by Rev. Dr. Kevin Frederick, pastor of Waldensian Presbyterian Church, Valdese, N. Carolina
Human trafficking is the enslavement of vulnerable people for the purposes of gaining profit from the sale of the individual to perform work. A trafficked individual has been robbed of their identity and their dignity. The biblical story in Genesis 37:14b-36, of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers, parallels the circumstances of many who are trafficked today… however, in the later section of the Joseph story, God’s blessing in Joseph’s life unfolds in marvelous ways…unlike the hopelessness and despair that too many trafficked persons live through for years.
Joseph is the next to the youngest son in a family of 12 sons. His father Jacob has openly expressed his preferential love for Joseph…resulting in the growth of hatred and jealousy among his brothers…and they begin to plot ways to kill him. (Background: Genesis 13: 1-13) Two of the brothers intervene to keep the others from killing Joseph, and they sell him to traders…This is a parallel issue for families who seek additional income by hiring out or selling their children to what appears to be a benign offer of employment…but the purchasers are filled with evil intentions and motives. These children, young people and women are taken away and deceived, as was Joseph, and sold, sometimes many times…to someone who treats them as a commodity to be used for personal gain: anything but being treated as a child of God, with dignity and rights.
Trafficked individuals today live broken and devalued lives with very little hope of redemption. Women and girls sold into sex slavery in many countries often cannot go back home…they are considered a shame to their families, despite having been sold into slavery, and have no identity to reclaim and no place to call home. This is the final violation. The trafficker has robbed the victim of all family ties and hope of reconciliation. (This article was edited for length)
Opportunities for Action:
Sign up for email and information at polarisproject.org, and ecpat.org. to learn more. ECPAT and StreetlightUSA.org combat child sex trafficking. The Human Trafficking Hotline is 1-888-373-7888. Workshops for churches on human trafficking are available in the Presbytery of Grand Canyon.
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO OFFER THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS, CONTACT: Joan Fenton at firstname.lastname@example.org.