Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Problem (Part 1)

This is the first in a series of five blogs. (They will be interspersed among the others) If you don't read any others, please read these. This is the heart and soul of our summer.

Psalm 10:1-11

There are some key phrases to look at in that passage. "Greedy for gain" in verse 3, "deceit and oppression" in verse 7, "sits in ambush... eyes stealthily watch for the helpless" in verse 8, "siezes the poor" in verse 9.
This Psalm was written by David over 2,000 years ago about the evil and oppression in the world, but these verses and these phrases that we are focusing in on apply to a problem that is still in the world today. This problem is human trafficking, or modern-day slavery.

A definition of human trafficking would be when a person is recruited or transferred through some form of coercion or deception and exploited, primarily for forced labor or sexual exploitation.
There are many different manifestations of human trafficking. Two of the most prominent are forced or bonded labor and sex trafficking. Bonded labor is when a person is trapped in a debt to a person that they cannot escape. They're generally given a small loan and required to work it off, but the interest, minimal wages, and maximum cost of living trap the debtor in a labor situation that they cannot escape. This type of slavery can even carry over to several generations of bonded labor.
Sex trafficking is something that should be self-explanatory, and due to its' deplorable nature will not be expanded upon in this blog.

Deception in forced labor has already been explained somewhat. Deception occurs in other forms of trafficking. Traffickers will visit poor villages and poor families and promise the family a good job for their child if they come with them to a city, where they can send money back to support the family. Or there may be a promise of a modeling or fashion career to a young girl. Of course, once the child is separated from the family, they are never heard from again.
Coercion is another common method of exploitation. This occurs primarily through blackmail, threats, weapons, and physical force. The individuals who implement these forms of coercion are at the bottom of the chain of command, however. There are always powers behind the force, which always includes individuals who make a claim to lawful authority. They are corrupt authority figures who make a profit by turning a blind eye to the evil in their jurisdiction, or even work to promote the illegal activity. Ecclesiastes 5:8 tells us not to be surprised by this corruption.

Human trafficking is a 31 billion dollar industry.
According to our resources, it is the third largest and fastest growing crime in the world, behind drugs and weapons sales.
There are approximately 27 million slaves in the world today. That is more slaves than there were during the entire 300 year Atlantic slave trade period.
Of those 27 million, 2 million are children exploited in the global sex trade, the youngest girl rescued from sexual slavery being 4 years old.
During the Atlantic slave trade slaves were valued at $40,000, according to today's dollar.
Today, for $100 a trafficker can buy a child.

Humans have become disposable.

Please read these verses that further speak of the evil that the world is plagued with both then and now.
Isaiah 59:7-9
Lamentations 5:11-13
Ezekiel 22:29
Ecclesiastes 4:1

All along this trip people try to predict where trafficking is happening. "This is probably a huge problem in Africa or Saudi Arabia, right?" "Oh man, China has so many problems with this, it's just awful." "So I bet Mexico is the worst place for this, isn't it?"

To answer that last question, two-thirds of the world's slaves are in the country of India. However, although there are areas and regions of the world where slavery is more prominent, there is not a single country that doesn't have some level of slavery or trafficking taking place. There are about 150,000 slaves in the United States today, with 20,000 people being trafficked across our borders every year. These slaves are not just international people either. 100,000 of these slaves are girls between the ages of 9 and 19. Nine and nineteen.

In the right column of this webpage are several resources that can give you a multitude of examples and gut-wrenching accounts of slavery in our world, even in suburban America. Due to the fact that we aren't aware of our reading audience, we will let you research that yourself.

Trafficking isn't just a problem for third-world or developing countries. It isn't just a problem for bad neighborhoods or children with bad parents. It has permeated the world. But even if just one girl on the other side of the planet was enslaved, God still has a command and call to believers for action. But first, we will examine the heart of God through the blessing of scripture and see his revealed plan for injustice.

This is my comfort after writing and thinking about this problem:
"For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." Psalm 30:5
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." John 16:33

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