If you look closely you can see their faces.
There’s the young woman who left her home to work as a maid. The agency promised her good working conditions and enough pay to send money back home. Everything seemed fine until they transported her to a wealthier country for work. Once she arrived they took her passport and handed her over to her “employer.” The family she worked for expected her to watch the children all day and clean all night. When she broke a bowl they beat her. When she got sick they refused to get her medical care. After she tried to run away they started chaining her at night. She was never paid.
There’s Aly, a eleven year-old boy from Mali who was lured by a trafficker to work on a farm in Cote D’Ivoire. When he arrived, the boss forced him to work twelve hour days carrying bags of cocoa beans that weighed more than he did. When he didn’t work hard enough he was beaten with bike chains and tree branches. He and the other boys were given little food. At he and eighteen other boys were locked in a 20 by 24 foot shed to spend the night. After seeing others beaten Aly was afraid to try to escape. He was finally set free after a boy successfully escaped and reported the boss to the police. Aly returned home after being paid $180 dollars for 18 months of labor.
There’s Natasha, who a trafficker promised work in the United States. The man offered to marry her so she could get a visa. When she arrived, she found out that his business was actually a strip club. Her husband forced her to work as a stripper. They threatened to beat her or turn her into the police for immigration violations if she refused to strip.
The definition of trafficking is the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring, or receipt of persons, by the means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.”[i] Trafficking doesn’t always mean that a person is moved from place to place. Trafficking is a crime against persons in which a person is exploited for labor, sex, or services through force, fraud, or coercion.
As Christians, we serve a God who cares about justice. Our God is passionate about the poor and dispossessed. He seeks out and rescues the lost and broken. He took a nation of slaves and made them his own people. He redeemed us from our slavery to sin and called us sons and daughters of God. The 27 men, women, and children who are exploited around the world as trafficking victims today are precious in his sight. We care because we have no other option. We are the hands and feet of a God who passionately cares.
- Pray for the rescue and restoration of people who have become victims of trafficking around the world.
- Pray for businesses and opportunities to be created that provide dignified labor and sustainable incomes in poverty stricken areas, thus helping people escape the desperate circumstances that make them vulnerable to trafficking.
- Pray for God to raise up workers who will be advocates for trafficking victims.
- Pray for abolition.
[i] Beth Grant and Cindy Lopez, Hands that Heal Community Edition: International Curriculum to Train Caregivers of Trafficking Survivors; Project rescue (2007), 37.