Open your umbrellas and intercept the traffickers

Special to The Log
The Destin United Methodist Women open umbrellas to raise awareness of human trafficking. On Feb. 7, Super Bowl Sunday, the United Methodist Women will surround Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., to bring awareness to human trafficking as per the enclosed article. On that day there will also be special awareness in our church services at Destin United Methodist Church.

On Sunday, Feb. 7, the Super Bowl will take place at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. And like any big sporting event, a game like this intensifies the space where human trafficking can occur.

That's why United Methodist Women has asked members to join the Intercept the Traffickers photo campaign and open your umbrellas to raise awareness of human trafficking. Thousands will travel to the San Francisco Bay Area to take part in Super Bowl festivities. Among the travelers will be those arriving by force, fraud, or coercion —they will not be there of their own free will, but as victims of human trafficking.

The Super Bowl ranks second only to Thanksgiving as the day on which Americans consume the most food, and some of those who are trafficked will be serving food in restaurants or at catered parties related to the Super Bowl. Others will clean hotel rooms, wash dishes, tidy nail salons, deliver dry cleaning, or wash windows. Some will be trafficked as sex workers for escort services or in "gentlemen's" clubs.

To express our belief that we can help survivors of human trafficking live as whole persons, we invite you to join us by Opening an Umbrella to form a virtual line of defense around Levi's Stadium, to prevent and protect those who may be victimized by human trafficking.

If you plan to be in the San Francisco Bay Area for the Super Bowl, we hope you will join us as we open umbrellas together on the streets of San Francisco and all around the Bay Area. If you aren't traveling to Levi's Stadium this Super Bowl season, you can still be a part of our umbrella line of defense.

United Methodist Women members are called to listen to the mandate of our faith to help the vulnerable. Between now and Jan. 29, take a picture of your United Methodist Women's group holding umbrellas together with letters spelling out, "We are United Methodist Women opening umbrellas to intercept human trafficking." The photo of your umbrellas will be connected to others we receive, and you will be part of our Umbrella Line of Defense around the stadium. In your neighborhood, at church, in the grocery store, and at work, become a part of our circle of protection and prevention to intercept human trafficking.

The 800,000 members of United Methodist Women can open umbrellas that shut down the traffickers and embrace survivors. What a powerful statement of our ongoing work to say we can form the line of defense to intercept human trafficking, wherever it exists in the world! In your church, the store, at work, Let's Open Our Umbrellas.