HUMAN TRAFFICKING – You’ve heard about it, may even have a good idea about what it is and the prevalence of it today. You’ve seen it on TV shows/movies, may have listened about it on the news. You’ve read about it in a book or heard about abolitionist organizations. But do you really understand the complexity of it? Why human trafficking is so horrendous and why many people, including myself, considerate it to be the MOST DETRIMENTAL criminal act in the world? I want to give you all some insight about the issue of human trafficking.
First, let’s tackle the definition. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary, human trafficking is “the business of inducing a person to perform labor or engage in prostitution through force, fraud, or coercion” This means that a person or group of people will take others and force them to commit acts against their will. A lot of people think that human trafficking is just sexual exploitation, but it also includes forced labor in both children and adults. Human trafficking is anything from the forced labor in brick factories in India to the sex slaves being held in brothels in Thailand: it is all considered trafficking of persons. It is a serious violation of the freedom of people, a grave encroachment on morality, and a criminal act against the essence of humanity.
Now let’s tackle the crime of human trafficking. Human trafficking is a crime on both the physical and spiritual level. It not only damages the enslaved people physically, it goes against the most basic innate human morals. Some of the most effective anti-human trafficking organizations are Christian-based – that’s because they are not only fighting the war physically, they are striving to change the mindsets of individuals who believe slavery is an “okay” issue and strive to bring out the morals God put in them.
In the words of International Justice Mission, a Christian-based human rights organization,
“Slavery goes beyond just a bad working condition. People trapped in slavery live under constant control and fear. They face physical, verbal and sexual abuse daily, and cannot leave to find other work or protect their families. In IJM’s cases, we have met slaves who report being beaten, gang raped, locked in tiny rooms, starved and even witnessed murder.”
International Justice Mission is the largest anti-human trafficking organization, and they work all around the globe fighting some of the worst cases of slavery. Exodus Cry is another incredible Christian-based human rights organization. In their words,
“Once enslaved, victims typically are forced into unsanitary and stressful living conditions and receive little to no healthcare or basic services. Their movement is often restricted, their personal documentation withheld, and most experience significant physical, emotional, sexual, and psychological violence. Escaping from slavery is extremely difficult and dangerous, putting the victim at great personal risk. If rescued, integration back into society is incredibly difficult because of the shame, stigma, threat of retribution, and trauma experienced during enslavement.”
Slavery is violent. Slavery is painful. Slavery is altogether inhumane on a physical level.
I could write and tell you countless heart-wrenching testimonies from the girls forced into sexual exploitation or stories of entire families forced to work from sunup to sundown at a fishing industry in Ghana, but it won’t get to the root of the problem. From the surface, all of us should see the monstrosity of human trafficking – the way it completely devastates people’s lives and the way it is physically wrong. Girls being raped multiple times a day. Women and men being beaten or killed for attempting to escape their slave owners. Young boys taken violently from their home and forced to work tirelessly in a factory. But let’s go deeper than just the physical crime, let’s go to the ROOT OF THE PROBLEM. Human trafficking goes against our instinctive morals – morals instilled in us by God. Genesis 1:27 states, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.” (NIV). We, as humans, have God’s likeness upon us. And according to the previous verse (Genesis 1:26) God gave man rule over the earth. He made us special. He loves us. He created each one of us with a purpose. God gave us rights as being His sanctified creation, and He takes great care and concern over His people. Genesis 9:6 says, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man.” (NIV). It is obvious that God made man to be respected, to be cherished, to be taken care of. Who are we then to harm it? Impoverish it? Treat it as though it is worthless? When slave owners take women, children, and men and force them to work like animals or when sex traders sell the bodies of girls as if they are nothing more than a “thing” to be used; they are taking God’s sanctified creation, God’s image, and completely desecrating it. That is the definition of complete and unmitigated BLASPHEMY. When the Israelites were taken into captivity and enslaved by the Assyrians, God considered that to be blasphemous. Isaiah writes, “For thus says the Lord God: ‘My people went down at first into Egypt to dwell there; then the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Now therefore, what have I here,’ says the Lord, ‘that My people are taken away for nothing? those who rule over them make them wail,’ says the Lord, ‘and My name is blasphemed continually every day.’” (Isaiah 52:4-5 NKJV). God holds a strong opinion about blasphemy. Hebrews 10:29 says, “How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?” (NIV). And Leviticus 24:15-16b says, “Say to the Israelites: ‘If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the Name of the Lord must be put to death.” (NIV). Human trafficking is not only a crime against people, it is a blasphemous act against our God – the Creator of the Universe, the Lord of Lords.
Not only does modern day slavery physically abuse people, it negates our natural principles.The morals of human rights are instinctive. God created us all with a sense of right and wrong, and even non-Christian nations around the world still hold human trafficking to be unethical and illegal. I consider human trafficking to be the worst criminal act in existence because it takes the sanctity of God’s precious creation (us as people!) and wholly dishonors it.