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“Exploitation happens under our noses”

‘Don’t shut your eyes’ is the new initiative of the European Freedom Network. “When we see a child begging at a time when the child should be in school, why do we walk by?”

AUTHOR Joel Forster , Evangelical Focus BRUSSELS 13 SEPTEMBER 2016 15:06 h GMT+1
don Don't shut your eyes is the new initiative against human trafficking. / EFN

The new initiative of the European Freedom Network (EFN) calls all citizens to open their eyes to “see how human trafficking happens all around you.”

The promoters are calling Christians pray and fast this week.

On October 18th, EU Anti-trafficking Day, many will share the “Don’t shut your eyes” video on their social media profiles. More than 130 people have already joined the Thunderclap initiative.

Human trafficking and other forms of exploitation are all around us, the EFN explains on the 'Don't shut your eyes' website.

“Victims may be washing your car, painting your nails, picking your food, repairing your home, begging, working in prostitution or posing in the pornographic photo.”

“When we see a child begging at a time when the child should be in school, why do we walk by?”, board member Julia Doxat-Purser told Evangelical Focus. Learn more about the vision behind the project in the following interview.


Julia Doxat-Purser of the EFN team.

Question. In which specific ways are men and women "shuting their eyes" in Europe?

Answer. As the film shows, exploitation happens under our noses. As a society, we don’t look, we don’t ask questions, we don’t think things can change.  When we are offered a service, e.g. to have our car hand washed, and it’s really cheap, and the person washing the car doesn’t have suitable clothes to protect him/her, and he/she doesn’t look happy, why doesn’t an alarm bell ring? 

Especially when we see a child begging at a time when the child should be in school, why do we walk by? Something is obviously very wrong. There’s a dysfunctional family situation at the very least, and possibly human trafficking. 

We believe that people care, that they would want exploitation to stop. But many of us have become blind to the warning signs, we simply accept that child begging etc. happens.  Let’s open our eyes.


Q. More than 2 million people are forced into prostitution in Europe. How can we help our neighbours to understand the tragedy this is?

A. Women, men, and children in prostitution are human beings just like us. No one dreams of doing this work. Prostitution is exploitative and psychologically and physically damaging. And most prostitution is forced prostitution, with the force caused by poverty, addiction, an abusive partner, the damage of childhood neglect, a trafficker. We would be delighted if people would find the courage to understand more about the reality of prostitution.Connect with EFN partner projects or others who compassionately reach out to help prostituted individuals to journey towards freedom. Ask them to tell you about the situation near you and of stories of exploitation.


Q. Why do you promote a cause like this?

A. Every single human being is precious to God and made in His image. He wants all to be free to worship Him and to live in freedom as the people He intended them to be.

The Bible makes it absolutely clear that He despises the exploitation of the vulnerable and calls on His Church to bring freedom. That is why the European Freedom Network’s partners work so hard to prevent trafficking, to reach out to those who are being exploited, to help them in their journey to freedom and to speak both to politicians and to society so that Europe becomes a place where exploitation is not possible.


The European Freedom Network aims to “see a world free of human trafficking and exploitation, where every person has the opportunity to live in the freedom that God intends and Jesus gives.” They facilitate and encourage co-operation and effective action between partners and assist others to be a voice capable of addressing the issues of human trafficking and commercial exploitation in public arenas at all levels.

Follow the European Freedom Network visiting their website, Facebook and Twitter.




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EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.