and said it was “a heartbreaking reminder of the urgent need to proclaim the message of salvation through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
While in Vietnam, Graham spent time with students at the renowned Hoa Sua vocational school, where Samaritan’s Purse provides scholarships and extracurricular activities for ethnic minorities. They can receive culinary training or learn sewing skills.
“What they are learning is invaluable vocational training that will change their lives, enabling them to provide for themselves and their families,” he said.
At another school in Hanoi, Graham and his group were treated to a concert by some of the students. The ministry provides assistance for disabled students at this school. Classes include music, English, and computer instruction.
Samaritan’s Purse has been working in Vietnam for well over a decade. Projects include medical care, education, orphan care, water and sanitation, livestock management, vocational training, and advancement for the disabled.
“Doors are slowly beginning to open to do more ministry here—pray that this will continue,” Graham said.
Graham emphasized the urgent need to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ to suffering people in this part of the world and asked for prayers that the doors of the Gospel will be opened. He quoted Zechariah 7:10: “Do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor, and let none of you devise evil against another in your heart.”