United Against Human Trafficking proudly stands with our partners in Houston to establish justice for our clients – regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, ethnicity, religion, or ability. We are committed to cultivating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community and energized by growth in this movement to that end in recent years.
As a nonprofit leading coalition work in Houston, Texas and Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana, we are on the front lines of uniting people around a shared mission. This mission is not defined by a singular perspective, but a communal vision to end human trafficking. As an independent agency doing direct client services, we also know that our focus must be what is in the best interests of the client.
In June, the Freedom Church Alliance published a communication which contrasted courage and compromise using language we felt undermined the spirit of our movement in Houston.
At UAHT, we believe compassion and love – meeting a client where they are, regardless of where they are – is always in the best interests of the client. We affirm people of all faiths joining in this work, but call on our partners to recognize that only a trauma-informed, survivor-centered approach will move the needle in a client’s life.
We believe agencies informed by a Christian-centered mission can recognize that this belief – meeting people where they are, meeting their immediate needs, interacting with empathy considering experienced trauma – is not a compromise of one’s faith, but a right, just, and valid expression of that faith. Sometimes the courage FCA called us in to in their blog is found by keeping our personal preferences personal in order to help someone else. Said differently, courage can be found in not drawing a line in the sand because we are prioritizing helping someone else rather than fulfilling our own felt need to defend a religious belief.
When we serve trans clients, gay clients, or clients that have had an abortion with no strings attached we are doing the work we are called to do – whether we’re Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, or of another/no faith. This is true because the work is work in service to our clients, not in service to one’s individual faith.
Faith makes a great motivation in serving survivors of human trafficking but falls short of being a holistic strategy. We must employ the best practices of social work, and this includes not discriminating or seeking to change a client’s beliefs or identity. Instead, we do our best work when we honor their perspectives.
United Against Human Trafficking – as an independent agency nearly two decades old, serving as coalition leaders since 2007 – will continue to urge the movement forward toward greater inclusion. This is because we feel that love and compassion — regardless of individual preferences — is not compromise, it is courage.
Indeed, it’s the most sacred work of all.