242 – International Salvation Army: Social Justice Strategy

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Dr. Sandie Morgan and International Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking Response Coordinator Priscilla Santos discuss the new team that has been put in place in the Salvation Army organization. This sect of the International Social Justice Commission is responsible for a new approach by the Salvation Army to end human trafficking. The system they have put in place has created a network of people who are familiar with the issues their specific community face while having the resources, information, and connections of a global team present in over 130 countries.

Priscilla Santos

Priscilla Santos is The Salvation Army Social Justice Commission’s International Coordinator for Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Response.  And, Priscilla, is an Adjunct Professor at Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice where she teaches courses on justice & holistic survivor care. She obtained a Masters in Intercultural Studies, specializing in International Development & Children at Risk from Fuller Theological Seminary.

Key Points

  • The Salvation Army is in over 130 countries around the world.
  • The Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Response team is working in over 130  countries to connect people, information, and resources in the fight against human trafficking.
  • There is an International Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking Response Coordinator in every territory, adding up to around 90 coordinators.
  • These coordinators work together within one big network to help victims of trafficking.


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Dave [00:00:00] You’re listening to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast; this is episode number 242: International Salvation Army Social Justice Strategy.


Production Credits [00:00:10] Produced by Innovate Learning Maximizing Human Potential.


Dave [00:00:31] Welcome to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast. My name is Dave Stachowiak.


Sandie [00:00:36] And my name is Sandie Morgan.


Dave [00:00:39] And this is the show where we empower you to study the issues, be a voice, and make a difference in ending human trafficking. Sandie, you and I talk a lot about partnership on this podcast, and it’s been a central part of our work for many years, and one of the most important partners we have worked with over the years is the Salvation Army. And we’re so glad to welcome a friend back to the show, someone who’s been a leader in the space. We’re glad to have Priscilla Santos with us. Priscilla is the Salvation Army Social Justice Commission’s International Coordinator for Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Response. And Priscilla is an adjunct professor at Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice, where she teaches courses on justice and holistic survivor care. She obtained a master’s in intercultural studies specializing in international development and children at risk from Fuller Theological Seminary. Priscilla, so glad to have you back on the show.


Priscilla [00:01:36] Thank you so much for having me. It’s a joy to be here today.


Sandie [00:01:40] I was looking back at to see when the last time you were a guest. It was in May 2015 and we recorded a podcast about Mother’s Day and human trafficking. And it was one of those podcasts that just really grips your heart. So, I recommend that those who have never met Priscilla go back and listen to that. That’s podcast number 101. So, Priscilla, you’re in a new role and your title is so long. I’m so glad I already know you and I can just call you Priscilla. Tell us what the International Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Response Coordinator does.


Priscilla [00:02:24] Yeah. So, my new position is all of our International Social Justice Commission office, which is part of our international headquarters and our department is really to be the strategic advocacy voice for all things social justice and to really lift voices from those on the margins. And so, within that department now, they’ve created this role, which is the International Coordinator for Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Response. And my primary function of my new role is to oversee the implementation of our international strategy, to strengthen our response to trafficking all over the world.


Sandie [00:03:10] So let’s get a little bit better picture of what you mean by all over the world. How many countries is Salvation Army in?


Priscilla [00:03:19] Yeah, so we are in over 130 countries around the world.


Sandie [00:03:25] Wow. Wow. What an amazing platform to have influence and voice in 130 countries. That’s amazing. OK, so Salvation Army has a very long and deep history in fighting slavery. And when I looked at the new strategy, it’s called Fight for Freedom. Tell us a little bit about how it was developed.


Priscilla [00:05:02] Yeah, so kind of like you mentioned, fighting and trying to end human trafficking is something that the Salvation Army has been a part of before, even the term human trafficking was coined. So, for the listeners that don’t know, the Salvation Army started in 1865. And actually, our first encounter with advocating against trafficking happened in 1885. So very quickly after we started, and it was where we advocated to change the law for the age of consent from 16 to 18. It’s one of our historical stories Britain’s Maiden Tribute. But I think one of the things for us to realize is that the Salvation Army, that this is a part of our DNA. We have been doing this since the very beginning, even before. Again, the coined term was there for human trafficking. So, but more recently, we have approved and launched this international strategy because, throughout the hundreds of years that we have been working on the front lines, one of the things that could really be strengthened is our coordinated approach and our centralized approach, because one of the things that we realized was that we were doing so many amazing things all over the world, but perhaps we weren’t really talking together. One side of the world didn’t know what the other side was doing. And so really to create some standards of care, to create some promising practices among ourselves, we just launched this. It’s our international strategy. So, it’s the first time in our Salvation Army history that we have a strategy to help us all move forward together. So, it’s very exciting.


