Human trafficking is a growing crisis around the world and in the United States. Ignorance is a flimsy shield against this world’s harsh realities. Awareness is essential. Until we allow the unthinkable reality of the crisis to carve out a place in us, it’s too easy to ignore the crisis because of the comfort and safety that we experience. It’s too easy to let distance be an excuse for inaction.
Grasping the horrific reality of sex trafficking is no easy task. The darkness looms and the need is so great that it can paralyze us from stepping in and making a difference. If we can push beyond the overwhelming magnitude of need, we can join an organization already at work to make a tangible difference. Awareness is painful, but pain often pushes us to act. It inspires people to join current advocacy efforts or launch new ones. Plenty of creative opportunities exist for us to get involved through financial support, prayer, volunteer work, advocacy, and action.
We must fight against enslavement in all its forms. But rescue is not enough. We must be willing to dig in for the long haul, for the slow and steady work of helping the rescued establish a vibrant life while also fighting against the societal norms that produce a demand for enslavement in the first place. Rescuing an individual is good. Let’s free as many as we can. Transforming our world is crucial. Unless the social construct changes, there will always be another individual to rescue.
Christians especially must consider God’s mandate in Scripture to care for the orphan (James 1:27), to correct oppression and bring justice to the fatherless (Isa. 1:17), to loose the bonds of wickedness and set the oppressed free (Isa. 58:6), and to show mercy to those attacked (Luke 10:36–37).
How might you stand in the gap to show mercy toward the exploited and enslaved? Here are two first-action steps to take:
- Pray for a Heart that Hurts: Ask God to break your heart for the things that break His. When your heart is willing to engage the heaviness of the human trafficking crisis, you will be sensitive to whatever part God has for you to play. Pray regularly for God to raise up shields for the vulnerable, to provide a way of escape for those enslaved, and to pour out His Spirit upon society so the demand for human slaves will dry up.
- Partner with an Advocacy Group: Do some research to find a group you want to support. Your partnership will mean so much as you pray, give gifts, and spread the word of the good work being done. In time, you may also feel led to take a more active role as an advocacy partner, a volunteer, or a mission team member. Ask what the group needs, and be willing to truly serve by giving what’s needed rather than what you think will be helpful.
The crisis of human trafficking and sexual exploitation is no small matter. Much work and effort are needed in order to see those numbers shrink and to establish new foundations to the systemic issues that fuel the demand.
Truly, this is Gospel work, being the hands and feet of Jesus by demonstrating the love of the Father to a world in desperate need of His care. This is what God’s redemption in us looks like: we become vessels of His mercy to a world in need.
Learn more at Erin Straza’s Patheos article: The Unthinkable Reality of Human Trafficking and What You Can Do About It.