251: How to Build an Anti-Human Trafficking Policy for Your Faith-Based Organization

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Dr. Sandie Morgan and Dave Stachowiak discuss policy and its significant role for faith-based organizations in combatting human trafficking. Dr. Morgan explains how policies maintain the expectations of staff and volunteers and protect the mission of the organization.

Key Notes

  • Dr. Sandie Morgan is writing a book, in collaboration with fellow authors and activists Kim Yim and Shayne Moore, on anti-human trafficking for church leaders that’s coming out Winter 21-22.
  • The 3P Paradigm has been expanded to 5 Ps: Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, Partnership, and Policy.
  • Policies are designed to serve leaders, staff, and the volunteers of an organization.
  • Organizational policies serve three goals:
    1. Policies create process and develop patterns of ethical best practice.
    1. Policies operationalize your value for human dignity.
    2. Policies build in accountability.



Dave Stachowiak [00:00:00] You’re listening to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast. This is episode number 251, How to Build an Anti-Human Trafficking Policy for your Faith-Based Organization.

Production Credits [00:00:12] Produced by Innovate Learning, maximizing human potential.

Dave Stachowiak [00:00:33] Welcome to the Ending Human Trafficking podcast. My name is Dave Stachowiak.

Sandie Morgan [00:00:38] My name is Sandie Morgan.

Dave Stachowiak [00:00:41] 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, believe it or not, we have been going over 10 years now on the Ending Human Trafficking podcast. What a privilege it has been to work with you and share the microphone with you this whole time. I have learned so much and there’s so much more to learn. And in fact, you’re writing a book, aren’t you?

Sandie Morgan [00:01:08] I am. My friends and I decided we needed to put together a handbook for Christian leaders on ending human trafficking. And they convinced me that between the three of us, we could get it done. Because you know me, I’ve got six things going on at the Global Center for Women and Justice, and so I thought: ‘when I retire, I’ll write a book.’ But, we did it by collaboration–and you know how much I love collaboration. And it is now at the publisher–the manuscript–and they’ve shown us cover samples, and it’s really going to happen.

Dave Stachowiak [00:01:51] Wow. Cool. Well, today is going to be the first of probably a number of conversations that we’re going to have in the future on this topic. And of course, as you’d expect, the topic is going to be on ending human trafficking in a faith-based organization. And so today, maybe a bit of an introduction to this so that we can really support those who are in our listening community of beginning to think about this from a faith-based standpoint. And Sandie, as we talk about so often, with the importance of partnership in so many venues, law enforcement, like we talked about last time; government, as we often talk about on the show, having government leaders on; and of course, the faith-based community is such an important partner in the work we’re doing, aren’t they?

Sandie Morgan [00:02:37] Absolutely. Absolutely. And over the years, I love thinking about this, this is our our 10th anniversary. We need to have a party. Wait, I have to get my last vaccine first and then we can have a party. So we started out with just three P’s: Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution. Right. And then we added Partnership, and then we added Policy. And I want to talk about policy today with regard to our faith-based partners.

Dave Stachowiak [00:03:09] What’s the importance of looking at and talking about policy?

Sandie Morgan [00:03:16] Policies give us a way to operationalize our procedures. If you think about policies from a business perspective, you’ve got HR policies, accounting policies, codes of conduct, email policies, diversity and inclusion policies. And all of them are designed to maintain our expectations between each other, which that reduces friction, and protect the mission of the organization. So, anti-human trafficking policies are going to create process, develop patterns of ethical best practice that everybody in the organization agrees on. So many times, I feel a little frustrated when I listen to leaders, I’m not overusing the word pontificate about how valuable individual people are, but we need to be able to prove that we value human dignity. So this term operationalize, that’s a way for us to put down on paper that when these things happen, this is how we know that we have maintained human dignity–and it creates an instrument for accountability. If we all agree that confidentiality around survivors is a standard in our organization, when someone breaks that, we have a place to say, see, we all agreed on this and you signed this agreement. So, we’ve got to figure this out. So, it helps us develop accountability.

Dave Stachowiak [00:05:07] Who are policies for?

Sandie Morgan [00:05:10] Now, that’s a great question, because in the faith-based community we are, we have a pretty loose structures. We don’t have like a flowchart down to everybody in the organization. At Vanguard, we have a staff and faculty flowchart and I know where everybody fits, but that doesn’t happen in our faith-based community and our churches. So, we want policies, though, to be inclusive for leaders, for staff, and especially for volunteers. And this is probably the biggest gap: our volunteers don’t know what the standards are.

Dave Stachowiak [00:05:55] You mentioned the five P’s, and of course, as you also mentioned originally, this started with three P’s. But when we’re thinking about the lens of the five different P’s, what’s a good starting point on each of these areas?