Sandie [00:05:54] So let’s think about that for just a moment. The idea that everyone’s going to be communicating, 130 different countries, that communication is going to be complicated.


Priscilla [00:06:08] Yeah.


Sandie [00:06:09] Yeah. I’m thinking. So, you speak two or three languages already. How are you going to manage communication with one hundred and thirty different countries?


Priscilla [00:06:20] Yeah, so we’re just in the beginning stages of it. But I’ll share with you just maybe one of our interventions for it. And what we are doing is that we are connecting all of our modern slavery and human trafficking coordinators into communities of practice within their own zone. So, let me share with you a little bit more. As of last week, we just finished completing appointing a modern slavery and human trafficking response coordinator in every territory that the Salvation Army has a presence in. And so, we have about 90 coordinators all over the world right now. So, this is an essentialized person to pay attention to connect with the local community, to start building more of a community approach action plan, because that’s something that’s really important to us. So now that we have these coordinators in place again, how do we begin kind of this coordination, as you mentioned? So, what we are doing is launching zonal communities of practice where each of those coordinators that are connected in the same zone are meeting on a quarterly basis as a network to share knowledge, to talk about what is happening, to share best practices, to hear from one another, to really build that strong connection with each other. And then once a year, we will all come together as a global communities of practice. So that’s one of our approaches right now for how to begin this coordination and kind of cross communicating.


Sandie [00:08:03] OK, so building those networks is what will strengthen the global response and having territorial or zonal, then they’re going to be able to have shared languages and shared experiences and culture maybe.


Priscilla [00:08:20] Yeah, exactly. And share even cross-cultural experience as well. So right now, we have European communities of practice. But what we’re seeing is that in Europe, there are so many victims that are coming from different countries in Africa. So, with the European communities of practice, we just had specialized training on who to contact in Africa when that victim wants to go back to their home country. So now they kind of have that connection that actually the Salvation Army, we do have people in those countries in Africa that could support that survivor kind of going back home. So, it’s really strengthening those networks, as you mentioned.


Sandie [00:09:06] So this is exciting because those Salvation Army networks already exist, and those places already existed. And now this is building them into a networked community. So, if I have a survivor that’s rescued here in Orange County, that is from Nigeria, there’s someone in Nigeria I can reach out to.


Priscilla [00:09:29] Yeah, exactly. And we’re really seeing that people are coming alive when they’re realizing this. And our communities of practice meeting where it’s the first time that they’re coming together as a network within our own organization. So, they’re seeing people in maybe in the same zone. So, Africa’s together with the Middle East. So, we’re seeing in our Africa communities of practice their faces light up when they realize that we have somebody in the Middle East that actually does aftercare with survivors of trafficking. So, it’s building that network.


Sandie [00:10:00] Wow. OK, so let’s look at the framework. I’m amused because you guys have extended the three P’s to eight P’s. Can you tell us what those eight P’s are? And it’s great. A mnemonic is an easy way for me to remember things. So, I’m not making a joke or anything.


Priscilla [00:10:19] Yeah. Yeah, no, absolutely. So, we’re calling it the Freedom Action Framework, and that includes prayer, prosecution, partnership, policy, proof, protection, prevention, and participation.


Sandie [00:10:38] So let’s start and give me like a description for a couple of sentences. But tell us what the Salvation Army role will be and particularly things like prosecution. Why should the Salvation Army care about that?


Priscilla [00:10:54] Yeah, for I guess we could start with prosecution since you just mentioned that one. But for prosecution are our vision and hope is to be able to continue to support survivors through the legal proceedings and at the same time really help to implement some restorative justice. So also working with the offenders and helping to restore a relationship between them and God and society as well. So, prosecution is a bit of a there’s a larger framework there for restorative justice and for working towards that.


Sandie [00:11:34] I’m hearing more and more people talk about restorative justice and we’re looking at the offenders. And that is a challenging aspect. So, I commend you. We are going to be talking about restorative justice at Ensure Justice in March 2021 and one of our favorites. I know you enjoy her as well, Judge Maria Hernandez. And then Steven Kim from Project Kinship are going to address. Guess what, that looks like restorative justice, so everybody is excited to see how that becomes a bigger part of the Salvation Army framework as well. All right, let’s move to the next P.


Priscilla [00:12:20] Yeah, so prayer is very foundational, so this prayer for us is an essential practice in every single level of response towards modern slavery and human trafficking response. So, whether we are working with the survivor on the front lines or whether we are meeting for a strategy meeting on how to respond on a regional or global level, prayer needs to be foundational as part of our response.


Sandie [00:12:52] And partnership.


