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Many everyday words have depths of hidden meaning. All that is needed to get at the insights buried within them is a little historical information. The word compassion is at the heart of what it means to be Christian. Why?

Compassion is made up of two Latin words, com, meaning together, and patio, which means I suffer. This is why the death of Jesus, which is so central to our faith, is often referred to as his passion. (In English, the use of passion to mean a powerful or compelling emotion only appeared in the 16th century. Before then, it had been used to mean the sufferings of Christ on the cross.)

In the churches which make up the Team Parish of Kings Norton, we do our best to live out Christ's call to suffer with those who have not been born with our advantages or who are going through suffering of one kind or another. Because the love of Christ is for all, without exception, that means that we have to try to maintain a global, as well as a local and national perspective.

It's not easy, and the little that we are able to do sometimes feels like little more than a token gesture. But encouraged by the example of Jesus, whose focus was so often on individuals or small groups, church members at Immanuel have begun to seek practical ways of putting into practice God's compassion for each person.

Compassion & Immanuel

The purpose of this page is to tell you more about one aspect of Immanuel's practical action in response to the call of Christ. We want to make it clear, though, that this is only part of a bigger picture that involves the whole parish.

Across Kings Norton, all three churches and small groups within them support a range of similar causes, from Fair Trade to child sponsorship. We plan to tell you more about them soon.

Stop the Traffik

Trafficking means to be deceived or taken against your will, bought, sold and transported into slavery for sexual exploitation, sweat shops, child brides, circuses, sacrificial worship, forced begging, sale of human organs, farm labour, or domestic servitude.

Trafficking is when family members and friends deceive parents to release their children or sell them for as little as $20 each, selling them on to local gangmasters or serious organised international trafficking rings.

Trafficking is growing. Between 2 and 4 million men, women and children are trafficked across borders and within their own country every year. More than one person is trafficked across borders every minute, which is equivalent to five jumbo jets every day. It's a trade that earns twice as much worldwide revenue as Coca Cola.

Trafficking is one of the world's fastest-growing industries, involving over 2.4 million people

Immanuel Church has decided to join the campaign against human trafficking. Led by Sarah Crooks and Nicky Moorcroft, we have become coalition members of Stop the Traffik, whose task is to raise awareness and to campaign against this growing problem.

We have held chocolate fondue parties, written letters to companies like Nestlé and Mars in an attempt to persuade them to make "traffik-free" chocolate and have organised church services with a Stop the Traffik focus.

What we can do locally is a drop in the ocean, but we are doing it with concerned groups and individuals across the world brought together by Stop the Traffik, who believe that when people act things change. To find out more about their recent campaigns, click here.

If you would like to become more actively involved, please e-mail Sarah Crooks.

Sarah Crooks writes...

As part of STOP THE TRAFFIK's latest campaign, local residents and the hospitality industry are raising awareness of trafficking to let the world know we will not tolerate human trafficking and contacting travel companies to make them aware of the signs to look out for.

Human trafficking is when men, women and children are recruited by force, coercion or deception for the purpose of exploitation. It is a huge global issue, on average a child is trafficked for sexual exploitation or forced labour every 30 seconds.

In the last few years, police investigations and charities have highlighted the role hotels and Bed and Breakfasts can unwittingly play in the cycle of abuse and exploitation. For example, a recent case in America found three women, including a 12 year old girl, locked in hotel rooms. In 2010, a group of men told girls as young as 13 they could earn money dancing in London and then tried to sell their virginity through a hotel.

As a way of highlighting the issue which is especially pertinent ahead of the Olympics, we are in the process of writing to hotels and similar establishments which are offering rooms during the games. If you would like to write to hotels or travel companies, then please look on the Stop The Traffik website for details, or alternatively download a template from here.

Both these downloads are in Word format: A Letter to a Hotel | A Letter to a Travel Company.