Sandie Morgan [00:06:11] Well, you know, I’m from a non-tech generation, so for me, I imagined a binder. I discussed this with some of my colleagues and especially my students, and they’re like, no, we want to have a central drive where everybody can access this, but, bear with me and just imagine a binder with five sections in it.

Dave Stachowiak [00:06:35] Like a trapper keeper that I had when I was a kid going to school.

Sandie Morgan [00:06:39] Exactly.

Dave Stachowiak [00:06:39] With the different folders in it.

Sandie Morgan [00:06:42] And you’re going to have a divider for each of the five P’s: Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, Partnership, and Policy.

Dave Stachowiak [00:06:55] Let’s take these one at a time then and take a look at some examples of where you would start with policy. So which one should we start with? Which one should we start?

Sandie Morgan [00:07:04] Let’s start with prevention.

Dave Stachowiak [00:07:05] Okay, prevention it is.

Sandie Morgan [00:07:07] Because especially in in our churches, we believe that God’s plan is for the well-being, the physical and mental health of every person. And we align that often in our community conversation marketplace with human rights. I think Dr. Stephanie Powell framed human trafficking around human rights. So for prevention, we want to make sure that our organization is also part of prevention: working in the schools, figuring out what are we already doing that prevents a particular group of people, even children, from being recruited into human trafficking. I’ve often been surprised when I see a group that suddenly learns about human trafficking and they literally move resources that are important in their community, like after school snacks that keep kids in a safe place until parents get off work, and they move those resources to do something that they’re not well suited to do. They want to be involved in rescue. So the prevention policy would identify and evaluate on a regular basis what are we already doing? And, it would include policies for education, training for staff and leaders, and even volunteers that want to be involved in anti-trafficking work. That kind of training would protect them from making your church vulnerable to a group that’s recruiting for, for instance, doing undercover investigations or doing rescues and that are very sensationalized and probably don’t have the partnership between victim services and law enforcement and the community that we see as best practice. Well, instead of one person being the gatekeeper and saying, ‘No, we’re not going to work with that organization,’ we have a standard that we can do as a checklist in our policy checks that and that prevents the problems that you might have. And in the end, that protects the mission of the organization. I think another really important area on prevention is to recognize what we’ve talked about many times on this podcast. Early abuse is often a part of the history of a victim. And Dave, just a couple of weeks ago, there was another media storm about a youth pastor who had sexually abused members of the youth group. So a prevention policy must include a review of your child protection policy. Nobody is above the law. And child protection policies are required in almost every organization that has any contact with children. The other area, and I love how our Live2Free team here has really taken the lead in developing our awareness of how our demand for goods and services drive demand for labor trafficking. So, a great prevention policy is to develop good stewardship and procurement policies so that it’s actually in writing and staff knows we want to check the supply chain for the coffee that we order, that we serve after the service. We want to check the chocolate supply chain to make sure we’re not exploiting children on the west coast of Africa so that we can give chocolate to children here in our own backyard. These are samples of prevention policies that when we put it in writing, it keeps it, keeps us accountable to making those things happen and review regularly.

Dave Stachowiak [00:11:41] You mentioned the word protection a moment ago, which is also one of the five P’s, and so important from a policy standpoint for organizations. What’s an example of what protection would look like?

Sandie Morgan [00:11:55] Protection would again prioritize people over programs. And one of the key areas that everybody has to have a policy for is media. We did a podcast this last year on media guidelines. I think it’s number 226. And we used a document that was survivor informed and gave a really strong foundation for writing your media policy. This will protect the church, the nonprofit, the faith-based organization, from being accused of re-exploiting victims. So media guidelines have to be part of your policy. Survivors suggest that you have a survivor look at your media to see what you’re doing and how you are protecting the dignity and worth. You’re not using someone’s picture without their permission. You’re not using chains. I think–when I talk to survivors, and one of the ways our listeners, Dave, can be survivor informed is by listening to the interviews that we’ve done with survivors. You can hear straight from them what they want. I have had several conversations with survivors who say, ‘Please don’t use chains, don’t use ropes, don’t use bruises.’ And their fear is that those kinds of stereotypes will be what people are expecting to see, and then they won’t see the real victim standing right in front of them.

Dave Stachowiak [00:13:50] Yeah, such, such an important invitation for us. And we have heard that so many times, Sandie, haven’t we? That to have the imagery really match reality of what is true in almost every situation that, that we come across. The third P, Prosecution, I’m guessing when I think about these five P’s and I think about faith-based communities, this is probably the one that, you know, really seems divergent from a faith-based community, or maybe gets overlooked entirely because of this word. How does a faith-based community think about things through the lens of prosecution? And what does a policy look like around that?

