Salvation Army Leaders Bring Social Justice to the Fore at World Youth Convention

The head of the Salvation Army Women’s Ministries urged more than 1,000 young leaders over the weekend to join the fight against human trafficking and reminded them to join in the upcoming day of prayer for victims of the sex-slave trade.

Commissioner Helen Clifton, who titled her message “A Wake Up Call,” reminded the delegates attending the Salvation Army’s World Youth Convention on Saturday that the evil of human trafficking is extremely complex to combat because it is intertwined with a huge variety of industries including pornography and sex clubs.

“We need to be wiser and better trained, but without losing the deep passion for those who have lost their innocence and succumbed to what is a sad and lonely life,” said Clifton on the fourth day of the five-day gathering, as reported by her evangelical church body.

“The work,” she added, “involves prevention, prosecution, protection and prayer.”

And Clifton said part of the wake up call the world needs is for people everywhere to do all they can to care for others.

Though the Salvation Army has been involved in the fight against human trafficking since its beginnings 145 years ago, Clifton has been responsible for bringing it to the top of the organization’s social justice agenda in recent years.

During her message Saturday morning, Clifton shared with the delegates a number of disturbing stories and statistics. She also reminded them of the call to prayer issued by the Salvation Army's international leader, General Shaw Clifton, who designated Sept. 26 as this year's date to pray for sex-slave trade victims.

"Sex trade trafficking is still a gross offense upon the earth," the call issued last month stated. "Please use this weekend to raise awareness, raise your voices and raise funds against this outrage."

Following Commissioner Clifton, Commissioner Christine MacMillan, the director of the Salvation Army’s International Social Justice Commission (ISJC), addressed the convention via DVD.

In her remarks, MacMillan referred to today's times as desperate and said many countries have terribly oppressive laws that punish women victims instead of the men perpetrating evil.

“Our journey of faith needs to be disturbed by all these injustices in the world. If it isn’t then our hearts are either numb or hardened and we need God to renew our sensitivity,” the commissioner declared.

She said the potential of the 1,000 convention delegates to reach into the world and make a positive difference is phenomenal, but reminded them also that they need to be aware it can be a tough road to travel.

“You won’t be popular when you start to tackle social justice issues but it is a vital work because we need to influence the world by teaching everyone how to share so they can enter into loving relationships, “ MacMillan added.

Following MacMillan’s message, ISJC assistant director Lieut-Colonel Geanette Seymour took to the platform and summed up the ISJC message by reminding delegates of the importance of action.

“We have come from the east and the west to this convention but we need to go beyond the talk, there is a need to love, understand and to share,” she exhorted.

The World Youth Convention, which took place in Stockholm, Sweden, concluded Sunday.