Warning: This blog contains mature content and may make some audiences uncomfortable.
Human trafficking is a global issue that touches the lives of over 40 million people—and that number continues to grow. A $150 billion industry (per year), human trafficking infiltrates economies, communities, and families. It impacts most of the nations throughout the world and the United States is not exempt. In the U.S., it is projected that approximately 300,000 youth under the age of 18 are trafficked every year.
All of that being said, the question remains—what exactly is human trafficking? According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, human trafficking is a violation of human rights consisting of recruitment and transfer of persons through use of force, deception, or coercion for the exploitation of the individual. In layman’s terms, it is when a person is forced into slavery, the armed forces, the sex trade, or the organ market against their will.
Human trafficking is when an eleven-year-old boy is taken from his home in the night and forced to fight in a war he does not understand. It is when a twelve-year-old girl in a bikini stands in a smoky bar with six other girls her age with numbers pinned to their tops, waiting to be taken home and abused by the highest bidder. It is when a thirty-year-old woman is taken from her home country and forced to work in a nursing home for 18-hour shifts with no day off, only eating leftovers from residents’ plates, and sleeping in the hallways. It is when an 8-year-old boy is tied to a table and one of his kidneys is removed to be sold on the black market— with no anesthetic, because his comfort is inconsequential. That same boy is back on the table a week later to have his heart taken from his chest, because a man in another country needs a transplant and doesn’t want to wait until his name comes up on the donor list.
These are the realities that FORTY MILLION people face every day. Why should we care about human trafficking? For Christians, the answer is simple— we should care because our Heavenly Father calls us to care. Not only does He ask us to care, He asks us to step out and act. Proverbs 31:8-9 (ESV) says, “Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
My hope is that this short series of blog posts will inspire us to take action against this crime against humanity. Taking action may look different for each of us. Maybe taking action means lifting up victims and families in prayer. Maybe it means sharing information about human trafficking and raising awareness. Maybe it means educating ourselves, or becoming involved in counter-trafficking organizations such as NightLight Missouri, The Exodus Road, the NCOSE, or End Slavery Now. Maybe it means funding a night of undercover operations as a rescue team seeks to free those trapped in this industry ($35 can cover a full night of investigation). Whatever “taking action” looks like, I pray that each of us will take a closer look at how we can help.
In Isaiah 1:17, we are called to “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphans, plead for the widow.” Human life is so very precious. Is there anything more worthy of our defense? We are made in the image of our Creator, who laid down His very life to bring us freedom from sin. I pray that we will see the worth innate in each life, and that we will fight for each other’s freedom even as Christ fought for ours.
Until next time,