Human Trafficking Victims
Human Trafficking Victims – What does the Bible say?
While most of the world wasn't looking, human trafficking in sex and labor became a worldwide epidemic. An estimated 27 million men, women, and children are caught in trafficking situations. It's so common in some areas that it's become a part of the culture. But it is a culture God never intended.
The Bible is clear that vulnerable people should be protected and cared for, endangered people should receive justice, and abuse of any kind is a sin.
Kidnapping is evil ( ): Whether the bondage is physical or psychological (slavery of the mind), unjustly restraining another is wrong ( )—and in the Old Testament, it was punishable by death ( ).
God hates abuse ( ): God's laws repeatedly tell us to treat others kindly and fairly.
God's business is freedom ( ; ): It's hard to get more direct than God's promise in : "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment."
Caring for the poor is honoring Jesus ( ; ): God has no great love for manmade social distinctions ( ). He cares about our hearts, and our hearts should show love to those less fortunate, not enslave them.
Human Trafficking Victims and the Church
When Jesus ascended into heaven, God chose the church, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to be His representative on earth. The church is specifically charged with showing love to others. Religion that God accepts is to look after the disadvantaged and to keep ourselves uninfluenced by the world's crooked values ( ). To that end, God has uniquely gifted the church with the skills needed to help those caught in trafficking.
Community ( ): People caught in or rescued from trafficking need to know what good, healthy community looks like. The communities victims came from were defined by abuse, rife with unhealthy escape mechanisms like drug use, and strongly segregated into those who control and those who must submit. The community of the church focuses on encouraging right relationships with God and others.
Family ( ): A great number of trafficking victims were abused as children, and many don't have healthy families to go home to. But God designed the church to be a family. In 1 Timothy 5:1-2, Paul gives Timothy a brief explanation of how church members should treat each other. Mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters, all living respectfully. In , he goes into further detail about how those family members interact. The church family can provide trafficking victims an environment where they are safe, where they belong, and where each individual has an integral role.
Truth ( ): Victims initially caught in trafficking are quickly conditioned. They are taught that disobedience brings pain, the rule of their trafficker is absolute, and there is no better alternative in their lives. Trafficked victims who are caught in generational slavery have this ingrained in them since birth. Their place in the "family" is as servant, often sexually. This is their identity. In the church, however, recovering victims can learn the truth. That all, trafficker and victim, have sinned ( ). That God loved them enough to sacrifice His Son ( ). And that they can be free from the damage slavery has inflicted on their hearts ( ).
Significance ( ): Jesus scandalously loved those society dismissed. As His followers, the church is called to do the same. God does not show favoritism (Romans 2:11), and we are to follow His example ( ). Instead of the outward appearance, the church is trained to see each individual as an image of God—someone whom God loves.
Reconciliation ( ): As victims grow in their recovery, they need to be able to interact in the world as it is, to find work and housing, and learn to prioritize their basic needs. But most of all, they need reconciliation with God. All the social reintegration in the world won't save a soul. God wants their hearts. He wants them to be reconciled to Himself. And God has charged the church to teach what this means.
Love in Action
The Bible tells us how we can help victims of trafficking in :
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
Trafficking victims (including child trafficking victims) suffer great injury from horrible abuses, but we can help. Find a local ministry online that needs practical help in leading victims to recovery. Or go global and serve with or fund an international organization. God's church is proclaiming freedom for the captives; find out where and join them.
What to do if you suspect someone is being trafficked: If the situation is urgent, call 911.
If there is no immediate threat, call the non-emergency number, often 311.
Call your local anti-human trafficking organization.
Call the national hotline—1-888-3737-888.
(Hotlines will not necessarily be able to provide emergency assistance, but they will track activity to better aid the FBI and other law enforcement in determining where and how to act.)
What is your response?
Yes, today I am deciding to follow Jesus
Yes, I am already a follower of Jesus
I still have questions