Fighting Against Human Trafficking, One Girl at a Time – Seventh-day Adventist Church

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Andrew Colquhoun with girls from Western China. [Photo: Adventist Record]

In the early 2000s, Andrew Colquhoun and his wife, Julie, were working in the corporate world with a comfortable life in Australia. But in 2006 they vowed to dedicate the rest of their lives to help those trapped by poverty and injustice. Here they share how to keep fighting against human trafficking during the COVID-19 pandemic. —Editors

Measures introduced to fight the coronavirus pandemic have inadvertently helped fight another global epidemic — human trafficking. Captivating International founder Andrew Colquhoun said border closures — implemented to contain the spread of COVID-19 — have made it harder for human traffickers to conduct their activities. Still, the recent easing of restrictions is cause for renewed concern.

“The border closures would have at least slowed the pace of human trafficking significantly,” said Colquhoun, a member of Gold Coast Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in Queensland, Australia. “Even traffickers would be concerned about their safety, not wanting to catch COVID.”

But, as lockdowns are easing, Captivating staff are bracing themselves for a surge in activity over the next six months as the trade in human life resumes.

“Here in Australia we are all struggling, but the government introduced the JobKeeper program — there’s nothing like that in developing countries; people are on their own,” Colquhoun said. “People don’t put themselves out to be trafficked; they do it because they have no choice.”

Andrew Colquhoun (right) and his wife, Julie (second from right), with a microfinance group in the Philippines. [Photo: Adventist Record]

Back in the early 2000s, Colquhoun and his wife, Julie, were working in the corporate world, with good incomes and a beautiful home in Sydney. But in 2006 they took a step of faith and decided to change course, vowing to dedicate the rest of their lives to help those trapped by poverty and injustice.
Captivating International started in China, supporting at-risk girls in remote parts of the country. The charity then expanded its operation, focusing on human trafficking, to Nepal and the Philippines, where the numbers are truly staggering. In the Philippines, it’s estimated that more than 60,000 children will be trafficked and exploited this year, while in Nepal, around 20,000 women and girls will suffer the same fate.

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