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Human Trafficking Center

Code of Conduct

The HTC has created a code of conduct for religious institutions, faith communities and faith-based organizations for their work with survivors of forced labor, human trafficking and modern slavery.

Religious groups have long been vocal proponents in the U.S.-based movement against human trafficking and contemporary slavery. Religious commitments and motivations are a valuable resource in sustaining anti-trafficking work. There is a critical role for religious organizations, faith communities and faith-based organizations to play in bringing modern slavery to an end.


The HTC believes, however, that this role is not in defining the divine intent or imposing service to God. To the contrary, we believe that a plurality of perspectives — including religious perspectives — is freedom’s characteristic mark. Religious unanimity is not necessary for freeing people from trafficking situations. In fact, to insist on religious unanimity or religious orthodoxy in anti-trafficking work is morally unacceptable. Such an insistence is as unacceptable on the part of the U.S.’s federal anti-trafficking campaign as it is on the part of smaller, faith-based and non-governmental organizations.


For Religious institutions, faith communities and faith-based organizations for their work with survivors of forced labour, human trafficking and modern slavery:


1. Religious education and activities shall not be a compulsory aspect of the services provided to survivors of forced labour and human trafficking.


2. Conversations about religion and spirituality must always be initiated by trafficking survivors, not by anti-trafficking advocates or workers.


3. Anti-trafficking advocates and workers must respect the religious backgrounds of their clients, even when these backgrounds are different than their own.


4. Anti-trafficking advocates and workers will provide religious literature, training and instruction only when this is solicited by the trafficking survivor. These may never been offered by the organization provided primary services.


5. Pastoral counseling, religious based therapies, and spiritual direction are not a substitute for standard therapeutic models and should only be offered at the request of the trafficking survivor. Again, these may never be offered by the organization providing primary services.


Download: Code of Conduct

(copyright 2008, 2011)