A New Call to Stop Human Trafficking

The Rev. Victoria Jarvis

Deacon, St. Martin in the Fields | Brookhaven

Because we cannot change what we cannot see, the Rev. Victoria Jarvis wants everyone to take a hard look at human trafficking. She is chair of a new commission that aims to reach each of the 116 worshiping communities in the diocese with this video message: “Human trafficking is pervasive everywhere. It’s not just the sleazy street corners of Atlanta. It’s in the mountains of Georgia. It’s all over.”

The mission of the new Diocese of Atlanta Commission on Human Trafficking is to partner with government, community and nonprofit organizations to educate engage and empower Episcopal congregations to put an end to human trafficking in Georgia and across the planet. Trapped in a hellish wilderness, victims are isolated and sold over and over, and awareness is the first step to stopping this. Jarvis urges people across the diocese to learn through forums and Bible studies, donate professional skills and funds, educate children and youth, and contact the commission to get involved.

“Let’s talk about this,” Jarvis said. “Let’s roll up our sleeves and see what we can do in our communities to combat human trafficking.”

Her work is an extension of Atlanta’s civil rights battles that she witnessed growing up. As a kid, knowing that the Ku Klux Klan burned a cross at Stone Mountain scared her. Seeing “whites only” water fountains at a department store made her conscious of racism. “God planted that seed of injustice early in me,” she said.

On a mission trip with St. David’s Episcopal Church to Honduras in 2004, Jarvis witnessed extreme poverty. She spent the next decade traveling to volunteer there, thinking that God was calling her there permanently. “That’s not why I sent you there,” she heard God say, and began centering her work in Roswell, building a ministry to Hispanic people.

When she was ordained in 2018, Jarvis “could really see that all that preparation for years was God calling me,” she said. Jarvis now serves as a vocational deacon at St. Martin in
the Fields. Listening and acting on God’s guidance, she has learned to be surprised and often uncomfortable, and invite others into that same space and to listen. “Sex Trafficking and Labor Trafficking wasn’t even on my radar,” she said. “That’s how God works.”