Priscilla [00:12:54] Yeah, and so partnership is something that it’s just so important. So, we have to be ready to collaborate and network with others to achieve our goal. We are not meant to do this work in this field by ourselves. I think that every organization brings their own strengths, and we could really build upon our own strengths. So, we have to be ready to partner, to work together and to collaborate, to really strengthen and move this movement forward. I think that’s the only way forward is through partnership and collaboration.


Sandie [00:13:34] One of the strengths of the Salvation Army that I’ve observed living in other countries is how will they integrate in their community, and partnership isn’t just in their own church experience, but beyond that. For instance, in working in a Muslim country or another faith tradition, my Salvation Army partners have always been really engaged in supporting those already doing the work.


Priscilla [00:14:08] Yeah, exactly. And that’s part of it is coming alongside. Those are already leading those that are already participating in the work that you want to be a part of and joining them in it.


Sandie [00:14:19] Yes. And you just used another one of your P’s participation.


Priscilla [00:14:24] Yeah. Participation. So, this is one that’s more particular to the church side of the Salvation Army where we really feel, and we call our churches cores, and we really feel like every single one of our cores and churches is and should be a resource in responding to modern slavery and human trafficking because so often our cores are in communities where it’s really hard to get to. Maybe there’s not a lot of other services, there’s not a lot of organizations there. But we are there kind of like I mentioned, we are in over one hundred and thirty countries. So, we really want to build up our churches and our cores to be the presence of God to survivors in their local communities.


Sandie [00:15:13] So when you look at this from an asset development perspective, you take an existing opportunity and an existing community and strengthen that to build your network. That’s so much easier than starting from scratch. So, what about prevention? How are you going to manage that big? That’s it’s hard to nail down. What is your plan for prevention?


Priscilla [00:15:44] I think, though, one of our strengths in prevention is that we have international community projects all over the world in different developing countries. So, where we are actually addressing the root causes already when it comes to modern slavery and human trafficking. So, when we look at the root causes of trafficking, we think of gender inequality or we think of people experiencing poverty. So, we actually have already so many projects that are helping to alleviate some of those vulnerabilities. So, again, it’s kind of like you just mentioned, where we’re building capacity and we’re introducing this framework to those ongoing projects already to be able to further help those people that they’re serving to, not to fall into any further vulnerability to be trafficked.


Sandie [00:16:42] I think one of the things I love about doing education in the community is finding people who are already doing prevention work that I see as extremely valuable, but they don’t feel like they’re doing anti trafficking. And when you show them how they are contributing to the prevention piece; they add one more layer to what they’re already doing. And now they’re more aware and are able to equip the people that they’re working with to be able to identify when someone is trying to recruit children or the men in their community, whatever the. The situation is so prevention where you’re leveraging existing efforts is brilliant and saves a lot of money from investing and starting things all over.


Priscilla [00:17:32] Yeah, so some of the language that we use is what other social justice issues are intersected in the work that we’re doing. So, like looking at intersection with social justice and the work that we’re doing, rather than keeping anti-trafficking work so siloed or so separate from all the other work that we’re already doing. So, it really is adding the extra layer of education to our ongoing projects and programs on the ground. So, for instance, we have schools all over the world. So, what if we took our anti-trafficking framework and education into those schools instead of already starting new initiatives in that community already? So, it’s looking at what we’re already doing and expanding on that.


Sandie [00:18:21] That is brilliant. I love that. OK, so what about protection?


Priscilla [00:18:27] Yeah. So, protection is, of course, being the hands and feet of Jesus to those survivors that have been trafficked. So, what happens and being able to holistically serve them after they have been removed from their trafficking situation. So, looking at their physical, mental, emotional, relational and spiritual health is going to be important and really walking alongside a survivor as they move hopefully to a place where they are thriving back in their community.


Sandie [00:19:04] And there seems to be a strong connection between that and prosecution because if you don’t have a survivor with a lot of support, they’re not going to make the prosecution journey very easily.


Priscilla [00:19:18] Yeah, exactly.


Sandie [00:19:19] OK, what about policy? I love the word policy.


Priscilla [00:19:24] I know. And that’s one of your I feel like that’s one of your strengths, Sandie and Vanguard universities’ as well. So, policies for us are a bit of a dual meaning. So first we have to look at our internal policies and we have to look at ourselves. So, it’s creating internal policies that are going to advocate to reduce modern slavery and human trafficking within our own organization. So, looking at our own transparent chain supplies, creating policies that are really going to strengthen women equality within our own organization. So again, it’s looking like internal. And then at the same time, policy for us is also helping to mobilize those on the ground to create and to advocate for policies in their communities that are going to reduce modern slavery and human trafficking at the same time.


Sandie [00:20:21] And I think I’m going to be interested after. How long have you been in this job now?