Sandie Morgan [00:14:33] Well, there are certain things that don’t need a lot of explanation. It’s like you tell your kids that you don’t touch the stove, it’s hot. That’s it. We’re not going to have a discussion. It’s not, oh, you can come up to it from this side and get this close to it. There are certain things that just don’t fit. And so for faith-based organizations–unless you have qualified law enforcement, attorney advocates, judges–the prosecution side of things do not fit your wheelhouse. And so, don’t fall into the trap of: ‘Oh, we could do a rescue; we could do an investigation.’ I’ve had so many conversations, and you’ve heard Derek Marsh from the Center talk about, when people do that, then none of the evidence is admissible. Our laws weren’t followed. So we have to be really careful. On the other hand, marrying the prosecution side with the protection side, where the church can be involved–and Dr. Powell addressed this in our last podcast–having those victim services from the nonprofit community is critical to having survivors who feel safe and secure and are able to partner with law enforcement. So, your prosecution policy should be really short and make it clear that this is an expertise that has to be recognized and credentialed by your local government, whether you’re in California, or Ohio, or in Spain maybe, or Africa, you’ve got to follow the public laws of your community.

Dave Stachowiak [00:16:42] So, I think what I’m hearing you say there is, as a faith-based organization you’re not just entirely skipping over that and ignoring that. You’re saying explicitly, and there is a policy that says, and like you said, unless there’s a specific exception of someone with expertise within that community, this is something we don’t do. And here are the organizations we would refer to if something like this were to come up.

Sandie Morgan [00:17:07] Exactly. And I think that just because we don’t do that, doesn’t mean we don’t need a policy. We do need a policy so that everybody, leaders, staff, and volunteers, all understand that we respect and honor the people who have that responsibility. But, we are ready to work with them. We are ready to provide support for survivors. Various groups have different capacities to do that. And of course, we have policies for confidentiality. I mentioned that earlier at Ensure Justice this year, Dave, Bella Hounakey talked with one of my co-authors, Kim Yim–she’s also on our board–about the role of the faith-based community in survivor response. And I just want to read this quote to our listeners, because Bella emphasized the immense value of church support. Here’s what she said: “The shame, the guilt, the regret that you carry as a survivor, it follows you. It’s like being hunted by your own shadow. The more you’re around a community that reminds you of the goodness that God has in you, you start identifying with the ways that you’re being perceived by this community of people.” I love that because it really emphasizes that you have a role that is really important to the survivor. Don’t try and do somebody else’s job.

Dave Stachowiak [00:18:55] I’m thinking about so many of the conversations that I have about teamwork and leadership in organizations on the Coaching for Leaders show, and it’s really interesting how so many of the conflicts we have as humans really stem from unclear expectations. And so if, you know, thinking about this particular point on, you know, it may seem obvious to a lot of people that prosecution wouldn’t be something that a faith-based community would engage in. And yet, if that isn’t clearly expressed in writing and as policy by the organization, when something comes up where someone or maybe a group of people within a faith-based community say, ‘Oh, wow, we could help, we could do this because of this situation that’s emerged in our community or in our congregation,’ that being really explicit about what the community is going to do and not do is really important. So, I think the invitation from us is to be really explicit about that. And like you said, it’s short, but it’s also clear.

Sandie Morgan [00:20:01] Exactly. And having it written down means everyone is aware, everyone is accountable. And when we don’t have things written down, then we have to go back and have a discussion. And people are often very unhappy about that because they had a different idea. So clarity, clarity in communication. So we’re all on the same page.

Dave Stachowiak [00:20:30] Well, and that is a very good lead into the next P and the importance of it, which is Partnership. That’s obviously a bigger opportunity for a faith-based organization to lean in on. What does policy look like around partnerships?

Sandie Morgan [00:20:45] Oh, my goodness, I love that question. Policy around partnership recognizes roles and clarifies commitments. So, I know what my place is on this team and it’s kind of like playing basketball. I played guard when I was in high school and I still remember how everybody laughed, and including me, when my coach said, ‘Just stay where you are supposed to serve. You are a great guard, people–‘ I’m short for those of you who’ve never met me or vertically challenged, either way. And she, she made a joke. She said the tall forwards almost trip over you. And I had to be really good at doing the–whenever you had a foul and you got a chance to to throw it at the basket, I’m not good at sports, but I would get that one point. So, when I went past the middle line over into it, it’s like, you’re not where you need to be, and they scored because you were out of place. And when I think about partnership, that’s what I think of. If I’m not in my place, who’s going to be there? How are we going to successfully win against the traffickers if we’re trying to do somebody else’s job? The other thing around clarifying commitments when people have unmet expectations, and they teach you this in marriage classes, in relationship counseling, the most common cause of broken relationships is unmet expectations. So, have a policy so that everybody knows what the commitments are and who gets to make commitments. I was task force administrator and someone from a local church came, joined our church subcommittee, and said, we’re going to do this, this and this. And we were thrilled. But then we weren’t so thrilled when it didn’t happen. And we learned that that person didn’t actually have the authority to make that commitment. So your policy would say who has the authority to make a commitment

