Human Trafficking. What Must A Christian Do?
Trafficking in Persons is modern day slavery. It involves controlling a person through force, fraud, or coercion. It is the second largest criminal industry in the world today, raking in global profits of $32 billion USD. Its toxic effects are felt worldwide, with over 27 million people exploited the world over. According to the International Organization for Migration, 800,000 people are trafficked internationally every year.
Forms of TraffickingForced Labor Forced labor happens when immoral employers take advantage of loopholes in the law to exploit vulnerable workers. High rates of unemployment, poverty, crime, corruption, conflict, and cultural acceptance of the practice create the perfect climate for forced labor.
Bonded Labor Bonded labor involves the exploitative interlinking of labor and payment agreements between the employer and the laborer. The employer provides food and shelter and the laborer pledges his labor. The laborer is relentlessly exploited. Often they endure slave-like abuse.
Debt Bondage Debt bondage is the least known, yet widely practiced form of slavery. When a person is unable to repay a loan, uncompensated labor is demanded as a means of repayment. The value of their work is more often than not greater than the sum of money they had borrowed.
Child Labor Child labor is the employment of children in any work that robs them of their childhood. Millions of children around the world work in extremely dangerous conditions. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest proportion of child laborers.
Child Soldiers Children are recruited unlawfully to fight. This is a severe expression of trafficking in persons. It is often done through force, fraud, or coercion in regions of conflict. Offenders may be government forces, paramilitary organizations, or rebel groups. A large percentage of child soldiers are between the ages of 15 and 18, but some are as young as 7 or 8.
Sex Trafficking Sex trafficking is sometimes described as "rape for profit." Victims are transported or detained for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. The chief victims of sex trafficking are women and children. According to UNICEF, there are nearly 2 million children worldwide in commercial sex trade.
A Christian's Response to Human Trafficking As Christian Believers much of our view of humanity is shaped by Genesis 1:27: "God created humankind in His image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them" (The Bible, Genesis 1:27). At the core of our response to human trafficking is this high view of humanity - the idea of being created in the image of God.
Humankind, by virtue of being created in the image of God, deserves dignity and should be fiercely protected against the dehumanizing practice of trafficking. According to R. York Moore, a modern-day abolitionist, "Modern day slavery doesn't just represent a human catastrophe on a global scale; it is an affront to the Gospel and the mission of the Church," He says, "Slavery not only creates a new class of unreached people, but also a class of unreachable people kept out of the light of civil society."
Christian Believers are called to participate in the rescue of those trafficked, rehabilitation of the ones rescued from slavery, and reintegration of victims into society.
Pray that God in His abundant mercy would remove completely this evil and horrific practice of exploitation and traumatization of vulnerable individuals (The Bible, Revelation 21:4).
Pray for wisdom and strength for Christian Believers who work to rescue and rehabilitate these victims (The Bible, Proverbs 1:7).
Pray for the healing and restoration of the millions enslaved in the terrible web of human trafficking (The Bible, Psalm 103:1-5).
Pray that the offenders, human rights violators, would have a Road-to-Damascus conversion experience and turn from their wicked ways (The Bible, Acts 9:1-19).
Source: Child Labor Quick Facts (www. compassion.com) Bonded Labour (Anti Slavery. com) Bonded Labor Stretches From Third To First World (CNN) Major Forms of Trafficking in Persons (US Department of State) The Girl Next Door: A Christian Response to Human Trafficking (Azusa Pacific University) A Christian Response to Human Trafficking (www.stltoday.com) Factsheet: Sex Trafficking (IJM)
This article originally appeared in the July 2013 Edition of the Win 10/40 Reporter.
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