Priscilla [00:20:27] Five months.


Sandie [00:20:28] Five months. OK, so a year from now, I want to come back and look at your success or challenges in creating those kinds of policies. I’ve been working for a very long time trying to build more substance in policies around procurement because of the opportunity to use supply chain transparency to actually speak into something that feels invisible, where my purchases may drive demand for some product that’s cheaper, less expensive by using slave labor. So, we’ll check back in a year to see how you’re doing on creating those kinds of policies. The next P here is proof.


Priscilla [00:21:19] Proof? Yeah, proof could also be it’s like another word for maybe research. So, it’s to ensure that all of our responses are contributing, but that we are also being received from research and making sure that all of our responses are evidence based, that there are in a way that is through promising practices and best practices and then also just contributing more to research. I think we have a lot to provide to the research world because we have so much on the ground data and we really want to we really want to help with that.


Sandie [00:21:58] And I think the movement as a whole, the anti-human trafficking movement, as it matures, it becomes more aware of how important data is to substantiate our philosophy and to prove, to use your P, that our advocacy our practices are effective and not just inspirational, not just heartwarming. So, this is part of what I’m really excited about with the Salvation Army. I see 130 countries to connect with for data collection that can drive decisions in the next decade.


Priscilla [00:22:42] Yeah, I feel like this is a bit of a prophetic voice for the anti-trafficking field moving forward, and for this movement moving forward is that I think so much of our work is done on a heart level, and I think that’s so important. God gave us a heart to feel empathy and compassion. And then at the same time, God also gave us a mind and a brain. And we have to be very good stewards of both of those. So, I think it’s our way forward is working more on a data-driven movement.


Sandie [00:23:20] So your framework has eight P’s your outcomes, you have four outcomes. Can you briefly summarize those?


Priscilla [00:23:29] Yeah, all of the outcomes seek to achieve a strong and sustainable response and every single one of our zones or regions and that making sure that this work is actually embedded and embrace within our structures. And how we are doing that is by implementing a system and structure of coordination, the Salvation Army, and that includes certain appointments like the one that I’m in, like the coordinators that I just kind of shared about a little while ago. But all of all of those new and added coordinated appointments, what it is, is really to build capacity to expand and strengthen our local modern slavery and human trafficking responses all around the world. So that’s kind of what the four outcomes, what the goals are for those four outcomes.


Sandie [00:24:27] Wow, that’s big. But I have total confidence that this vision is achievable. I want to close with a really important question I read on the cover or the first pages of the Fight for Freedom Strategy report that you’ve developed, and people can find on the website. I read a quote from Salvation Army co-founder Catherine Booth, and she said all those many years ago, ‘If we are to better the future, we must disturb the present’. What do you, Priscila Santos, want to disturb in 2021?


Priscilla [00:25:16] Oh, my gosh. What do I want to disturb? I feel so much to God, the way that he works in softening my heart is actually through disturbing my heart. That’s like the very first step to making me do something or like moving me towards action of justice. So, he’s definitely working in terms of disturbing. But I think I want to disturb the apathy of the church at large and really help to move people towards data-driven action will be where my heart is at this very moment.


Sandie [00:25:57] I love that because you know how much we love data at the Global Center for Women and Justice, Priscilla, this is going to be exciting. So, I have a way of framing your new job as Orange County is now the hub for the International Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Response for the Global Salvation Army. So, we’re really happy to see what you’re doing. We want to commit to you to be partners and to participate, to collaborate, to coordinate, to be part of your community. Thank you for sharing with us today.


Priscilla [00:26:37] Thank you so much, Sandie and Dave, for having me a part of this podcast today. It’s been lovely to chat.


Dave [00:26:43] Oh, we talked about the importance of partnership and what a beautiful partnership this has been for our organizations over the years and more importantly, for the work we’re all doing to end human trafficking. Thank you so much for your work, Priscilla. And we are inviting you to take the first step. If you haven’t already, please go on to the website at endinghumantrafficking.org. That is where we will have all of the links to today’s episode highlighted. In addition, it’s also the place where you can track down more and we’ll invite you if you haven’t already to download Sandie book The Five Things You Must Know: a Quick Start Guide to Ending Human Trafficking. It’s absolutely free. It will teach you the five critical things that Sandie has identified that you should know before you join the fight against human trafficking. Again, you get access to that by going over to Endinghumantrafficking.org while you’re online. Take a moment to register for the Ensure Justice conference coming up on March 5th and 6th. 2021 you can discover more by going to EnsureJustice.com and we will see you back again in two weeks. Take your Sandie.


Sandie [00:27:52] Thanks, Dave.


Dave [00:27:53] Bye, everybody.


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