Dave Stachowiak [00:23:17] Such an important reminder and, I think part of the other, I’m imagining the value of getting this down in writing, too, is establishing the importance of partnership. And I think that while a lot of organizations espouse this, there is the tendency for all of us to, when we see a problem, to go solve it and not necessarily to engage others in the community that already have expertise and, and in some cases, jurisdiction over these areas. Identifying partnership in advance and clear policy and procedure for how we work with partners and engage partners really also encourages those relationships to be, first of all, established in the first place, and then secondly, to be continually grown and to keep the organizations connected just by establishing that. It lays the groundwork for the expectation around that.

Sandie Morgan [00:24:15] And having it written down as a policy means it’s going to be in the annual review. And you can look and see which organizations are you partnering with for what purposes. Some organizations that you partner with may not have the same approach, but there is an overlap where you can partner. That again, really points to making sure that you understand your different roles. And then there may be partnerships that you started and you no longer need. They’re not valuable. They may be detrimental to your role in the community. That annual review of your policy is really an important aspect.

Dave Stachowiak [00:25:04] Ah, indeed. OK, well, that takes us to the fifth P, which is Policy. When it comes this one as the 5th P, what is policy look like when thinking about creating policy for an organization?

Sandie Morgan [00:25:17] Well, and I probably got a little ahead of myself, but policy requires the policy of making sure you have written policies for all of these aspects of combating human trafficking. Written, not implicit, written. Policies have to be concrete, they have to be available to everyone. So you actually have a policy the, about what the qualities of a policy are, and that you actually have it in your calendar to review your policies, make sure they’re not outdated, make sure you’re compliant, and evaluate the effectiveness. If you have a policy for confidentiality, and yet you’ve got somebody on your staff that goes and tells stories, and now the task force doesn’t want anybody from your group to come anymore, you had a policy. Why didn’t you implement it? Do you know that that person knew about that policy? So, when I sign my contract at Vanguard, I have to sign that I read all of the policies. So one policy for the policies–I know this sounds like ‘what, oh, don’t do that to me’–is having a way for people to acknowledge that they understand and agree to those policies. And then finally, you refine and review every single year, because you, and it’s interesting you think as you get better at this you won’t need as many policies. I don’t think so. I think we actually find that there are ways that we can be more detailed and specific, and that helps everybody.

Dave Stachowiak [00:27:16] Thank you so much for this framework, Sandie. So, those five Ps again is thinking about policy for a faith-based organization: Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, Partnership, and of course, as you just mentioned, Policy itself. It maps so much with everything that we’ve talked about through the years, through the work that’s been done through the State Department, through government and law enforcement partnerships, and, of course, the faith-based community as well. And Sandie, I hope that folks will utilize this as a starting point to begin to think about this and so much more coming as the book comes out. I know we’re going to be talking a lot about this in the coming months and year as you and your co-authors have so much to share with us.

Sandie Morgan [00:28:02] I’m excited about this. I think this can give us a framework that can reach beyond just our own backyard. I begin to imagine what happens if eventually a leadership team begins to look at outreach in other countries and how they can expand their expertise there. It’s just, I am so committed to empowering local communities to do this well and to give them the tools and resources that they need.

Dave Stachowiak [00:28:41] All right, well, we have two invitations for you coming out of this conversation. In addition to this framework, and especially perhaps, if you’re picking up the show for the first time or maybe have just listened to a few episodes, and beginning from the beginning would be helpful, we’re encouraging you to take the first step, which is to hop online and download a much shorter to publication. It’s a guide, The Five Things You Must Know: a Quick Start Guide to Ending Human Trafficking. It’s a wonderful introduction that Sandie put together, very quick to read, that will teach you the five critical things that she has identified in her work that you should know before you join the fight against human trafficking. Also, a great introduction to the work here on the show, and of course, a beginning for then the book and so much else to come later. You can get access by going over to endinghumantrafficking.org. And the other invitation I have for you is, our annual Ensure Justice conference held at Vanguard University every spring. We host a conference, and Sandie, it’s a wonderful opportunity to certainly discover a lot about all five of these areas, but particularly building partnership with other leaders in the space with other organizations. And the dates for 2022 have just been announced. Ensure Justice will be on March 4th and 5th, 2022 and where to go for details would be EnsureJustice.com. We’ll have that link also at endinghumantrafficking.org, along with all the links that we mentioned today. Sandie, thank you so much for your work, as always. I can’t wait to hear more about the book and I’m looking forward to our next conversation coming in two weeks.

Sandie Morgan [00:30:23] Thanks, Dave.

Dave Stachowiak [00:30:24] Thanks, everyone. Have a great day.

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